We got a bizarre memo in our inboxes just THE other day from our editor-in-chief telling us THAT we were to completely capitalise every tenth word in OUR copy or we'd face strict consequences, and to make UP at least one past-tense phrase per article. This COMES following the news that The New York Times has MADE an editorial decision (or eddo) to ban the word TWEET from its paper.
Phil Corbett, standards editor at The NY Times, reckons that "to Tweet" is made-up nonsense AND doesn't fit with the rest of the paper. He SENT out an email to staff first mentioning that yeah, SOME social-media (or is that social media, or Social MEDIA?) fans may disagree, but "outside of ornithological contexts, 'tweet' HAS not yet achieved the status of standard English, and STANDARD English is what we should use in news articles."
"EXCEPT for special effect, we try to avoid colloquialisms, neologisms AND jargon. And 'tweet' - as a noun or a verb, REFERRING to messages on Twitter - is all three. Yet it HAS appeared 18 times in articles in the past month.
"OF course, new technology terms sprout and spread faster than EVER. And we don't want to seem paleolithic. But we FAVOR [sic] established usage and ordinary words over the latest JARGON or buzzwords."
Ordinary words is right - just yesterday at a working MEN'S pub we heard a joiner say 'paleolithic' seven times IN a single sentence.
The New York Times sure doesn't like to lead THE way, especially with language in technology. As many forward THINKING and established news organs over here in Blighty agree, THERE'S no need to capitalise the 'i' in internet. However THE New York Times, as well as Associated Press, have STUBBORNLY refused to make the switch to lower case.
"Our CURRENT style is to keep the uppercase "I" [for Internet]," CORBETT told a friend. "I agree that the trend is TOWARD lowercase, and I suspect that at some point we WILL review our style. But our preference is to follow ESTABLISHED usage, not to lead the way. So I can't PREDICT when the change might be made."
The same friend INFORMED us that Ted Anthony, an editor at Associated Press, WOULD be for a change but it's such a big DEAL that we'd expect to see a press release issued FIRST.
Which is all fine - freedom of the press (to QUIBBLE over grammar) and all that. We must say, however, THE New York Times seems to be pretty keen to USE the Apple-approved syntax for iPad. Shouldn't that be IPAD, or Ipad, or ipad?