What’s so special about ‘K’?

What’s so special about ‘K’?

It is a letter I keep seeing more and more in headlines as abbreviation (of kilo) for thousand.

There is no mystery about why it is so common. It is a lot shorter than ‘thousand’ so makes it easier to write headlines that fit the space available.

But who, apart from City traders, says ‘K’ when they mean thousand?

Headline writers should use the language of their readers, not their own baffling shorthand.

More importantly, the urge to use cash figures at all in headlines should be resisted unless they actually mean something.

Saying a city council has gone on a ‘£553k spending spree’ does little to inform the reader, nor does a ‘charity windfall of £131k’. Without an understanding of the context (is the sum big or small, and will it change things substantially) cash figures are pointless, ugly and likely to ruin what might otherwise be a good headline.

Kick the Ks into touch.




About John Wilson

Editor of Hereford Times, Ludlow Advertiser, Stroud News and Journal, Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard and Gloucestershire Gazette series. Journalist for more than 30 years.
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