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Style, P.M. class

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

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  1. Taylor Dahl
    September 19, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    After reading the Hoyt article I felt that what he said made a lot of sense. I can’t believe that the Seals tried to call out The Times and say that they didn’t edit it right. That is the profession at the The Times and the Seals have no right to say what they did was incorrect. Also I felt that the midget connotation was right. I am glad that is should not be said anymore and it is degrading. This was a great article about the difficulty of AP Style and how to properly use it or else you can get hit hard by critics.

    In Minthorn’s article I really enjoyed the Q and A. I felt he hit all of the high points about AP Style. The standard style is really important because it provides a framework of proper word usage, spellings, punctuation’s, and definitions. It is weird in my eyes that he said spelling were the most common questions he got. I would figure it would be about abbreviations because that is what seems to be the biggest problem with students I have talked to.

    A question I would ask the editor is, “Is hardwork correct? Or is hard work? The reason why I would ask this is because I was having a debate with my roommates about it and we did not for sure how it was spelled out.

  2. Jarad Kinyoun
    September 19, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I found Hoyt’s article to be an interesting look at AP style through different issues. The issue with Seals or SEALs from my point of view as a veteran is about the same as Cmdr. Geisen. Where I could care less but no one I know would abbreviate it that way. The issue with the use of midget is completely understandable. I am fairly confident that most of us have known for a while that is a term considered offensive. After reading the article I can only imagine the different responses a major publication like the Times receives about style, grammar, punctuation, quotes and etc…
    The Minthorn Q and A interview was somewhat interesting. I like how he addressed that the editors use feedback to make decisions regarding making changes to the AP Stylebook. When he was discussing how decisions are made, made me laugh at the idea of a heated argument over where a hyphen should or should not be placed. The Ask the Editor website that Minthorn runs is a great idea and a great tool for us as students, though it sounds like he gets plenty of questions, so response time could be a problem. I cannot think of grammar question that I would want to ask, but I would like to know how many hours go into revising the AP Stylebook each year.

  3. Kate Fennelly
    September 19, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    After reading the Clark Hoyt article, I felt guilty about how I get annoyed with the style of certain publications. I guess it never occurred to me that each publication had their own set of rules to follow. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of the Times’ rules, I think it is important that they have a set of standards in place. I agree with Hoyt that the acronym rule does not make sense in many instances and should be amended.
    I found the Q and A with Minthorn to be interesting. There is a lot of debate about each entry in the AP Stylebook, and I did not realize how much work went into revising the Stylebook each year. The interview was extremely informative and I thought his comments on feedback from readers was really interesting. I liked the idea that they listened to the input of their readers.
    If I could ask the editor one question, it would be about the differences in state abbreviations. Why do some states, like South Dakota, follow the Postal Service’s abbreviations, while others, like Calif., do not?

  4. September 19, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    The article by Clark Hoyt was a very interesting way to look at how AP Style changes over time, and the process by which it changes. I found it interesting to read about how the Internet will possibly change style rules that are specific to the New York Times. Having search engines show results from multiple news organizations with stories about the SEALs may make the New York Times look like the odd one out, as the article states. It will be interesting to see if this prompts a more uniform style across the county and limit the extent of individual newspaper’s differences in style. I also found it interesting to see how quickly style can change when the public speaks up about a rule that they find offensive. I agree with the decision that midget be replaced by dwarf.

    The Q and A with David Minthorn was also very informational about AP Style. His response to the question involving whether or not AP Style was still as important now that more readers are moving to the Web fell along the same line as Hoyt’s response – it is still important to keep a standardized style across the board. That is something you can’t get from blogs, citizen journalism or unreliable news websites. The change of the term Web Site to website was also an interesting part of the Q and A. It is good that AP Style is keeping up with changes in terms as the Internet becomes more and more prominent in our daily lives. I found it surprising that social media terms such as “unfriend” are in the AP Stylebook. I was unaware of that. Lastly, it surprised me how rigorous of a process it is for any change to the AP Stylebook to be made, or for new entries to make their way into it.

    If I had to think of a question for Ask the Editor, I would ask if there are any spellings of words or uses of capitalizations on words where they don’t follow Webster’s. It took them a few years to follow Webster’s on the use of the word “website” rather than “Web Site,” so it would be interesting to know the answer.

  5. Jade Novotny
    September 20, 2010 at 12:06 am

    I found the Clark Hoyt article interesting. I knew different papers use different styles but I did not know the New York Times was so controversial. I don’t agree with all of their rules but I didn’t think so many others had issues with them. I never thought of how many letters they get about style issues.
    I really liked the Q and A with Minthorn. I would love to be an editor so learning how the editors of the main stylebook work is super interesting. I knew it takes a lot to change entries in the stylebook but I did not realize how long the process is.
    My question for the Ask the Editor is not a gramatical one. I would like to know what social networking language they decided to include in the stylebook and how they decided on them.

