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Does style matter? Afternoon class

If you’re in the p.m. class, post your comments here.

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Categories: style
  1. Chiron Hunt
    February 8, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    After working on group stylebook projects and reading these pieces, tell me whether you think AP style matters and why? I really don’t think there should be a specific way to write because not every writer is the same. The only reason there is a such thing a AP styles is because the press wanted a professional setup for writing.
    In the age of quick information published online, is it still important to follow style rules? Why or why not? I guess when posting stories and info online it might just be necessary to use the AP styles, because this site is being viewed all over the US, and some people won’t read something if it doesn’t sound smart.
    Finally, tell me which AP Style rule you won’t have any trouble remembering now that we’re five weeks into the semester. And tell me which style rule you are struggling with? I won’t have a problem with ABS, Avenue-Boulevard-Street. It’s easy to remember because if the address is specific you don’t abbreviate, if it isn’t then you do abbreviate. However that being the one I can remember the easiest I think I have a well rounded understanding of the other AP styles. For example, always capitalize holidays and fully write out specific regions or a setup when dealing with numbers like 3-year-old boy or the boy is 3.

  2. Paige Yowell
    February 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    I think style matters mainly because it sets news apart from other things people read and write. I can always recognize news writing by AP style just like it’s easy to recognize a history paper that uses Chicago Style. It’s also important because AP Style functions well with news writing. It uses certain abbreviations to save space and is usually very clear, concise and easy to read. I also think using one style is important to maintain consistency for readers, that way it’s easy to recognize news or even a specific newspaper that uses it’s own style. I think using AP Style online is important because it gives the news some credibility. Online, it can be really hard to tell what is a credible website and what’s not. AP Style lets readers know that a piece of writing is news and it was written by a journalist and not just any Joe Schmo.
    Over the past few weeks I have really learned how to write addresses in AP Style format. That one really stuck with me, probably because of the ABS rule. One that I’m struggling with is when to abbreviate certain formal names, like company and corporation. I also am struggling to learn broadcast AP Style!

  3. Kyle Dump
    February 10, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Style does matter, no matter how much I hate to say it. It gives news a universality that is necessary for the international sharing of information. Aside from international universality, AP Style also helps readers stay on track with a story because that story is written in the same style as stories they’ve read in the past. It gives readers a certain kind of consistency that is necessary for building good relationships with them.
    Use of AP Style is almost MORE important online than it is on the page. In print readers tend to trust a writer more because they’re in ink, on paper. Online, though, it’s much easier to disregard a news source as invalid or untrustworthy. AP style online adds validity to a news source. It gives the words more power.
    As far as the one AP rule I’ll remember, it would probably have to be ABS. In AP Style you only abbreviate the words avenue, boulevard and street when referring to addresses. I am, however, still having problems with the tricky similar words, like council, counsel, emigrate, immigrate, etc., etc.. Those are definitely where I have all my problems. Now, I know that’s not necessarily a rule, but that’s definitely where I have the most trouble.

  4. patrick breen
    February 10, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    The AP Stylebook is the Bible of an editor, and without it, readers would be confused by the many different references the many different writers would have. In the first article written in the Times, a reader was angry with the “disrespect” given to the Navy Seals, but according to the AP Stylebook, the editor was right. Staying consistent allows readers to continually follow their stories and the other stories of separate newspapers.
    As for online content, I believe that the AP Stylebook is just as vital to the writers and editors. With more and more blogs and illegitimate news services out there, keeping the quality stuff away from the blogs and other biased and poorly worked stories.
    The easiest of the rules would be ABS. Its easy to remember because the concept isn’t that difficult. Even with the numerals, one through nine, they are sometimes written in number form. Like always when doing ages and when doing time.
    The most rules I struggle with are mostly grammatical errors, which seem to infiltrate my stories like Ndamukong Suh did to the opposing quarterback’s personal space.

