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Does style matter? Morning class

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

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Categories: style
  1. Dan Hoppen
    February 8, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I do think AP Style matters. I’ve never been a huge fan of learning all the rules, but I can admit that it is very important for an organization to establish a defined set of rules for their writers to follow. Every newspaper and website should have their own established “stylebook” so their writers are referring to items in the right way. If two writers refer to the same thing in a different way(ex: SEALS and Seals), it makes the news organization look bad.
    I also think it’s still important to follow AP Style for online content. It can be both tedious and time-consuming to follow AP Style, but it also gives the news organization accuracy and credibility with its readers.
    I don’t think I will have too much trouble remembering the numbers part of the Stylebook because that’s what my group just presented on in class. While I don’t expect myself to remember everything we looked at, I do think I can recall a good deal of it. Things like Roman Numerals, ZIP codes and addresses shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
    One thing I might struggle with is how to refer to all the political happenings. I can never really remember when I’m supposed to capitalize “City Council” or leave it lower case. Simple things like that can trip me up. I also don’t have a masterful grip on the political process in reference to exactly how laws are passed, officials are elected and how the government works overall. I’m taking political science right now and starting to pay more attention to it, so hopefully my knowledge in this area will grow.

  2. Sarah Morris
    February 9, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I believe that AP style is very important to know for a couple of reasons. One is that it creates a standard for writers to use. It is almost like a key where you can abbreviate and look up what each abbreviation or symbol means. The AP style also makes it easier for the reader to process the information that is put in front of them. It makes it short and to the point while at the same time providing the most amount of precise information.
    After viewing the presentations I have retained more information than I thought I would have. I will remember the AP style rules on the political genre because of the video. It gets stuck in my head everytime I think of the song.
    However I think that the Roman Numerals will be the hardest thing that I have to remember. It seems like mostly memorizing and once I sit down and take my time to look at it, I think that it will be easier for me to remember.

  3. Kelly Morris
    February 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Even before reading these articles I thought that AP Style was necessary. Consistency is important for readers. Like the New York Times piece explained, simple abbreviations can throw off readers and even offend them.
    I think it’s important to follow the rules even for online editions as well. Even though it may be hard to write something quickly and follow the style rules, I think it needs to be the same, again, for consistency purposes. Stories are much easier to read and understand when I’m not stumbling over inconsistent abbreviations. Though online stories generally need to be written quicker, it doesn’t take too much time to look up a few words since many of the rules are memorized now.
    I struggle most with hyphens. I feel like I never use them when I should. I will have no trouble remembering addresses because I think those are easiest, especially with the acronym ABS.

  4. Emily Giller
    February 9, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    I believe AP Style is important because it’s a guideline for all journalists to follow so all their work looks uniform. Just like the AP Q and A article said, it really shows readers that journalists know their craft when their writing follows all the same rules.It also helps the reader follow and understand the story.
    Although technology is advancing and news is being published more quickly, it’s still important to check AP Style and make sure that the story being distributed and read is following the set guidelines. As I mentioned before, AP Style helps readers understand the story easily. Without it, readers wouldn’t be able to follow along and probably wouldn’t finish reading the story.
    Personally, AP Style has helped me write some of my stories more clearly. The one AP Style rule that I will never forget is “ABS.” I will never forget that when a numbered address appears in a story, the writer is supposed to abbreviate avenue, boulevard and street, but only those three.
    The one rule that I still have trouble with, however, is figuring out when I’m suppose to use “who” and when I’m suppose to use “whom.” I have to reference my style book quite often to figure out which to use.

