Home > Uncategorized > Does style matter? You decide

Does style matter? You decide

Most news outlets follow the AP Stylebook. Often, newspapers also have a style guide that addresses local nuances too. Some newspapers, like The New York Times, adopt their own stylebooks that deviate a bit from AP. In any case, style provides consistency for readers. If you think readers don’t notice, read this column by Clark Hoyt, The New York Times Public Editor.

You also may be wondering how AP Style is determined. The Associated Press has a committee of a few editors who are charged with updating the stylebook. They get many queries from journalists, readers, students and professors. For insight into how they operate, read this Q and A produced by the Public Relations Society of America.

After working on group stylebook projects and reading these pieces, tell me whether you think AP style matters and why.  In the age of quick information published online, is it still important to follow style rules? Why or why not? 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? Post your comments in the appropriate sections below before class on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Will Latta
    February 11, 2010 at 12:13 am

    I wish I could say that style does not matter and that each newspaper should embrace its own unique qualities, even between each writer, but I must resign myself to confirm that style certainly does matter.
    The shear scale and reach of media outlets around the globe subsequently requires consistency. Simply put, there are too many people receiving the news and when your audience is as big as it is today and there are as many other outlets as there are, there must be some sort of common ground for grammar and style, as to not cause mass misinterpretation. This is especially true when information needs to be published as fast as it does today, having consistent rules allows writers and editors to have a solid answer to almost all style questions, which saves valuable time.
    The style rule I think I will most easily remember is probably the rule regarding which states are abbreviated and which ones are not. The rule is consistent and lacks exceptions, unlike many other rules. I know I will struggle for a long time attempting to grasp all the allowances and exceptions revolving around numerals, so I have to say numerals are the AP style area I am having the most trouble with.

  2. Alexis
    February 11, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I think AP Style is vital in making news writing the same across the country. Readers generally seek for clean organization and style similarities in the newspapers they read. Hence, if AP Style is nonexistent, readers will be confused as to how certain words should be spelled or organized in a sentence.

    It is because we are in the age of technology, which requires almost instant news in a 24-hour news cycle, we need to have a standardized method of writing like AP Style. Having a standard style makes news writing easier as journalists do not have to worry much about spelling and they are able to focus more on their sources and how to put together a story. Following the AP Style will mostly likely minimize mistakes than do harm to a newspaper.

    The AP Style that I will forever remember is to abbreviate avenue, boulevard and street (ABS). The AP Style rule that I struggle with most is when to hyphenate a phrase.

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