Farewell, SCOTUS

Pat O'Conner mailbox at GRAMMARPHOBIA.COM
Tue May 19 17:49:46 UTC 2009

Breaking news from a source at the Associated Press. In an email distributed this morning (5/19), AP informed all editorial staff members that it will no longer use the familiar keyword SCOTUS in the slug lines of its articles about the Supreme Court of the United States.  

In relaying the news, which applies to all AP bureaus, a manager explained to Washington staffers: "In an effort to be more friendly to non-traditional customers, the AP is cutting down on wire jargon, even in slugs and editors' notes. So, I am sad to report, SCOTUS is dead. Going forward, please use BC-US--Supreme Court as the starting point for the stories about the highest court."

I'm told this will undoubtedly mean the end of SCONJ, which some considered an apt name for any court forced to sit in Trenton, NJ. Could be that the change is driven by search engine protocols. Apparently search engines prefer full names, like Supreme Court, to acronyms, like SCOTUS.

Patricia T. O'Conner

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list