Sunday, December 5, 2010

you've got style

Congratulations to Ethan Crough, Little People of America's Vice President of Membership. With a few emails, some persistence, and a good approach, Ethan impacted some real change that should have a deep and a long-term impact. Ethan registered for a membership with the Associated Press, then initiated a conversation with the Associated Press' Style Book Editor. Soon enough, the Associated Press updated its Style Book with the two entries below.


The preferred term for people with a medical or genetic condition
resulting in short stature. Plural is dwarfs.

Considered offensive when used to describe a person of short stature.
Dwarf is the preferred term for people with that medical or genetic
condition. See dwarf.

Last year, LPA was successfully in influencing the New York Times to change its style guide in a similar way. Note to self -- Spending time trying to change resources that are used by writers who communicate with millions of people is probably time better spent than speaking out against and trying to stop midget wrestling or a shock jock.

In the wake of the New York Times success, I have reached out to the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times, with no such luck. It's often a matter of finding the correct person, someone who will listen and reply to an email. Luckily, in an organization as big as Little People of America, there will always be people like Ethan and Jimmy Korpai, individuals who are really good at connecting with the right people. Congratulations Ethan, and thanks.


  1. Plural is dwarfs, not dwarves? Though I think I actually pronounce it like the latter....

  2. I think so. I used to always write dwarves. But I think I am wrong. Spell check says I am wrong.