Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How 2 mak room 4 mor nws

With newshole shrinking, one way to get more content in newspapers would be to bring back the streamlined spelling that was championed for 40 years by the Chicago Tribune until an un-foresighted editor scuttled it in 1974.

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.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

stpid fckg idea

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alan, you need a vacation...

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...It's not young folks who read the papers, it's old folks, like me. What you are suggesting would require me, who's most aggrieved at the bias and spin I encounter, to learn a new spelling system in order to read the papers.
..This isn't going to pull young folks out of the internet to buy newspapers. This will push me the rest of the way to paper free news.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you all...for a good laugh.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you all ...for a good laugh.

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not appeal to young readers?
Old readers are going to die sooner. We're talking about growing readership not maintaining it. If nothing changes, nothing changes, and newspapers die.

11:20 AM  

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