I was getting my daily news fix the other day and came across an article about the current state of immigration reform in Congress. As I read, I came across this sentence:
“They’re willing to treat people who simply want to make a better way of life for themselves and their families inhumanely and use their Tea Party ideology to beat the president into submission if they don’t get their way,” Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.
What I find interesting about this article is the use of appositive after the name of this representative. There’s nothing unusual about the appositive itself, and phrases like these (to clarify the credentials or position of the speaker) are common in journalistic writing. But it does add some heft to the sentence and may trip up some readers (or annoy others who know who Wasserman is).
Which all led me to wonder why we’re using appositives like this in online writing? Why shouldn’t we instead create a hyperlink for Wasserman’s name, and include all the pertinent information (she’s a rep from Florida and chairwoman of the DNC) in a pop-up that readers could hover over? The writing itself would be more economical and the reading experience might be smoother if we used the hyperlink to convey the information in the appositive.
Granted, some readers might skip the pop-up entirely and therefore not find out who Wasserman is, which could be problematic in a situation where a speaker’s credentials are important to evaluating his or her credibility. And it would take us (as a body of readers) some time to become accustomed to this form of writing. But it might be worth considering.