Vague ramblings

Acronym soup

Posted in Musing by Ian Cundell on 18 August, 2006

Over the past 18 months or so I’ve noticed an outbreak of acronyms (OoA) in press releases (PR) sent to me, especially (but by no means exclusively (BBMNE)) from public sector organisations (PSO) trying to tell me how wonderful their spiffy new idea (SNI) is and how it is going to transform (T) everyone’s work-life balance (W-LB).

And it is really starting to get on my tits, not least because it makes stuff a pig to read, when I suspect those drafting it believe the opposite (whatever the opposite of a pig is).

My friend Dom explained how it has happened: in financial reporting it is essential to be very clear who you are referring to, so if anything is going to be abbreviated then the abbreviating must appear next to it, at first mention. Fair enough – there are regulatory issues in play. But everyone has come to think financial PR is ‘proper’ PR and is copying.

However, when the release is for a new (say) television advertising campaign to encourage tourists to visit Sunderland, or wherever, it is difficult to imagine a more effective way of killing the pace of the story you are trying to interest an already ill-tempered (or was that just me?) news editor in.

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