April 23, 2005

And it's SENATOR thank you very much

For the last few months, I've noticed several instances where the New York Times referred to Senator Clinton as "Mrs. Clinton." Quite frankly, I was peeved. Why? At first I thought that in my own recollection, other Senators were always referred to as "Sen. ____" in NYT articles. A quick check proved me wrong, as other Senators are in fact often referred to as "Mr. Kerry" or "Mr. Hagel" in the main text of articles. Even President Bush becomes "Mr. Bush." (Though I would add that they tend to keep their titles in headlines, while Sen. Clinton often loses hers.)

So this raises a larger question. Why erase the title? I spent a fair amount of time at journalism camp (YES DORKY) in high school and learned that neglecting a proper title for any person was a serious error. Why do Senators, House Reps, even Presidents lose their titles and become plain old Mr. or Mrs. after a few paragraphs in the Times? I'd love some feedback on this one. Does it really improve the readability of an article?

Also, if I'm just nitpicking, go ahead and say so. But it still bugs me.

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