When I worked at the International Herald Tribune in their marketing operations, one thing we had to be permanently alert for was what is known at the IHT as Britishisms creeping their way into corporate brochures, advertising, subscription letters, you name it. This wasn't so easy, especially as the worldwide marketing department was based in London and most of its marketing department employers - me included as the marketing director - and the advertising creative agency we employed were British.
Bottom-line: the house style of the IHT is American English Monday to Saturday included.
Bottom-line: The house the house style of the IHT is American English Monday thru Saturday.
I don't feel constrained on this blog to respect this rule, as I write now with a horrible mish-mash of Britishism and American style, and with no pedantic copy editor (American) in Paris pouring over my every word. I just tap and bang it out, so forgive me, typos, grammar and all.
To give you a flavour of just how tough it can be for Brits working at the IHT in editorial (and there aren't very many: Peter Berlin, the sports editor and of course managing editor Alison Smale being the two most high-profile ones, here is a lovely anecdote from an IHT employee on the subject (my apologies to her for originally describing Joyce as 'an ex-employee: she is currently on sabbatical):
I then started working in Hong Kong. HK Magazine was run by Americans, so I used "color" and "that," though the odd Brit would write in asking us why we spelled things wrong. The South China Morning Post was British-styled, so I switched to "colour" and "which."
I was never a big deal until I started at the International Herald Tribune. I have great respect for the IHT and the fact that it is one of the few places that care so much about the minutiae of style. Industry people aren't kidding when they call it the ultimate editors' paper.
But I have never seen "Britishisms" so reviled. IHT editors spend more time that you could imagine discussing, identifying and extracting them.
Once, I asked a colleague to read an FT Weekend column he might like. "On Cookery?" he gasped. "On Cookery? I can't read something that uses the word 'cookery'."
Before I went to the IHT, I was sure I knew the difference between the two. But the definition of what is acceptably American, at least according to some of our more conservative staff, is so narrow that even I can't figure it out.
"I'm going to visit my friend who is in hospital," I would say in my American accent.
My colleagues would groan. "God, there you go again. You and your British thing."
"What? what?" I'd go over the sentence again; it would seem perfectly neutral."
An American would say 'I'm going to visit a friend in THE hospital."
Same with "cinema," which some Americans say is too highfalutin', when one can say "movie theater." Or "cv," as opposed to "resume." "Gone missing" is another term I never knew was the providence of the British until I tried to use it in a headline about the Gol airlines plane that, you know, went missing in the Amazon last year.
"Stop using Britishisms," I was told.
"What was I supposed to say?"
"Americans don't say 'go missing'. We say 'disappeared'."
I argued that the two had different meanings. "Disappeared" seemed so final. "Gone missing" just meant it was missing for now. Knowing how deadlines work, the plane would inevitably show up right after we sent the paper to press saying it had disappeared.
My whole childhood, I swore, I said things like "Dad, have you seen my new sweater? It's gone missing. Has the neighbor's dog gone missing again? Stupid house keys have gone missing." I looked up references to "gone missing" in American media websites, like cnn.com. "See? CNN uses it..."The headline was changed to "disappeared."
Just for the record: a current marketing strapline used by the IHT is 'cognizant of every country, captive of none.'
Not when it comes to house style.