  5. Tom Grant
    February 10, 2010 at 2:51 am

    In a day and age where the print media is constantly finding a new home on the internet, I still believe that AP style is as important as ever. I’m sure most writers can agree that it is very annoying and at times difficult to originally learn all of the different rules but those same people can surely agree that it is very important. As a reader, it is very annoying and distracting when you read a story that has a word spelled or capitalized one way and then when reading a different story, having it used in a different style. As the first article mentions on the blog, the different ways of capitalizing the words SEALs had some readers up in arms. The Times decided to not capitalize it and many people were outraged. When asked, the military even said they would never, under any circumstance not capitalize the S, E, A, or the L. In my opinion it is a time like this where if the source has a specific way they want it spelled, then they should have it spelled that exact way. Who better to decide how to spell the name of a group then the group itself? I’m not a huge fan of different papers like The Times having their own style book because I think it is very beneficial to have one collective book that everyone uses. If every paper in the country followed the same rules then every reader would be reading their stories the same way. The fact that The Times may capitalize a word differently from the Omaha World Herald means that two audiences will be reading the story but possibly in a different light. I think AP style is extremely important to journalism and that it is a valuable resource for young writers. As things are put up more quickly on the internet I think it is still every bit as important to hold AP style high in importance and use it correctly. Between my News 202 and 201 classes, one area I feel I have memorized through repetitive work is how to properly write out addresses. I now know when and how to abbreviate certain words and what words don’t need to be cut short at all in circumstance. One area that has caused me a little bit of trouble has been height and dimensions. I feel like I have started to improve in the area but for some reason I always seem to forget how to properly give a person’s height. I know though that if I keep at it eventually it will just become second nature to me.

  6. Kristin Bauer
    February 10, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Of course AP style is important. It is an essential part of the journalistic process. The article written by Clark Hoyt says, “A newspaper has to have rules, the linguistic equivalent of driving on the right side of the road and stopping at red lights, to avoid chaos for readers.” I cannot think of a better way to describe the importance of AP style, and I could not agree more. Although learning AP style is a tedious and unpleasant experience for me, I understand that it is essential for every journalist to know AP style rules. AP style helps newspapers become synchronized with the rules of writing. It also prevents confusion for readers, and helps reporters avoid using terms that may be offensive. It makes it possible for papers around the world to communicate effectively with clarity and consistency.

    In the age of quick information, I think it is still important to follow style rules. After all, publications must consider their readers. The same readers that pick up a paper will likely look online to find their news. These readers deserve to find the same standards of writing online that they find in a newspaper. Journalists should use the same amount of effort and accuracy when writing for an online publication. It is still a journalist’s duty to report by using correct information, and following AP style rules.

    There are a few AP style rules that have stuck in my mind now that we are five weeks into the semester. One of the main rules I remember is the abbreviation rule when applied to states. I will always remember the eight states that are never abbreviated are Iowa, Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, Ohio, Idaho, Maine and Utah. The other rule I will always remember is to abbreviate “avenue,” “boulevard” and “street” when used with numbered addresses.

    The one rule I have always struggled with is the rule that distinguishes the difference between “that” and “which.” I often struggle deciding which of the two words is more appropriate. Sometimes, I am confused on whether the word “that” is necessary in the sentence at all. Hopefully, someday, I can learn a trick to fix my confusion between these two words!

  7. Rhiannon
    February 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    I’m a big believer in consistency and having the AP Stylebook is necessary for this. Without consistency then we lose our credibility and our trust with the public. The New York Times article makes a good point that people do notice these things and that it is difficult to please everyone. But in the cases of military and official government titles, we should probably follow their rules as closely as possible. Pop culture has a bit more leeway since it isn’t as serious an area of discussion.

    The one AP Style rule I won’t have any trouble remembering is “Daylight Saving Time” not “Daylight Savings Time.” Is it weird I can’t wait to correct people with this one? There are a couple of entries that I’ve noticed aren’t entirely accurate. The Girl Scouts one, for instance, Daisy Scouts are kindergarten and first grade and aren’t even mentioned. An error like this makes me cringe. It also makes me wonder if there are any other entries that have inaccuracies.

  8. B. Ayers
    February 10, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    I think AP style is incredibly important in the field of journalism. Having a stylebook with rules, regulations and proper names of companies, and other organizations is important for writers who are writing on a deadline. Having one universal style also saves editors from trying to decide what should be right and what should be wrong.
    Style rules also keep it simple for the readers, as opposed to jumping around from one different style to the other, having one consolidated style that everyone uses is important for writers and readers alike.
    After our five weeks of studying style I think that the rule I have the best grasp of is abbreviations, knowing what and when to abbreviate, and what should never be abbreviated. I am still struggling with numbers and when they are supposed to be spelled out and when it is okay to use Arabic numerals. I know that one through ten is usually spelled out, but there are still a few rules dealing with numbers I need to nail down.

