December 2, 2015

Washington Post changing spelling

Washingtonian Magazine - Big changes are coming to the Washington Post stylebook as the news organization prepares to move to its new headquarters later in December. As Post copy guru Bill Walsh writes in his chat:

Starting Sunday, e-mail will be email. Web sites will be websites. Microphones will be mics, not mikes. Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil will be Walmart and ExxonMobil.
Similar changes have occurred at other US newsrooms over the last few years. The Associated Press, which publishes a stylebook influential in many newsrooms, dropped the hyphen in email in 2011. "We don't let the AP push us around," Walsh wrote in a chat in 2014. "But it's bound to happen eventually."

The earliest mention of "E-mail" I could find in a Washington Post story occurred in John Burgess's August 30, 1988, article "Electronic Mail Service to Scale New Heights," about an e-mail service on Mount Everest. That story capitalizes the "E," which appears to have been the style until 1991. E-mail networks, the story explains, "allow people to write messages at computer keyboards and send them to other people on the network, who read them on their computer screens."

The two we have trouble with are mic and ExxonMobil. A mic is properly pronounced mick. While there is no letter K in microphone, mike is definitely more logical. And the practice of putting capitals in the middle of words is a corporate abuse that real journalists should have nothing to do with. But then we are talking about the Washington Post - TPR

1 comment:

Strelnikov said...

If English had accent marks like Czech, Hungarian, or Serbian, "mic" would make sense due to there being a bar over "i" signifying a long "i" sound. As it is, "mic" is just an abbreviated form of "microphone" originally used on sound recording equipment in the 1960s because it was cheaper to use three words than ten.