Reminder: We’re Not On A First-Name Basis With Newsmakers

The guidance we’ve applied to the Bush and Clinton families applies to the Trumps.

“The default setting for any of our news reports is simple: We use family names on second reference. That promotes clarity and helps us maintain an objective distance from those we report about.”

It’s especially important to apply that standard to first families because “there’s the matter of respect … and we don’t want to be perceived as being either for or against someone because of the way we refer to him or her. Everyone is treated the same.”

In stories that include more than one member of a family, subsequent references may need to include full names or other descriptions in order to keep everyone straight. It’s “Eric Trump” or “the president’s son,” but not “Eric.” It’s “Ivanka Trump” or “the president’s daughter,” but not “Ivanka.” The exception in the current first family is 11-year-old Barron. At least until he’s 16, he can be referred to by just his first name on subsequent references.

What about features stories? We’ve said before that it may feel appropriate to use first names on subsequent references in “personal pieces in which someone is the emotional center of the story.” Consult with a DME or the Standards & Practices editor ahead of time.

Other circumstances may arise. We’re always glad to discuss.

Finally, some famous folks may qualify for first names on second reference, including:

- Elvis

- Ringo

- Korva

(“Memmos;” April 25, 2017)

April 25, 2017

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