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Public editor: Why BlackBerry is still RIM

Arun Kumar, a senior product manager for BlackBerry, shows off the new BlackBerry Z10 during the global launch of the company's new smartphones in Toronto on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013.

Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A reader of Globe Investor tweeted this morning: "who's RIM? They changed their name dudes."

At the unveiling Wednesday of its new BlackBerry Z10, Research in Motion (RIM) announced that it's changing its name to BlackBerry and its stock symbols to BBRY on Nasdaq and BB on the TSX.

So the reader asked, why hasn't The Globe followed suit. Why is The Globe still calling it RIM?

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Derek DeCloet, editor of the Report on Business, said the main reason is clarity. "Corporate branding and 'doing business as' names are fluid and frequently changing. RBC Financial Group is an example. An investor can't buy shares in any such entity; he can only buy shares of Royal Bank of Canada. That's what name would be on the stock certificate, if you asked for the stock certificate. If someone wanted to file a lawsuit against RIM, and named the defendant as "BlackBerry", it would be tossed out; the entity doesn't exist. Research In Motion Ltd. does.

"The legal-name rule means we're being consistent for readers. It also enforces discipline in stories – our reporters know they can't just say "Brookfield" on first reference. They have to be specific about which Brookfield entity we mean."

He noted that when RIM legally changes its name, The Globe will follow suit.

Like Mr. DeCloet, I believe in clarity and when the readers are confused, I think The Globe needs to include a reference in all stories to "RIM, which has announced it's changing its name to BlackBerry" or a similar reference. And once the name is changed, the articles will need to say, for a while anyway, "BlackBerry, formerly known as RIM".

If you want to comment, please do so below. If you want to e-mail me on this or any other subject, write to publiceditor@globeandmail.com

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About the Author
Public Editor

Sylvia Stead has been a reporter and editor at the Globe since 1975, after graduating from the University of Western Ontario in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. She won the Board of Governors Award there in 1974. As a reporter, Sylvia covered courts, education and Queen's Park. More

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