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Jane Albright, a credit to her profession

t's not often that a letter from a public-relations type makes my day (or week or month, or even my year). Let's see . . . there was the letter from Wham-O telling me that it's not a Frisbee, it's a FRISBEE™ Brand flying disc. (Those fine folks were nice enough to include a disc for my flying pleasure, but the idiots in the mailroom stole it.)

Then there was the letter from the Books on Tape people complaining that somebody at The Washington Times, where I was copy chief at the time (it wasn't me -- honest!), had used "books on tape" in a generic reference to audio books. I'm willing to accept the BOT dudes' trademark on this, but that got me to thinking: They're books, and they're on tape, so how in the world do you get away with a trademark on something like that? What's next, Brown Pants™? But I digress. I can't digress as well as Nicholson Baker, but I try.

Anyway, I should have known this letter was special when I saw that it was addressed to "Copy Desk Chief, The Washington Times." Here, obviously, was that rare person who actually knows how a newspaper works. Most PR types spend their days sending off news release after news release to the "News Editor," not realizing that the news editor at most papers is a page designer, not a news-release digester.

It gets better. Here's what the letter said:

Dear Copy Desk Chief:

Just a reminder that we are Inova Health System, not INOVA. Inova isn't an acronym. Inova is just a name, with roots in the words "Northern Virginia," where we were born and raised, and "innovative," which is what we try to be.

Much of the confusion comes from our logo (see above). In the logo, all the letters are capitalized for stylistic reasons. But I've yet to see an article where INOVA HEALTH SYSTEM appears. That looks ridiculous to everyone.

By the way, Inova is pronounced inn-NO-va. Your reporters may refer to Inova Health System when they report on Fairfax Hospital, Fair Oaks Hospital or Mount Vernon Hospital, to mention only the most visible facilities in the system.

Call me if you have any questions or if I can help you in any way.


Jane Albright, manager
Inova Marketing Communications


Here I am lambasting PR types who want their precious names in ALL CAPS, and along comes Jane to make a plea for common sense. I wish they could all be like you, Janester.

Now what?

That's all for Sharp Points.

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