Stephen Foley: So many internet users, I've decided to ban them
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Saturday 25 August 2012
US Outlook Ongoing thanks to my Independent on Sunday colleague John Rentoul, who maintains his ferocious (and ferociously funny) Banned List of clichés and nonsense-phrases that he wants excised from journalists' writing. He is fighting the tide, of course, as more words are bashed out more quickly across more outlets on the web, but we internet users are grateful for what success he is having.
But wait. Internet users? I got a telling off at home this week for using that phrase in my own writing, something it turns out I do often in articles. Who, these days, is not an internet user? Isn't using the phrase as ludicrous as "air consumers"?
I am not alone. The term "internet users" has appeared more than 700 times in UK national newspapers in the past year, and on this side of the Atlantic no less an institution than The New York Times is also addicted; this month it has used the term in articles on Vladimir Putin, South Korea, Google and the US presidential election. (The New York Times, by the way, still capitalises Internet, a touch of fustiness that The Independent abandoned shortly after I joined in 1999.)
But I am persuaded, and hereby add it to my personal banned list. John, will you join me?
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