  6. Brandon Jochum
    September 20, 2010 at 2:47 am

    In reaction to Hoyt’s article, it has always been my belief that an organization should be allowed to dictate the manner in which its name appears in print. If the SEALs want the name of their organization capitalized, why not just do it? And who really cares if Barack Obama is referred to as “President” or “Mr.”? It seems that just referring to him as “Obama” without any title whatsoever is most offensive of the three options. Hoyt briefly mentions that there is a general sense of trepidation about printing the name of, as in his example, a rock group with a name containing an obscenity. In such cases I believe the decision becomes solely that of the editor of the publication.

    The “Q and A” with Minthorn was interesting. I got a vague feeling that he and I have very different opinions on changing “the rulebook.” The whole time I was reading the article, I couldn’t help but think, “why should we make so many changes just because pop culture and the people who follow it say they should be made?” I am referring mostly to the change from “Web site” to “website.” I don’t really care either way, but it seemed like the decision wasn’t really made by those qualified to make it. If we stick to that mentality, the spelling of “definitely” will soon be changed to “definately” based on the sheer number of people making that mistake when they type online. But hey, I’m not a deputy standards editor, what do I know?

    As for a question I would “ask the editor”: Why does the first letter after a semi-colon need to be capitalized? It has always been my impression that a semi-colon does not start a new sentence.

  7. Anna Reed
    September 20, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I thought that Hoyt article, Consistent, Sensitive and Weird, was interesting because it brought to light many things that I have never thought of or noticed. The AP Stylebook is a go-to reference for many newspapers around the country, but because the New York Times follows its own set of rules, it can lead to confusion from readers. For example, I have always wondered why Marine was capitalized, but soldier and sailor were not. This article has cleared up that confusion for me, and now that I understand the rule about the title having the same name as the organization, it makes sense. I found it interesting that so many people would write into the New York Times to correct the paper about any grammar or name issues. I understand that the readers want proper English, but calling the paper disrespectful to a certain person or president’s administration is slightly ridiculous in my opinion, especially considering that this is the way the Times has done things for many years.
    The Minthorn interview provided good information about how the AP Stylebook changes with time and culture. I knew that putting together a new edition each year would be a significant amount of work, but I was not aware of how many people and hours go into the book, and each entry individually. The change from Web site to website in the 2010 edition was an interesting one, in that the Web and Web page stayed as they were.
    My question is, “Should off limits have a hyphen or not?”

  8. Andrew Mach
    September 20, 2010 at 11:28 am

    NY Times article: I read The Times regularly, but I’m not bothered by their individual style choices. I actually kind of like the fact that the Times uses its own style because it sets them apart. I suppose I hold The Times in such high esteem, that frankly, I believe they can do whatever they want. And why shouldn’t they? What’s the real impact to the reader if all news organizations set their own rules? I think every outlet ought to be able to decide which style they follow. At the same time, I believe there is a need for generally a uniform style in news, and I certainly understand people’s frustration with The Times. But ultimately, I don’t think that style ever hinders people from consuming or, really, understanding news.

    Minthorn Q&A: It does seem odd that one organization, or in this case, one person has all the power when it comes to style, but I think it is, again, appropriate for all news to have a uniform style. It’s fun to see all of these people flock to this one website for style tips. In my opinion, more than anything, this article exemplifies a deep commitment by a wide-variety of writers to the sanctity of news. It’s good to see that so many people care.

    What I’d ask the editor: I’d be interested in knowing why it’s syllabuses and not syllabi – that one always annoys me, but I always remember it.

  9. Jessica Sluyter
    September 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Clark Hoyt’s article, Consistent, Sensitive and Weird, caught me by surprise. I consider The New York Times and The Washington Post to be two of the best newspapers in circulation. So Hoyt discussing The Times being under constant scrutiny, was a shock. However, two of the examples Hoyt gave in regards to The Times stylebook being outdated were understandable. For instance, referring to a marine as a Marine with a capital “M” and using the term dwarf, instead of midget were appropriate and necessary updates to The Times stylebook.

    Besides these two examples, I tend to think these “outcries” about The Times writing style are somewhat ridiculous. As a reader and a writer, I am comforted by the idea that writers are required to follow a strict writing style. If the flaw falls in the hands of the stylebook, at least the writers and editors were following the guidelines they have been given.

    David Minthorn’s Q and A supports this idea. He says, “By using a standard style, journalists don’t have to agonize over basics such as how to present the news.” Furthermore, his discussion about how updates come about in the AP stylebook illustrates how much time and consideration goes into these standards. Perhaps, The Times stylebook should be revised more often, but on the whole I think print, online, and broadcast media do a good job following the same guidelines and giving the public a consistent format.

    If I were to Ask the Editor a question, I would ask: “Why does the AP stylebook prefer not using a comma before ‘and?” I would ask this question simply because all four years of high school I was taught by my English teacher that it is a rule of preference and will vary from teacher to teacher. Therefore, I am only curious as to how AP staff made the decision to go without the comma, instead of with the comma.

  10. Mallory Miller
    September 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Hoyt’s article brings up a lot of good points. Style is important for any news organization to have so that their reporting can remain consistent and familiar to readers. I believe that when writing out their style rules, however, publications should take into account exceptions. The SEALs example is a great example of this. Since that is the official name of the outfit, so that should be the name. However, Hoyt brings up the very relevant point that it’s hard to “maintain a consistent style in a changing world, where some people read political motives into simple usage conventions, where words once thought acceptable become objectionable, and where other words once objectionable become part of everyday language.”

