Published: March 29, 2009
We as a society are at the crux of two growing problems. Our economy is straining from excesses and abuse, and our ecology is suffering from the same problems. We simply use too much of everything and exert little effort to conserve our resources.
The leadership at the Murfreesboro Post has been concerned about this trend for over two years. After much debate and consulting outside experts in fields of ink technology, recycling, language arts, personnel efficiency and other related areas, the following action is being announced to take a leadership position in our community and the publishing industry.
Beginning April 1, the Murfreesboro Post will use the new TXT format for all articles. This new and innovative publishing language promises to save tons of ink within the first three decades. For an average article of approximately 700 words, there will be a reduction of approximately 30 percent in the number of text characters used.
The change will also result in publishing fewer pages; thereby saving paper, pulp trees, landfill waste and the time required to read the Post cover-to-cover. You will need to turn thirty percent fewer pages to get through all of the content.
Approximately seven percent savings will be seen in fuel costs for the carriers that deliver the papers. By carrying a lighter load, the carriers will realize a greater fuel economy. We expect fewer cases of “carrier’s tendonitis” as well, because the papers they are tossing will weigh approximately a quarter less than current papers. (The weight differential will be less dramatic due to the inclusion of Parade, which has not yet agreed to adopt the new publishing language. Discussions are still underway and a change may be announced soon.)
Although the TXT publishing language is widely used by the European press, the Murfreesboro Post will be the first locally owned community newspaper to make the change.
Here’s how the new language will work. It is partly based on the popular trend of abbreviating words and expressions when sending messages over phones and in chat sessions on the internet. This rapidly developing language saves keystrokes by eliminating all but the most essential characters required to communicate the meaning of the word or phrase. For example, the letters CU are used to take the place of the frequently used phrase “I’ll see you.” In this case two characters take the place of thirteen characters and spaces. It is easy to imagine the financial savings and ecological advantages that will be realized when all publishers adopt the new TXT publishing language standards.
Here are some more examples common in phone texting and computer chat communications:
AOTA All of the above
BFAW Best friend at work
BFN or B4N Bye for now
BTW By the way
ROTFL Rolling in the floor laughing
You get the idea.
In addition, standard abbreviations commonly used are integrated into the language, for example:
ASAP As soon as possible
BYOB Bring your own beer
AYCE All you can eat
VIP Very important person
New for many people will be expressions used in military, police and radio communications based on “10 codes”.
10-4 OK, Affirmative
10-7 Unavailable or out of service
10-8 Back in service or available
Other key words are created on the spot, when the editor realizes that a substantial printing efficiency can be realized by the omission of or substitution of certain characters or words. For example, COMNC8 might replace the often used word communicate, thus realizing a printing efficiency of nearly 50 percent.
Here is an example of how a typical newspaper headline and story might look:
Brk Obma 2 Met Wth Terst Ledrs
Prsdnt O anouncd tht he wld met wth ledrs f grups sspctd f insh8ng terst atax on Amrcn trups 2 sek comn grnd.
Although it might appear more difficult to actually read the news, most readers will find that they will adapt to the changes rapidly. To practice, one recommendation is to ask a 16-year-old to work with you by sending random text messages to your cell phone during the day.
When asked why April 1 was selected as the official starting date for the TXT language, Post publisher Mike Pirtle responded, “Isnt tht obvs?”
Enjoy this wonderful week!
Dr. Mark Kestner