What’s in a Byline? Not Middle Initials, Apparently

New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof will henceforth be known as Nicholas Kristof — the middle initial is … stuffy?

Last Updated: July 10, 2014 @ 7:34 PM

It’s the end of an era. More specifically, the era of the D.

Kristof_New-articleInline-v2Even more specifically, the D. in Nicholas D. Kristof. That’s right folks: it’s a new year, and that means legendary New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof will henceforth be known as Nicholas Kristof.

I’ll give you a minute to absorb that – and to mourn the D.

You see, apparently the middle initial is stuffy, no longer relevant to today’s Cutco, Interslice, CompuGlobal HyperMegaNet youth. It screams of cardigan sweaters with elbow patches and Harvard (only you don’t pronounce the “r”s).

TheWrap‘s own Josh Dickey eschewed his middle initial – the mysterious L. in @NotoriousJLD – when he came to this newsroom six years ago. It’s not as clicky as just Josh Dickey. (See what I did there?)

Of course, Mr. Dickey had a sense of modesty that prohibited him from writing about the loss of that initial that he’d used journalistically since the early high school paper days … I digress.

The problem with all of this is not the removal of the initial itself, nor the ADHD internet culture that necessitates its abandonment in the first place. Nor is it the self-aggrandizing calling of attention to joining the Modern Era that Kristof wrote about in the Times on New Year’s Day.

The problem – well, my problem, which by extension is everyone’s problem – is that my name is only initials.

Does that mean I’m über 2014 because L.A. Ross is as short as humanly possible and the kids have no attention span? Or am I completely and utterly outdated because I have not one middle initial but two kind-of middle initials?

(Although, full disclosure, those initials comprise my two-name first name, which is Lady Ashley, which as perhaps you can imagine is why I go by L.A. But it’s also why my Twitter handle is @NewsieLady! See! What I did there!)

Perhaps the real lesson from this episode is that we all really, really need to get over ourselves. Because when everything is a hyperlink, does it really matter whether your byline is McG or Cherry Chevapravatdumrong?

h/t to former Wrap staffer Sara Morrison for bringing this delightful item to my attention.