Among the locals
Allow me a few minutes, if you will, to rationalize a personal preference. Perhaps a prejudice.
I loathe the use of locals in news stories as a noun meaning local residents.
This is, I concede, a widespread usage, and in casual conversation—“Anybody know where the locals go for good barbecue?”*—unobjectionable. But in journalism, it smacks to me of condescension, of a reporter, an important person, coming into a place and commenting on the quaint customs of the indigenes. The way that a New York Times reporter sent to Baltimore would write like an anthropology major.
We all know that local rhymes with yokel.
So give it to me straight. Is this echo of a sneer something that you sense when you see the word in an article? Or have I made myself hypersensitive?
*In Baltimore, that would be Big Bad Wolf on Harford Road.