Vol. 21, No. 3: Yesterday, Today - Style & Substance

By Anonymous

There's no tomorrow

Yesterday, today and tomorrow have become obsolete in the Journal, at least in providing the time element in articles.

All editions now will use the days of the week instead. Editors Matt Murray and Mike Boone said the new policy aims to overcome inconsistencies and other problems that arose among the Journal's various editions: "So, for consistency's sake, in all copy in all editions both print and online, let's now simply cite the days of the week within a seven-day window. Outside that window, please refer to the date." The time element entry in the online stylebook reflects the change.

Byline briefing

Byline procedures are also being updated. The changes mainly permit the use of triple bylines. The rules, as reflected in the online stylebook:

  • Use bylines without credit lines if the reporters work for Dow Jones entities, including The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal Online, Dow Jones Newswires and MarketWatch. For articles written by non-staff correspondents, use the line Special to The Wall Street Journal after the name.
  • On articles with one or more bylines, a dateline shouldn't be used unless at least one (and preferably all) of the reporters was in the city for the story. In any questionable cases, editors should err on the conservative side by dropping the dateline.
  • Bylines may be used for up to three reporters, but byline boxes with reporters' locations may be used instead for two or three reporters if the locations are deemed relevant. Listing of four or more reporters requires a byline box, with or without the reporters' locations. The usual form for this type of byline box: By Gary Putka in Boston, Thomas M. Burton in Chicago, Jeffrey Ball in Dallas and Carrie Dolan in San Francisco.
  • When many reporters are involved, use A WSJ News Roundup instead of individual names.

Nasdaq's new identity

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., or simply Nasdaq OMX, is the result of a recent merger. It is a publicly traded exchange operator, using computers and telecommunications for the trading and surveillance of thousands of securities, including stocks, stock options, mutual funds and variable annuities. The company operates the Nasdaq Stock Market as well as several exchanges in Europe. Its technology also supports operations of more than 60 exchanges, clearing organizations and securities depositories.

Relevant reminders

  • Whenever the day's news has affected (or may affect) stock prices, we should provide the market price in articles, generally using a 4 p.m. price and this format: MGIC's shares were down $1.57, or 11%, to $12.61 as of 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The word composite takes into account trading off the NYSE or another exchange.
  • The Journal's market-capitalization cutoff between "large" and "small" stocks (and thus whether the company is covered in the Abreast of the Market or the Small Stock Focus column) has moved up to $2 billion from $1.5 billion. Such adjustments have occurred every few years. The cutoff is based on a stock's capitalization at the start of the day's trading.
  • The big bond manager in California often goes by the name Pimco, but its official name is Pacific Investment Management Co. Both names are acceptable, but neither name should be included in our Index of Businesses. Any story about the company as a business should include the indexed name of its parent, Allianz SE.
  • Brazil's currency, the real, has been in the news recently, and the plural has usually been given incorrectly. As in the stylebook, the plural is reais.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel now is Ms. Merkel in second references, at her request.

Perfect storm watch

The cliché perfect storm, as in "Behind the trend is a perfect storm of economic forces," has appeared in the Journal 13 times in the past three months, usually in quotes. So page-one editor Mike Williams is declaring a moratorium on the expression.

Choose your weapons

In the past four years, four corrections have noted that people in photos in the paper were carrying shotguns, not rifles as the captions had stated. To avoid the trap, one could just refer to them as firearms. One clue is that bird hunters invariably are using shotguns, Dan Kelly of page one notes, because you almost certainly couldn't hit a bird on the fly with a rifle.

Tim Lemmer of the edit page adds that shotguns don't usually have sights at the back of the barrel and don't have a sight at the end of the barrel (or barrels), but rather just a bead, since you usually use them on moving targets and don't try to align front and back sights, as you would on a rifle without a scope.

Quintessential quiz

Find the flubs in these Journal passages:

  1. Only in 2006 did Microsoft start seriously experimenting with software in poorer counties to fit Mr. Gates's creative capitalism idea.
  2. For a long time, this country's big city folk were generally less enthusiastic about rat meat.
  3. The Pentagon will try and shoot down the satellite just as it re-enters the atmosphere sometime in early March.
  4. Some economists argue for taxing polluters instead, including Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and a former chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, Gregory Mankiw.
  5. The toilet has an antimicrobial coating that is suppose to last indefinitely.
  6. Federal prosecutors filed charges against Rep. Rick Renzi, saying he attempted to extort developers and copper-mining executives.
  7. He is expected to argue, like he did successfully at Time Warner, that the company should buy back a big chunk of its stock.
  8. Market jitters continued in Europe, amid worries about the increasing odds of a U.S. recession.
  9. By now, anyone seeking a safe place to keep their money is probably considering a sock.
  10. My father-in-law Gerald is an expert at problem-solving -- particularly if those problems involve a customer-service department.


  1. Poorer countries. We've mixed up counties and countries a lot lately. And the compound modifier creative capitalism should be hyphenated.
  2. Big-city folk should be hyphenated for the same reason small-business men are.
  3. The Pentagon will try to shoot it down.
  4. How unfortunate that gentlemen of their stature are polluters.
  5. It is supposed to, though the sound of the d gets lost in the t sound in spoken English, misleading the unwary.
  6. He tried to extort money from them.
  7. Like is not a conjunction; as is.
  8. Make it increasing chances of a recession. Increasing odds actually mean that the event is less likely to occur. For example, 1-1 odds represent a 50% chance; 2-1 odds represent a 33% chance.
  9. By now, anyone thinking anyone is a plural noun should know better. Either make the noun people or use the pronoun his or if necessary the phrase his or her.
  10. Assuming the writer doesn't have two spouses, Gerald should be set off with commas.

Email questions to Paul Martin.

ISSN 1054-7041