Yesterday and Tomorrow

YESTERDAY AND TOMORROW….Here’s a trivial but curious observation triggered by this post over at Atrios. The gist is that the Washington Post had a story on Saturday that said “Yesterday, a senior administration official…” and then on Sunday they had a story that placed the same event on Saturday.

As Atrios points out, there’s no mystery: the first story was on the web on Saturday but was written for the Sunday print edition, so “yesterday” meant Saturday.

But here’s the thing: when I was in journalism school I was taught never to use “today,” “tomorrow,” or “yesterday” in a news story. This was long before the web, of course, but even then you didn’t know for sure when someone would be reading the story. Proper style, I was told, was always to use a specific day: “On Friday officials told the Gazette….”

So what gives? News stories these days constantly use “yesterday” and “tomorrow,” so when did the rule change? And why? Given the vagaries of the web, I would think that this rule would be more important than ever, and I recommend that all proper newsrooms resurrect it.

That is all.