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When did "news hole" become one word?

The folks at Poynter have posted Merc editor Dave Butler’s latest e-mail on the paper’s budget situation in which he says, “I’ve had lots of people ask about our budget for the next fiscal year in light of the drastic cuts that Sam Zell is proposing for the Tribune Company newspapers, both in terms of people and newshole.”

OK, we try to read the rest of his memo. But we keep thinking, “When did news hole become one word?” Then we try to suppress that thought. It shows how many years we spent on the copy desk.

Butler’s memo continues: “It is CRITICAL that we all work together to reduce the length of stories so we can get in as much information as possible for our readers.” Butler says he’s trying to avoid layoffs through attrition, but can’t predict how much money the newsroom can spend in the coming year due to the unpredictable advertising environment.

Still, we can’t stop thinking about the term “newshole.” Maybe soon it will become a new word in the dictionary. Kind of like the government bureaucrats who have compressed “health care” into one word. Or the rookie reporters who think “council member” is one word.

Certainly eliminating that space between two words saves space, something MediaNews Group applauds.

As Butler points out, “It has never been more important than it is today for all reporters and editors to demonstrate their outstanding writing and reporting skills by cramming the same information — or what’s essential for the story — in less space.”

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