  9. Seanica
    February 10, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    AP Style is definitely still important. Consistency is a must for newspapers because inconsistency would definitely cause many more problems with the readers. It’s very interesting to me, though, that so many readers pay attention to the different ways things are written and that they actually complain and write letters to the papers about these differences. Style is constantly changing, so it’s important for journalists to stay on top of things to try and keep the readers at ease.
    It’s very interesting to me that the AP editors are looking at style rules for social media sites and also texting. They stated that people find style important, even in those different forms. I guess that’s true, since I hardly see people writing on social media sites with terrible style.
    I definitely won’t have any trouble remembering the rule that March, April, May, June and July should never be abbreviated. I also won’t have trouble remembering that only avenue, boulevard and street should be abbreviated when with a specific address. I’ve always had a little trouble with collective nouns, so that is something that I will need to work on a lot as we continue learning AP Style.

  10. Ryan Evans
    February 10, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    In an age when anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can claim to be a journalist, the proper use of AP Style by serious journalists can serve to set their work apart from that of an online novice. By adhering to professional standards, a serious journalist can enhance his or her credibility, even in the blogosphere.
    For news organizations, the topic of consistency in what they produce is also an important thing to consider, as obeying the same style rules will work to not confuse readers and lend to the credibility of the news outlet. However, as evidenced by some examples in the Hoyt article, some style rules may be changed over the course of time. This only makes sense because of how quickly our world can change in terms of values and acceptability in language.
    I suppose it is reassuring to know that the AP Stylebook is revised annually. When somebody else goes to the trouble of figuring out how the writer should write, it actually makes his or her job easier. All the writer has to do is follow the rules. Fortunately, due to the annual review, a journalist can always be up to date on the latest professional standards and ensure that his or work is written in a professional manner that will be consistent with that of colleagues.
    Obviously, because of the amount of entries in the stylebook, it is nearly impossible to know them all, especially as a college student. However, one that I will never have trouble remembering is the rule of abbreviations for addresses. While I really have no idea why Street, Avenue, and Boulevard are the only addresses abbreviated (when appearing with a specific number), I simply have no trouble remembering this rule. On the other hand, I still have trouble remembering all the nuances about numbers, probably because there are so many instances where numbers may be involved.

  11. Jordan Minnick
    February 10, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    I believe that AP style does matter. I like how The New York Times Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, put it: “A newspaper has to have rules, the linguistic equivalent of driving on the right side of the road and stopping at red lights, to avoid chaos for readers.” AP style is a common ground for not only readers, but all journalists and newspapers also. It’s like having a set of rules along with having a binding system. The AP Stylebook is like a constitution; without a constitution a government can’t be taken, or followed, seriously.

    Even today, I think there should be no reason why journalism shouldn’t be held accountable for AP style online. The Internet shouldn’t be used as a crutch for errors online, it should make the industry better. I thought it was great how David Minthorn and Colleen Newvine of the AP Stylebook mentioned AP style and Twitter since Twitter is so commonly used by today’s journalists and media outlets.

    The AP rules that I’ve grown to know well are the capitalization of Internet, Web site, and World Wide Web. They’re not something I necessarily learned in News 201, but I’ve definitely come to know them being in college. Some of the hardest components of AP style for me are crime and law terms and verbs versus nouns and adjectives with or without spaces or hyphens.

  12. DeShaun
    February 11, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I do believe that AP style does matter. I think having a standard style of writing for journalism makes communication with audiences easier. The thing I think most people like to have is consistency. If there isn’t a mix up in the rules/style then readers will have an easier time. And having a standard style makes it easier for the writers too.
    When it comes to publishing online, I think it is good to stick to the AP style for the most part. One thing I notice is the Web is a little less structured in style. I think it would be ideal for online stories to follow AP style but take on a conversational approach too. It would create a better experience for the reader in my opinion.
    As for the AP rule I think I’m good on are addresses, capitalization, and ages. I don’t think I’m really struggling in too many areas but I will have little mishaps here and there with collective nouns and punctuation.

