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First name or last name

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Rosie, May 22, 2007.

  1. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member


    A prominent sports person passed away in the community recently and I'm ending my column with a short tribute.

    I know its standard to use the last name after using the full name, but in this case, it just doesn't seem right.

    What would you do?
  2. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    Use "Mr." or "Mrs." or "Dr." in the secont reference and beyond.

    Readers will understand that you're being respectful to the deceased.
  3. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    In this case, that is absolutely not going to work. But thanks for the suggestion.
  4. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    What about "Dude?"
  5. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    *wiping the coffee off the screen*

    He would have laughed at that. ;)
  6. If it is a column and you identified the person by full name, it is acceptable to use first name only.
    If you are trying to pay tribute to a close friend in a column and you refer to John Smith as Smith, instead of John, throughout the piece, it won't feel right. It will come off as impersonal.

    You must work for the Post-Gazette. ;)
  7. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    It's a little tough to give immediate advice without knowing any context.
    But, if it is absolutely clear the reference is to him, and you're doing it for effect, you can use the first name.
    If someone in an Appreciation or Tribute column used "Bear" for Paul Bryant, I'm sure the objections would be limited.
  8. Sxysprtswrtr

    Sxysprtswrtr Active Member

    Ditto. Go with the first name.

    I presume you didn't have a petname for him, like "snookums" or "sweetie pie" ? :)
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member


    If it is a column, do what you think is best. If you want to go with the first name, do it.
  10. casty33

    casty33 Active Member

    Rosie, it's difficult to answer the question without knowledge of the name. For example, if the person was extremely well-known by the first name, I'd say it could be used even though technically, an obit should refer to the person by last name. And when I say well-known by first name, only you can answer that. My best example would be Yogi Berra. If I were doing the obit, I'm sure my editor would accept a reference or two to Yogi and not just Berra.

    Hope that helps.

    (And no, Yogi is not dead but I did do an obit for him and a few other aging athletes before my retirement from the paper).
  11. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Schmoopy, perhaps?
  12. Sxysprtswrtr

    Sxysprtswrtr Active Member

    It's in poor taste to out yourself like that bigpern.
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