By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
Without question, abbreviations, grammatical shortcuts and emojis continue to find a strong and increasingly dominant place in today’s communications landscape, especially in the digital and broadcast mediums.
Based on the image at left, a photo capturing an article with photo I read in today’s Chicago Tribune, this practice of somewhat bastardizing the language clearly is fully ensconced in print.
The issue for me here: Since her meteoric rise on the national political scene, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-NY) is now better known by her initials.
Note the copy of the Tribune article displayed. The Congresswoman’s initials are in the headline, and they are used repeatedly throughout the piece! As a former reporter, I have to scream: Just what the heck is going on here? How is this being allowed in what I would label “serious” journalism?
As inferred in the headline to this post, I have questions — actually lots of questions — regarding this grammatical cultural phenomenon.
In no particular order, they are:
- How did the “AOC” abbreviation originate? Who first coined it and perpetrated it?
- Why is this practice accepted in journalism?
- Why did Mr. Bauder refer to the Congresswoman as “AOC” multiple times in the article?
- Why did Mr. Bauder’s editors allow this practice, clearly an assault to sound journalism practices?
- Does the Congresswoman get preferential treatment because she’s embodied in initials?
- Is this practice beneficial? Harmful?
- Can anyone strategically craft a political campaign that results in being referenced primarily by initials or abbreviations?
- If I’m re-branded as “EMB” or “TPRD,” will my life change for the better?
I wholeheartedly wish Representative Ocasio-Cortez much success in representing her district and serving the American people. She’s the face of the so-called Green New Deal (or, perhaps GND?), and her future is promising, even if she’ll never be invited as a guest on Fox & Friends or Hannity.
To conclude, throughout our nation’s history, other politicians have been known by their initials — FDR, JFK and LBJ come to mind. But the aforementioned were elected president, for gosh sake! They earned it. As of this writing, AOC has held her post officially only since January 3 of this year. That’s a total of 70 days.
Opps. Read what I just wrote.