Monday, June 1, 2015

Make your news ready to read

As a kid, I loved Alpha-Bits, the cold ready-to-read cereal consisting of all 26 alphabet letters. (That's not a typo. I think it helped develop my love of reading and writing.)

So when I read this news release:

Modernizing Medicine and Miraca Life Sciences Debut EMA Urology EMR System | Business Wire

-- I had a flashback to my Alpha-Bits days.

There are four acronyms in the lead paragraph. And they're easily confused by a business desk editor. Especially if it's Monday morning.

"EMR," for example, is the stock symbol for Emerson Electric Co., as well as Electronic Medical Records. In addition to the company's use of EMA for "electronic medical assistant," it's also widely used as an acronym for European Medicines Agency, the Environmental Media Association, a significant ad agency based in Syracuse, NY., and MTV's European Music Awards. Also, MLS abbrevates the Multiple Listings Service used in real estate.

News flash: people don't talk this way. Unless they want to confuse their audiences.

Acronyms can help an editor or reader wade through long, technobabble-filled releases. In moderation. If you want to lose an editor, however, just keep tossing EMRs, EMAs, and MLSs around as if he or she speaks in the same internal jargon you use in your office.

My point: back off on the acronym hailstorm, friends. You're asking editors and readers to work too hard. Whether it's Monday or any other day.