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BuzzFeed Shows AP Stylebook Isn’t Exhaustive, Especially for Digital Age

keep-calm-and-follow-buzzguide-1No one can argue this — the Internet has changed everything when it comes to journalism, and while the AP Stylebook will continue to be considered “ol’ faithful” in our industry on most issues of journalistic style, there must be a benchmark for the Web-speak so prevalent in social and digital media today.

That is why BuzzFeed, generator of hilarious lists and investigative stories alike, has made public its newsroom style guide.

While BuzzFeed said its style manual isn’t meant to cover all elements of grammar and journalistic style (they rely mostly on the AP Stylebook, except for their own overrides on words they use often on the site — we’ll get to those later), the digital publisher hopes the guide will be a good source for its media peers.

“Our perspective reflects that of the internet at large, which is why we hope other sites and organizations across the web will find these guidelines useful,” wrote BuzzFeed copy team staffers Emmy Favila and Megan Paolone for the official release of the guide last week.

Of note when it comes to words and phrases journalists (specifically those covering technology and media beats) might be prone to using? See after the jump.

According to BuzzFeed, it’s “News Feed” when you’re talking about Facebook, “page view,” “de-friend” rather than “unfriend,” “GIF’d” (yes, as in the past tense of creating a GIF image), “photobomb/videobomb” and “screengrab.” Then there are some other trickier ones, like “live-tweet” versus “live stream.” Notice that there is no hyphen on “live stream,” whether it’s being used as a noun or verb.

And one of my personal “faves” — BuzzFeed says I can not only make “favorite-ing” an adverb, but I can also shorten it. It’s “fave, faved, fave-ing (as in, “I faved his tweet”)” in BuzzFeed content (and perhaps, soon-to-be others who might adopt similar internet-centric style policies).

Shifting gears: for the most part, BuzzFeed’s correction policy is standard. Themes of accuracy and transparency resound throughout the text, but there are a couple of particularly interesting requirements BuzzFeed has on corrections.

The first of which states that corrections should be written in “plain English,” not fancy newspaper speak. Another mandate is that corrections are shared with every medium that the original story was published on. And finally, BuzzFeed encourages reader acknowledgement in corrections, regardless of possible nastiness:

“Be generous to the person on Twitter who pointed out the error — whether you are feeling generous or not, and no matter how obnoxious the tweet. That person did you a favor by improving your piece. If possible, end the correction with “(h/t: @twitterlunatic)” and a link to the tweet in question,” BuzzFeed wrote.

So, what do you think of BuzzFeed’s style guide and corrections policy? What would you add to it?

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