The Financial Times has dropped the traditional “Sir,” greeting from its letters page, despite still having a male editor, branding it “old-fashioned”.
The newspaper, which has been edited by Lionel Barber since 2005, has announced that as of today it has stopped using it to start each letter, although it remains in common use at many other titles.
The Guardian scrapped “Sir,” back in 1988 and two years ago urged readers not to use the masculine term to address their letters after Katharine Viner became editor-in-chief, calling it an “archaic convention” showing that “default authority figure in so many people’s minds continues to be a man”.
Publications such as the Telegraph, the Spectator and Private Eye still use the “Sir,” greeting on their letters pages.
Brooke Masters, the FT’s opinion and analysis editor, said of the use of “Sir,” that it “not only feels old-fashioned but also may one day be inaccurate”.
The letters page now goes straight into messages from readers with no salutation at all. The change came as part of a rebrand of the FT’s comment section to “opinion”.
Masters said the aim was to “distinguish the FT’s carefully selected and edited articles from the ‘comments’ below stories”.
“Some readers were confused by the old title,” she added.
Masters also published a new guide for writers who may want to submit proposals to the opinion section, with the aim of inspiring a wider range of contributors.