Girlfriend? Paramour? Companion?

When is a public official’s significant other (to whom they are not related by marriage), considered their “companion” rather than their “girlfriend” or “live-in boyfriend”?

I can't help but notice the interchangeable tagin reporting on the governor’s narrow escape from deathlast springto the never ending “he said-she said” email drama playing out on the front pagesof late.

Perhaps it depends on how sympathetic the figure is to the reporter.

That may explain why Sharon Elghanayanwasinitially introducedto readersby reporters as the Governor’s girlfriend, but shortly after hismotor vehicle accident, she became his companion. Of course, her recently disclosed $20,000 contribution to the State Democratic Committee has returned her to girlfriend status.

At least that's the way the Star Ledger reported it.

Somerelationships do not fare as well, particularly when the storyline is not favorable. Just ask Carla Katz or Hamlet Goore, Jr.

For their part, thePhiladelphia Inquirer, The Recordand the Herald News consistently refer to an official's unmarried heterosexual partner as their girlfriend or boyfriend. That was until the Governor’s accident, when the Inquirer had a momentary lapse and one of its reporters swapped out girlfriend for companion.

The New York Times’ usual term of art is “companion”.

In one of its latest email installments, a Ledger reporter referred to Katz as the governor’s “one-time paramour”.Sounds pretty steamy.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit we already know way too much about their personal relationship, but do we really know Katz was the governor’s paramour– an “illicit loverby definition?

Maybe it doesn’t matter what a public’s official unmarried partner is called.

So long as reporters and their editors are consistent despite the story plots.