Why New York Daily News uses ‘controller,’ not ‘comptroller’

In the New York Post, New York Times and other publications, Eliot Spitzer is running for comptroller.

In the New York Daily News, he’s running for controller.

Why is that? I asked.

“Our spelling of ‘controller’ is one of that last bits of original Daily News style as dictated by our founder Joseph Medill Patterson in 1919 when he launched the paper,” writes digital editorial director Lauren Johnston. “When Patterson founded and launched the News on June 26, 1919, he wanted to simplify the language and save some space in the typeface.

“Some examples of other altered spellings that have since been retired include: ‘cigaret’ for cigarette and ’employe’ for employee. ‘Controller’ for comptroller (one character shorter) has lingered on – a spelling that reflects the way the word is generally pronounced.”

Johnston had to “dig around in the brains of longtime folks here” to get me that information, so I’ll allow her this plug:

Coincidentally, we are hosting a live chat tomorrow at 2p.m. with Controller/Comptroller John Liu – part of an ongoing series of chats with all of the mayoral contenders. Readers could zap him some questions on his thoughts on the pronunciation. The chat will be moderated by our politics reporter Adam Edelman. Here is the link.

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