How 2 mak room 4 mor nws
The Tribune’s bold effort to rewrite the English language commenced in 1934, when Col. Robert R. McCormick, the publisher, tasked his staff to eliminate errant vowels, purge spare consonants and abolish the offending letter combination “gh” in the interests of producing “saner spelling for many words.”
A thoro account of the elaborate, four-decade effort is contained in a monograf published in 1988 by Prof. John Burke Shipley of the University of Illinois in, where else?, the Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society.
The Colonel’s challenge was taken up with considerable zeal, and, before long, Tribune readers were treated to such creative spellings as distaf, hammoc, jocky, advertisment, catalog, skilful, derth, iland and many more. While many of the goofiest constructs were jettisoned over the years, the Tribune used “altho” thru the day in 1974 that then-editor Clayton Kirkpatrick finally put a stop to it all.
At the time, it seemed to make sense.
But today, in the era of twitting and txting, streamlined spelling could help papers pack more news in their columns while enhancing their appeal to the young people they covet as future patrons.
Mebbe nwsprs shd tke a Q frm Col M’Crmk & use l33t sp34k 2 sav spce.