  5. Shea Carlson
    February 10, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    I believe that AP style matters greatly to a journalist as well as anyone that decides to read a newspaper. It is important that AP style is in our everyday lives because it holds journalists to a high standard of professionalism. It is much easier on a reader if journalists are held to a standard because readers are thrown off by mistakes in writing, it makes the reader focus on the errors rather than the story. This is the opposite of a journalist’s role thus AP style is needed and helps the world receive its news without confusion.
    Quick stories are now the way that news is delivered however this does not mean they should be void of AP style rules. Despite the fact that breaking news stories are up on the web within minutes it is not that hard to follow AP style once you’ve learned it. If a journalist learns to write articles within the AP style it does not matter how fast the stories must go up because the writers will automatically be writing with correct grammar.
    The rule that I will have no trouble forgetting would be ABS (only abbreviate Avenue, Boulevard, and Street.) This simple acronym has helped me realize how to write addresses and streets. However I still struggle with numbers now and again because there are different rules for broadcast and print.

  6. Courtney Smith
    February 11, 2010 at 12:53 am

    After working on our group stylebook project and reading these articles, I definitely think that AP Style is an important part of journalism. I think it’s important for journalists to follow the guidelines that the stylebook sets, but at the same time, I do think that it’s acceptable for some newspapers to adopt their own stylebooks that deviate from AP. I thought that the article by Clark Hoyt had a lot of good points. I understand that The New York Times followed AP Style guidelines when they used Seals instead of SEALS, but I agree with the readers who felt like they should have capitalized all of the acronyms letters. The Times has already adopted their own stylebook that deviates from AP guidelines, so if they think it’s OK to make their own rules in some cases, it shouldn’t have been an issue to deviate from AP guidelines to show respect for the SEALS.

    I think that the importance of following style rules is even greater now in the age of quick information being published online. Journalists have less and less time to write and edit their stories and sometimes that leads to sloppy writing. I understand that they have short deadlines to meet, but when articles are published that don’t follow stylebook guidelines it makes the author and the article less credible.

    After taking this course, I won’t have any problems remembering that avenue, boulevard and street are the only three words that are abbreviated when writing out a specific address. The acronym ABS is etched into my mind, especially after the nice graphic we saw in the geography group’s presentation. A style rule that I still struggle with is deciding when to use hyphens, because I feel like I tend to use them too often.

  7. Magie Wieneke
    February 11, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I definitley think that style does matter. It gives structure and familiar feelings to a publication. The readers can easily identify certain aspects and have a worn in sweater feeling that makes them feel at home. Of course some rules are meant to be broken and I can understand where liberties can be taken. Like with the New York Times who have put their own small rules in place and made up others to better suit them. It never hurts to tweak or update tradition to make your own just a little better and a better fit. As long as you stay consistant with these rules and make them known to your readers they won’t feel left out or like something is wrong.

    Because of the group projects we have done I def think that there will be things much more easy to remember. Time zones and Geography will be one of those things that stick in my mind and not hard to recall. But a large chunk of capitalization and all the many government rules will be things I might have to go back and double check before being sure. When there is a lot of grey area it becomes harder to remeber exactly what the definate rules are. But that doesn’t make them any less important and that is one of the bigger lessons I took away from doing these projects and from reading the AP Stylebook for class as well.

  8. Darcie Samuelson
    February 11, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    I think AP style is very important for news writing. Without AP style different news publications would not have a consistent style for readers to recognize. AP style is what separates professional news publications from stories posted on a blog by someone without a journalism degree. This difference is very important because AP knowledge can help people sift through all the information on the internet and judge what is credible and what is not. Even in this fast paced world I think it is still vital that professional writers use AP style properly in order to positively portray their field and their message even on the internet. I do think that AP needs to keep up with the fast pace jargon of the internet though. They need to be aware of popular slang words so they can decide on the proper spelling and usage. An example of this is the SEALs example used in the article about the Time magazine.
    Over the past weeks I have learned AP style and how to use if correctly. The section I have learned the best is the addresses, the ABS rule will stick in my mind forever thanks to Kyle’s visual in our presentation. The section that gives me the most trouble is the abbreviations of titles and when to use them.

  9. Rikki G.
    February 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I think style is still extremely important in journalism and I believe it will continue to be in the future. The benefits of having AP Style are vast but most importantly it develops a consistency that journalists and readers strive for. Like we discussed in our blog entries about errors, inconsistencies leave readers annoyed and to question the writers credibility. If we were to throw out style, there would be many differences and inconsistencies within a single publication let alone many publications. I don’t think technology changes really relevant in this discussion because whether you read news from a newspaper or a website consistency is important.