    Reading the Minthorn Q and A, I was just fascinated by the amount of time and work that goes into revising the Stylebook each year. Only three people have to deliberate through people’s opinions and popular use to decide what the official style should be for journalist thoroughout the world.

    The question I would submit to “Ask the Editor” is: When referring to posts on Twitter, why did you decide to make the official term Tweet, which seems like slang, instead of a message on Twitter?

  11. Kevin Shanahan
    September 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I thought that Clark Hoyt’s article, “Consistent, Sensitive and Weird,” was an interesting look at the varied and changing nature of style, particularly AP Style, amongst unique news publications. Prior to reading this article, I was not aware that many major publications follow their own set of rules. The article focuses somewhat on the the New York Times and their unique set of rules that differ from the everyday guidelines of AP Style. For me, it would be nice if all publications followed the same set of rules for style, but I also see how it makes sense for major publications like the NY Times to follow their own set of rules. Another element that interested me in this article is the amount of backlash that these publications recieve for percieved misuse of style by their readers. I never would have imagined the scope of the response that the papers recieve regarding style, especially responses that are negative in connotation.

    I thought that interview with David Minthorn provided some good information about not only how the AP Stylebook changes with time, but all of the work that really goes into making a change to the stylebook. I thought it was interesting how much sway and impact popular culture make on the changes to the stylebook every year. For example, I was unaware that many social networking terms such as “unfriend,” have already found their way into the stylebook.

    My question for “Ask the Editor,” would be, “Does the AP Style committee follow changes from any other major publication sources such as Webster’s Dictionary, or the MLA Stylebook, when considering changes to AP Style, or do they generally follow thier own in-house suggestions?”

  12. September 20, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    From what I could gather on the Hoyt column, I side with the New York Times in their decision to run the article labeled as the seals. It is their policy and I am of the party that believes that everyone publication should have enough leeway to run something the way that they prefer. So long as they do not stray from the style that they set for themselves. The times does a lot of things that don’t normally fly under AP style, but it is “their” way of doing things, and they stay true to it.

    In regards to the Minthorn Q and A, I was interested by a lot of the peculiar rules in AP style that I normally wouldn’t think about. I enjoyed the part where he talked about football abbreviations, this helps me because I write fake sports articles for the DailyER Nebraskan quite often, and it is an area that I was never completely sure how to address.

    And I would ask the editor about how exactly AP style decided it’s very basics at the beginning. Such as, how after you mention a persons full name in an article, you only refer to them by their last name for the rest, and a bunch of other miscellaneous things of the same vein.

  13. Bob Al-Greene
    September 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    The Hoyt article more than anything got me thinking about how important it is to be able to recognize when you should be checking the AP Stylebook. A copy editor should never have a closed stylebook beside him or her. It’s easy, when reading, to breeze right by instances, even obvious things like time of day or month abbreviation. These are easiest because figures and capitalization jump right out at the reader, but there are also instances, like hyphenation, which are much more subtle. When typing a headline for the Daily Nebraskan recently, it was pointed out to me that I had typed “US” when referring to the United States, when “U.S.” is preferred in the Stylebook. However, when using the term in a headline, the periods are taken out. I happened to have this rule on hand since I had looked it up not a few months before, but AP style is such a convoluted and intricate process that one can’t possibly commit it all to memory.

    As far as the Minthorn piece, I always enjoy learning about the process involved in adding new terms to a stylebook or dictionary because new words often seem trivial; “unfriend,” “bling,” and “D’oh” come to mind. I agree with Minthorn that the best way to learn AP style, as with most things, is through repetition, in “daily journalism.”

    I would ask the AP editor what he thinks the effect of increasing AP illiteracy in Web-based firsthand or blog-styled journalism will be. The relevance and speediness of news, along with the development of mass-distributed, easy-to-use and easy-to-conceal recording devices seem to be more important than the largely invisible presence of style to the average reader.

  14. Kay Kemmet
    October 11, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    The article “Consistent, Sensitive and Weird” made me feel differently about the New York TImes style. While it was something that bothered me when I first began reading the paper, it was something I am now accustomed to the style. Any slight annoyance remaining was wiped out by Clark Hoyt’s article, because it show how ridiculous people can be in their critiques. I agree with Bill Burton, the deputy White House press secretary. “As long as they get the quotes right, we’re not particularly concerned,” he said. People should be focused on the Times’ accuracy rather then their use of a consistent style.

    The Minthorn article also was interesting especially after studying the AP Stylebook. It is interesting to compare pop culture and new media with new additions to the stylebook. It game me a better understanding of why so many changes are made each year. There have to be so many additions, because so much changes in the world of media each year especially in terms of the Web. It also made me really want to use “unfriend” in an article.

    My question for Ask the Editor: When choosing entries for the AP Stylebook, do you focus more on conversational or proper speech? With words like Tweet as the official name for a message on Twitter, it seems to be more conversational. Is this a strategy to make journalism more understandable to the average reader? Could this be a source of aggravation from the proper English lovers?

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