There’s something that can absolutely unhinge a person when you spell his or her name wrong. Especially difficult are members of the media who can be quite vocal about it and tell you how dumb you are on Twitter. So today we’ve compiled a list of the hardest names to spell in the journalism business. We just hope and pray we spelled them right.
10. BuzzFeed‘s Andrew Kaczynksi. Three checks every time we use his name.
9. CNN’s George Stroumboulopoulos (The only guy who could possibly show up the already hard-to-spell name of George Stephanopoulos. How I spelled it this morning by heart before I looked it up…”Stromboulopois.”)
8. ABC “GMA” and “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos. (A colleague wrote, “Stephoblahblahblah on ABC.” That “u” after the “p” can be a real pain in the a–.)
7. MSNBC “Morning Joe” Co-host Mika Brzezinksi (the “r” and “z” together is a killer.)
6. NPR’s David Folkenflik, who absolutely has no “c” in his name. “People have generously added all kinds of extra consonants to my name over the years,” he told FishbowlDC. “Folkenflik is a name of Austrian Jewish derivation; according to a scholarly book on Jewish surnames from the archives of Baltimore Hebrew University, it means ‘Falcon’s eye.'”
5. FNC’s Shepard Smith (the deceptively difficult first name of “Shepard.” Not Shephard, not Shepherd, but Shepard. Which is why we stick to “Shep.” Short, sweet and technically acceptable.)
4. Lakshmi Singh, NPR’s national midday broadcaster.
3. Karen Sommer Shalett, Editor-at-Large, Aspen Institute. Whatever you do, do not think about the warm season that comes after spring or the botanical varietal that comes from the same family as the onion. I’ve personally spelled this woman’s name wrong more times than is humanly imaginable and I still get paranoid about it. Even in this sitting, I’ve checked it five times.
2. Zoraida Sambolin, CNN. She is of Latin descent.
1. Fred Mwangaguhunga, who writes Media Take Out, a website dedicated to people who enjoy drama. His parents are from Uganda. A name like this is best if said fast five times in a row.
A big thank you to my colleagues Alex Weprin, Merrill Knox, Tonya Garcia, James Crugnale, and Gail Shister for contributing to this list. Natan Edelsburg, for now you may have to wind up on my next list, but there’s really no good excuse for the missing “h” in your name.