    I think it can be a pain in the you-know-what to learn but AP Style is slowing becoming second nature to me. There are a lot of rules that I remain unsure about. The one that stumps me most often is capitalization, as in which titles to capitalize and when.

  10. Lauren Vuchetich
    February 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Throughout high school I was always in advanced placement or diff. English classes. This means I became very familiar with MLA style, and I have to admit there have been times where I was afraid not to use it because it had been so firmly enforced by my teachers. Ultimately we were taught MLA because it served the purpose to uniform the style of every paper we would write. Readability increases with the consistency of style.

    Now that I find myself flipping through the AP stylebook far more frequently than E.B. White’s Elements of Style I have found that the same is true for AP style. I feel it is almost more important for journalists to be thoroughly versed in style because it’s our job to be neutral and non-bias in everything we do. Even though deadline turnarounds have shortened with the high demand for news it’s important to be consistent in style or credibility would be compromised.

    The one rule I will not be forgetting shortly would have to be the rule for abbreviating addresses and “work on your ABS.” It is simple and easy to remember. I feel that the rules involving numbers becomes more specific and conditional so it is a bit harder to memorize.

  11. Dylan Guenther
    February 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    After working on group stylebook projects and reading these pieces, tell me whether you think AP style matters and why.
    I think AP style is very important to journalism. There needs to be that conformity in writing so readers can just read the message rather than trying to figure out this particular writer’s style. AP style also helps journalists by giving them a quick reference guide to answer any questions they may have while writing.

    In the age of quick information published online, is it still important to follow style rules? Why or why not?
    The quick information online has made it harder to always follow style rules because of the constant deadlines. Style is still very important whenever you are writing for the public. I think that quick blog posts and such are given a little more leniency when it comes to AP style because there is not a lot of time to check it. Following AP style is still very important, and this shows the need for all journalists to become better self editors.

    Finally, tell me which AP Style rule you won’t have any trouble remembering now that we’re five weeks into the semester. And tell me which style rule you are struggling with
    I won’t have any trouble with the time zones or the Roman numerals in the future. I should also remember ABS. In an address, you should always abbreviate Avenue(Ave.), Boulevard(Blvd.) and Street(St.)
    A part of AP style I still struggle with is when and when not to use hyphens. There are also some other aspects of punctuation that I struggle with.

  12. Nick French
    February 11, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I think style is an essential standard for any serious news organization, but particularly at this juncture in the evolution of accessible information. If successful news outlets want to continue to run a profitable business, they need to be flawless not only in editorial style, but in every aspect of journalism. I’ve always felt that the word style should define the way that a journalist’s creativity in crafting stories sets them apart from others, instead of implying monotony. Perhaps AP guideline would be a more appropriate term. Anyway, it’s important. It’s nice to know that the members of the public are aware of these guidelines and not just writers
    and editors.

    In an online world, I feel it’s just as important for journalists to hold themselves to these standards. They can help viewers to find more credibility on the Internet, a place where it’s already hard enough to find.

    I have to agree with the majority that ABS is the most useful trick to help me remember AP style in addresses. The geography group’s presentation helped to solidify the acronym in my memory. Though it’s pretty vague, CapitalizAtion will be, by Far, the toughest obStacle for me to memorize in the AP stylE .

  13. Brett Bedel
    February 23, 2010 at 12:28 am

    I think this is a really controversial idea. I agree with both sides; AP style is very important, but the way people write is a way to express themselves. AP style is important because it does keep a constant way of writing so everyone is able to understand. It shows professionalism and helps writers keep their credibility as reporters. If there wasn’t a set of rules and guidelines I think writing would be very messy, so-to-say, and the news wouldn’t be reported accurately. On the other hand, however, writing is a way for people to express themselves. It gives people the opportunity to write about whatever the feel and how they experience things in their life. I feel like, especially today, as our world becomes more technologically advanced there are more shortcuts how people get their message across, whether it is through email or text message. Either way though, I do feel like there needs to be a common ground for writing, so everyone is able to understand the news.

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