Illinois Gov. Pritzker weighs in: is his nickname spelled JB or J.B.?

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

He’s been governor for six months now, but there’s still confusion: is it J.B. or JB? Mike Lowe searches for answers to this period problem. Have a question to #ASKWGN? Fill out the form below or Submit it here.

CHICAGO — The Pritzker name is everywhere in Chicago. As one of America’s wealthiest families, they’ve donated to everything from schools to parks to zoos, their names clearly spelled out for everyone to see on things like the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

But when it comes to the most famous Pritzker of all, our current governor, there’s some confusion: is his nickname spelled J.B. or just JB?

Dom from Naperville asks: How do you spell the governor’s name?

His name is Jay Robert Pritzker, and although he was named after two uncles, his father wanted to not favor either one. So he was nicknamed JB, and he’s been known by that nickname since he was a little kid.

Pritzker ran for Congress in 1998, and used periods in his initials at that time. Before he became governor, he went as J.B. both at his foundation and his venture capital firm. But when he ran for governor this time around, they created a new logo without periods.

Caryn Ward, Northwestern University, says this wasn’t by accident.

“The periods make him less approachable,” Ward said.  “He’s a very wealthy guy, and he worked very hard on his political campaign to relate to the everyman.”

Still, publications like the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, and New York Times all follow AP style and use periods, and no spaces in his name. It seems like such a small thing, so why do journalists care so much about spelling Pritzker’s nickname correctly?

“It’s all in the details. If we don’t get the details right, how can readers, viewers, listeners, trust anything we say on the really big stuff,” Ward said.

It’s a question of politics and punctuation, and it’s all very confusing. Sometimes you just gotta go right to the source.

“During the campaign I didn’t use periods in the signage that we had for the campaign,” Governor JB Pritzker explained during an interview, saying people noted the change and asked about which way is correct.

“Well, we’ve told everybody just forget the periods. It makes it harder for everybody. Nobody knows how to space it out,” Pritzker said. “So JB without the periods works just fine.”

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, but clearly if you’re the governor of Illinois, you get a second chance to make an initial impression.

Do you have a question to Ask WGN? Fill out this form.



Latest News

More News