From yesterday’s NYT, a long obit by William Grimes, with two different heads
(on-line) Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Dies at 89
(in print) Nelle Harper-Lee, 1926-2016: ‘Mockingbird’ Author, Elusive Voice of the Small-Town South
In the print edition, the story begins on p. 1, continues on p. 14, and continues further on p. 15. Lee’s sister Alice is mentioned in passing on p. 14 (details below), and then 20 sizable paragraphs later, on p. 15, we get:
[Ex] She lived with Alice, who practiced law in her 90s and died in 2014 at 103.
And of course I totally failed to recognize who Alice was — to me she was a new character who just dropped out of the sky — so I had to track back through the story to find her introduction. The practice of newspaper journalism that caused my problem could be called No Recharacterization: people in a story are named and characterized at first appearance, but thereafter are referred to only by a short-form name (Prefix + LN, LN alone, or in certain cases FN alone), with no re-description or re-introduction. As I wrote in an earlier posting on journalistic conventions, this practice
diverges from the usual practices of story-telling (also adopted by many writers of non-fiction), where people are re-introduced into the discourse if they have dropped from topicality.
The addition of the two words her sister to [Ex] would have averted the problem, but (as I noted in the earlier posting, many newspaper people regard No Recharacterization
as absolutely [inviolable]: it’s what newspaper writing requires.