  13. Max Olson
    February 11, 2010 at 3:14 am

    While I do believe AP Style matters a great deal, I’m interested to see how it will endure with future generations. There’s no doubt that today, stories have to be written and posted online faster than ever in order for a paper to stand a chance against its competitors on the Internet. I personally believe that following the standard style rules is one of the key things that give newspapers credibility and reliability, and that’s something you just don’t always get out of those big news blogs today. There are times when I think AP rules are somewhat out of date or rigid, but I almost always agree with the book’s rules.

    I enjoyed the section in which Clark Hoyt talked about the gradual changes that The New York Times has made to appease readers. It made me think about one style rule that’s always kind of puzzled me. “All right” is what the AP declares means fine or OK (and so does my dictionary), but I think it’s obvious my generation believes “alright” is the correct spelling. Deciding between the two brings forth a tough issue in my mind: if the reader wants “alright,” isn’t it in the writer’s best interest to use it? Today, we say no, rules are rules. But will we in the future?

    After five weeks, I feel I’ve retained a lot of the style rules we’ve focused on. The top one for me right now, I think, is remembers “ABS” – avenues, boulevards and streets. I also don’t expect to have any problems remembering which states are spelled out and which ones are abbreviated. One of the mistakes I’ll make is a grammar one: I still don’t remember what the rules are for using “whom.” Another issue is my knack for over-hyphenating phrases. I hope I didn’t just make that very mistake in the previous sentence.

  14. Damien Croghan
    February 11, 2010 at 3:54 am

    While I do think that some AP style issues are not of extreme importance (spelling out eleven or writing the numerals 11), I do understand that consistency is necessary. For example, if you decide to spell out the number eleven in an article, do it in every reference to the number. If you spell out National Basketball Association, you cannot go back and use NBA.
    The PRSA article explains how AP style can make an article sound more professional and less amateur. A close attention to detail will be reflected in how well-received an article is received by its audience. However, professionalism cannot be an excuse for not evolving as a publication.
    Like the New York Times article highlighted, it is sometimes necessary for AP style to reflect their audience’s usage of certain acronyms. My brother is in the Navy, training to be in the SEALS program, not the Seals program. This might seem irrelevant to someone not involved with that branch of the military, but it could be interpreted as ignorant and disrespectful to the SEALS program. Also, if you are the only publication using Unicef instead of UNICEF, maybe it’s time to adapt to the times. Issues like these make the New York Times seem too dated in the new Internet age, which is constantly adapting and changing.
    That being said, it isn’t possible to write anything that will satisfy everyone. Previous to this article, and even after reading it, I’m not quite sure what the less-offensive term for a little person is. Midget seems to be obviously derogatory, but dwarf also sounds awkward. Maybe this is because my stream-of-consciousness instantly goes to the Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs when I hear that term.
    As stated earlier, it is impossible to make everyone happy. However, researching the use of certain terms in other publications can also help you figure out what to do. An understanding of particular communities, whether it is the Navy or dwarfs, can also help a publication decide what language to use.

  15. Jackie Wiruth
    February 11, 2010 at 6:51 am

    I do think that AP style matters. Things should be consistent, not sloppy. I can see why having everything different would become confusing and hard to read. I do think, though, that AP style can become rather excessive. Things should be consistent so that they are easier to read, but it is possible to take it too far. AP style takes it a little too far, in my opinion. There are just too many rules. The rules are the rules though, so they should be followed no matter what. Publishing information online quickly is not an excuse for sloppiness. AP style should still be followed, even with publishing online.
    One of the AP style rules that I no longer have any trouble remembering is when to abbreviate state names and when not to. State names are only abbreviated when put with a city, and some short state names are never abbreviated. I do still have trouble with several of the rules, however. One of the rules I have trouble with is when to capitalize college degree phrases, and names within a particular university, for example, the English college.

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