Mister Mystery: Why Papers Keep Using Honorifics

This paragraph in a Wall Street Journal story on Lance Armstrong does a nice job of demonstrating why I hate the use of honorifics such as "Mr." on second reference in news stories:

Mr. Armstrong's Austin lawyer, Mr. Herman, called Mr. Tygart and offered to dispatch Mr. Armstrong's legal team to Colorado to meet with him. Mr. Tygart said he wanted Mr. Armstrong to come. When Mr. Herman pushed back, Mr. Tygart called the meeting off.

This practice has been dying out in American newspapers, but the New York Times is keeping it alive, though with some weird rules. Osama Bin Laden was Mr. Bin Laden in the paper for a while, but now like Hitler and Stalin he gets to be more readable in news stories than the average mister or missus.


Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel.
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night.

You're half of the flesh and blood that makes me whole.

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