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‘Today’ is so last week

Starting Monday, The Times is no longer using “today” to reference the day of the week in print or online. You notice I didn’t say that this change starts “today,” even though that’s what I mean.

Well, that’s what I mean if you’re reading this on the day it was published -- Monday, Feb. 1. However, this being the Internet, perhaps you came across this post several days later, and in that case “today” would be inaccurate. And therein lies the reason for this change.

As Assistant Managing Editor Henry Fuhrmann, who oversees copy desks as well as style and usage, explained to the newsroom staff:

Our decision reflects the growing intersection of our online and print journalism and the problems caused by “today,” “this afternoon” and so forth, in particular when we move material between one medium and the next. A common example is when a blog post is published for print.

Our concerns are philosophical as well, given that readers come to us from all over the world: “Today” may invite confusion, whereas the day of the week should be unambiguous.

The day of the week will be used within a six-day period. Beyond that, the month and date will be used. So, this change is taking place Monday on latimes.com. It will appear in Tuesday’s newspaper. Feb. 8 will begin the second week of this change.

Talk to you tomorrow. Er, Tuesday.

Deirdre Edgar

Twitter: @LATreaders rep
 
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Comments (4)

Is the new LATEXTRA beginning on schedule, Tuesday?
This was written Monday.

Jeffrey: Yes, it is.

I wonder if the Times is creating a problem where none existed. "Monday" (especially "Monday") causes me to pause to recall the day of the week and to wonder whether this is happening today or next week. "Today" doesn't fool me because I know that the nature of the Web is that I could be looking at a story from 1996 and so I am sure look for a date. In this case, the Times does a wonderful job for me by displaying the date above the story. Now, if I were to look at the story in a few weeks, I would read "Monday" and "February 1, 2010" and then consult a calendar to know when Monday is relative to the article's publication.

The new narrow format of the paper makes the columns very difficult to read. If a narrower paper is necessary, why not just make 5 columns instead of 6?


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