No ‘Mr. Bin Laden’: New York Times Drops Honorific for Osama

Paper alters usual style in coverage of Osama’s death

The New York Times has decided to drop its signature honorific style for coverage of Osama Bin Laden's death.

That's right: no "Mr. Bin Laden."

Here's the internal memo sent to staffers at 4:15 a.m. (via Romenesko) relaying executive editor Bill Keller's decision:

From: Jolly, Tom
Date: May 2, 2011 4:15:37 AM EDT
Subject: Two style decisions

At Jill and Bill’s request, we dropped the honorific for Bin Laden.

Without a “Mr.” in front of his name, it was decided that we should capitalize the “B” in Bin Laden on second references.


Tom Jolly
Associate Managing Editor / Night News
The New York Times