Media News

WSJ is eliminating usage of courtesy titles

May 16, 2023

Posted by Chris Roush

Emma Tucker

Wall Street Journal editor in chief Emma Tucker sent out the following on Tuesday:

The Wall Street Journal is eliminating the routine use of honorifics, or courtesy titles, in its news pages.

The Journal has been one of the few news organizations to continue to use the titles, under our long-held belief that Mr., Ms. and so forth help us maintain a polite tone. However, the trend among almost all newspapers and magazines has been to go without, as editors have concluded that the titles in news articles are becoming a vestige of a more-formal past, and that the flood of Mr., Ms., Mx. or Mrs. in sentences can slow down readers’ enjoyment of our writing.

In addition, dropping courtesy titles is more in line with the way people communicate their identities. It puts everyone on a more-equal footing.

This isn’t totally new ground. We currently don’t use honorifics in WSJ. Magazine, in podcasts or videos. Nor do we use them in sports coverage to avoid stilted phrases such as, “Mr. Curry made seven 3-pointers.”

The Journal also recently dropped the routine use of corporate designations ( Co., Inc., Corp.) to similarly keep our writing more streamlined, approachable and lively.

This will come into effect at midnight tonight, New York time. The WSJ Stylebook is being updated in dozens of places to reflect this change.

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