AAllan at AOL.COM AAllan at AOL.COM
Sun Dec 26 18:02:08 UTC 2004

It's easy to imagine a Golden Age when the media eagerly sought the ADS Words
of the Year results, but as one involved from the beginning (1990), I can
attest that media attention has always been limited and sporadic. Typically we
would manage to attract the attention of one or two reporters in the convention
city, and their stories would gradually be picked up by wire services, so
there would be mention here and there. A few years ago in Atlanta we caught the
attention of a TV network (I forget which one) for a few minutes of fame on a
Sunday morning program.

But I think the ADS WOTY generally gets more attention now than it used to.
Maybe it takes a few competitors to make the notion of a WOTY comprehensible to
the media, or worth their while reporting it. And we do have the advantage of
a 15-year head start, so we can contrast current choices with previous ones .
. . now conveniently available on the ADS website. Also, we can refer
inquiring reporters to Grant's prompt posting of results on the ADS website, a
convenience we haven't always had.

We've always done this most for our own enjoyment and edification, I think.
Our experience in choosing more than a decade of WOTY certainly prompted my own
thoughts that led to my book "Predicting New Words: The Secrets of Their
Success" (Houghton Mifflin, 2002), to take an immodest example.

I think we'll be taken seriously to the extent that we choose seriously
significant words instead of silly ones, but that's another story. I look forward
to the usual wit & wisdom of the discussion and voting on January 7. - Allan

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