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#APStyleChat: Journos Still Salty About Spelling State Names

theAPThey have been moving and shaking over at the AP — making us write out state names and keep stories short. This week, the 2014 Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law was released with lots of changes, including the addition of over 200 religious terms, written by religion writer Rachel Zoll.

There are also revised rules about using “more than” and “over,” and added entries about the use of “selfie,” “polar vortex,” “LGBT,” and “(sic).” It’s going to be a good year.

The Stylebook is updated year-round online, and the editors held a not-very-fruitful Twitter chat this week, which you can see here. Spoiler alert: No one’s sure if they have to spell out D.C. or not.

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Every News Story On The Internet Right Now Could Be 300 Words Shorter

AP_logoOk, so while longwinded Upworthy-style headlines are in vogue right now, so should be tighter editing. Earlier this week, Erik Wemple reported on an AP memo announcing a move to start “policing” story length. Daily bylines digest stories should be around 300-500 words and top, ‘global’ stories should never exceed 700, unless it’s necessary and still ‘tightly edited.’ I’m all about it. Some reasons managing editor Brian Carovillano wants them shorter?

1) Good stuff is drowning in a ‘sea of bloated, mid level copy.’ I know we’re all supposed to be all about ‘longform,’ but it seems like everything I read these days is at least two paragraphs (or pages, if you’re The New Yorker) too long. One day when I have a free weekend, I’m going to compile my evidence, but for now it remains a hypothesis: I think a lot of us are writing too much to seem more serious and in-depth so as not to appear too beholden to the ‘clickiness’ of the Internet. Yes, we can do serious journalism on mobile and digital-first platforms. But it can also be concise. Read more

AP To Spell Out State Names, Reporters Complain on Twitter

ap tweetThe AP announced that it will start to spell out state’s names in stories. That’s annoying, if only because I’ve finally got my abbreviations down.

Two things:

1) I get that it’s about clarity, but what about character limits? Does anyone prefer spelling state names out? If you read the full memo, it seems more confusing than not.

2) Since my gut reaction is “why bother? I’m thinking the AP is out of date. Buzzfeed says to lowercase ‘internet,’ and the AP says to capitalize it. In an increasingly mobile and digital first world, why don’t we make things easy and more conversational?

I’m not the only one who’s unimpressed, either. Share your AP woes with us in the comments or tweet them to us @10,000Words.

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.

Read more