Tronc, one of the most lambasted corporate name changes of the digital era, is going to return to its original name, Tribune Publishing. Ex-chairman Michael Ferro pushed for “Tronc” in June 2016. It supposedly stood for Tribune Online Content, but was widely ridiculed at the time of the announcement. Even Soon Shiong, the second-largest shareholder in Tronc after Ferro, had called the name “silly” in a tweet and urged a change back to Tribune Publishing.
The Tronc name has been seen as an out-of-touch way to modernize the look and feel of a company partly responsible for the waning relevance and resource depletion of the country’s major daily newspapers. The name change took place back in 2016 as part of a broad rebranding of the Chicago-based business, which at the time was grappling with its outdated business model, lackluster public image, and its inability to adapt to a media landscape increasingly less dependent on traditional newspaper publishing. The change was also a way for Tronc to differentiate itself from the Tribune Media company from which it was spun off.
Read more about reactions to this name change here.
Alexa Giebink is Argus Leader Media’s food and entertainment reporter. (Photo: Jay Pickthorn/Argus Leader)
What’s it like to be named Alexa, now that Amazon Alexa is well, everywhere? In this article in the Argus Leader, writer Alexa Giebink says its “both a blessing and a curse”:
Thankfully for my parents, the device’s “wake word” can be changed to ‘Amazon’ or ‘Echo.’In the first month they had the speaker, there were several unsettling instances the Echo answered my parents when they called out my name.
Giebink looks into why Amazon chose the name Alexa, and reports on the name’s decline in popularity:
My name was never really that popular to begin with, but Amazon’s device has made it less so. In 2015, the year the Echo was released, 6,050 baby girls in the United States were named Alexa, or 311 for every 100,000 female babies born. Since then, the name has declined in popularity 33 percent, according to new data from the Social Security Administration. Last year, just 3,883 baby girls were named Alexa.
Click through to read more from a real-life Alexa!
The international conference Personal Names and Cultural Reconstructions in August 2019 highlights anthroponymic systems within a historical context. Papers of the conference address the various names and naming systems with a historically grounded cultural significance. The theme of the conference draws increased international attention: the issues of personal names in various historical and cultural settings are increasingly addressed by researchers in linguistics, onomastics, history, ethnology and other disciplines.
The Call for Papers can be found here.
Abstract submission opens 15 September 2018. The deadline for submitting paper and poster proposals is 15 December 2018.
The South African city of Grahamstown, currently undergoing its 44th National Arts Festival, will soon be called Makhanda, after a Xhosa warrior. The Arts and Culture department said on Friday that there had been a 20-year call for the name change, which is going ahead because some people are opposed to the painful history the founder of Grahamstown, Colonel John Graham, epitomized.
Graham is a figure who was praised by the British for “breaking the back of the natives”.
“The battles he waged were not only against soldiers. Everyone, including women, children and the elderly would not be spared. Even post-battle, he and his soldiers would employ the ‘scorched earth policy’ against those he had already brought violence and misery against, by burning their fields and killing their cattle; starving them into submission, before killing them”, said Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s statement.
The name Grahamstown is to be replaced by Makhanda, named after the great Xhosa warrior, philosopher, prophet, and medicine man. Makhanda is also known as Nxele and his name can also be spelled Makana. During the Xhosa Wars, he led an attack against the British garrison at Grahamstown in 1819.
You can read more about the controversial decision here.
Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his July 3rd column, he looks at the history of the name Thomas.
Thomas, one of Jesus’s original apostles, is famous for refusing to believe Christ’s resurrection until he’d touched His wounds. It’s believed he was martyred in India on July 3, 72. Thomas is from the Aramaic Ta’oma, “twin.” Its popularity with medieval Catholics was reinforced by renowned theologian St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274).
In England, a bigger influence was St. Thomas Becket (1119-1170). Becket, Lord Chancellor for his friend King Henry II, became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162. Conflicts over church rights led four of Henry’s knights to misinterpret the king’s angry rant as an order to kill. Becket’s murder in the cathedral led Pope Alexander III to canonize him in 1173. His Canterbury tomb became a place of pilgrimage, and Thomas became a hugely popular name. By 1380, it ranked third. It was second or third every year between 1538 and 1850, much more common in England than the rest of Europe.
Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Thomases in history!
The American Name Society is pleased to share the ANS 2018 Spring/Summer Newsletter.
Please consider becoming a member to receive more news updates.
The ANS is inviting abstract submissions for a panel on Names and Tourism for the 2019 annual conference, to be held in New York in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America. The purpose of the panel is to highlight research in and the study of names in relation to tourism discourses. More specifically, naming practices in tourism are relevant as they suggest distinction, originality, authenticity or even romance for a number of reasons. The range of issues at stake is quite broad as it may include linguistic, literary, historical and archeological references to local traditions as well as the strategies adopted to rebrand places to make them more appealing to potential visitors.
All names enthusiasts are invited to submit an abstract for a 20-minute presentation. Abstract proposals should focus on one or more of the following areas of interest:
- archaeological sites and tourism
- film/documentary-induced tourism
- history, collective memory and tourism discourses
- literature-induced tourism
- tangible/ intangible heritage tourism
To submit a proposal, simply send a 250-word abstract proposal and a 100- word professional biography to Luisa Caiazzo [firstname.lastname@example.org] by the 15th of July 2018. For organizational purposes, please be sure to include the phrase “ANS 2019 Panel” in the subject line of your email.
All proposals will be subjected to blind review. Official notification of proposal acceptances will be sent on or before September 30, 2018. All authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of the ANS and are expected to register with both the ANS and the Linguistic Society of America. Please feel free to contact Luisa Caiazzo should you have any questions or concerns.
A downloadable version of the call for papers can be found here.
We look forward to receiving your submission!
The ANS is inviting abstract submissions for the 2019 annual conference to be held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America. Abstracts in any area of onomastic research are welcome. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is July 31, 2018. To submit a proposal, simply complete the 2019 Author Information Form.
Please email this completed form to Dr. Dorothy Dodge Robbins using the following address: email@example.com. For organizational purposes, please be sure to include the phrase “ANS 2019” in the subject line of your email. Presenters who may need additional time to secure international payments and travel visas to the United States are urged to submit their proposal as soon as possible.
All proposals will be subjected to blind review. Official notification of proposal acceptances will be sent on or before September 30, 2018. All authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of the ANS and need to register with both the ANS and the Linguistic Society of America. Please feel free to contact Dr. Dorothy Dodge Robbins should you have any questions or concerns.
A downloadable PDF of the Call for Papers can be found here.
We look forward to receiving your submission!