« No need for tension about tenses | Main | So you think you can refute, do you? »

AP Stylebook is asking for it

The Associated Press Stylebook, under its Twitter identity @APStylebook, continues to solicit suggestions for the 2011 edition:

We're still eager to hear your suggestions for the 2011 AP Stylebook. Post them here:

D’you suppose they’re lonely?

Their site for submitting suggestions doesn’t reveal what suggestions have previously been submitted, so I think you might as well bombard them without worrying whether you are repeating other people’s suggestions. And I mean bombard them with everything you find deficient in the current manual. Surely there’s more on your mind than a passionate belief that Internet should be lowercased.

Because if you don’t smack them around a little, the 2011 edition will be like the 2010 edition: twiddling with inconsequential details. Remember the ACES conference in Philadelphia, when the leak about website was supposed to be a screamer?


In other matters: has opened nominations for the annual Mobbies awards for best local blogs in an array of categories. This is your chance to shower glory on your favorites. A new element this year is a category for Baltimore Sun blogs, the only one for which the Calvert Street wretches are eligible.

That means that [cough] this one [cough] is eligible for nomination.


Posted by John McIntyre at 11:01 AM | | Comments (7)


Heard about the right-wing conspiracy to make “refudiate” an actual word?

Am I misremembering (I ♥ Al Capp) that a beloved Sun blogger won this a couple of years ago and then wound up on hiatus? Do we really want to go down this road again??

Yes, you are misremembering. I won a Mobbie last summer while on hiatus. This year's awards include Sun employees for the first time.

I already hammered them on the desirability of the Oxford comma.

For the sake of those of us outside in the corridor, can you explain why AP style is accorded such prominence by US journalists? Isn't it just the stylebook of a newsagency, to be accepted or corrected by the newspapers that buy the service?

Picky: Three reasons I can think of.

1) The U.S. has well over two thousand daily newspapers, none of which are really national in the way the U.K.'s dozen or so national papers are. (USA Today, is read mostly by people in hotel rooms, and the Wall Street Journal is specialized; the New York Times and the Washington Post are still primarily local papers, though the locality is bigger and you can buy them in most U.S. cities.) Since there just isn't that much local news, they are heavily dependent on wire service copy, particularly AP copy, for much of their content. Using AP style for all copy makes for consistency.

2) Local papers contribute copy back to AP, which is a collective rather than a profit-making business. Most of this doesn't run on national wires, but does run on state-specific wires, so it will show up in other local papers in the same state. AP's more likely to use such copy if it's already in AP style.

3) Americans are an anxious lot who feel great pain if they don't have a style guide to work from, the more restrictive and mechanical the better.

Thanks, John.  Yes, we have fewer than 150 daily titles, and the provincial ones concentrate mostly on local news.  That's their commercial advantage over the nationals, and anyway they don't have the newsprint acreage of their American semi-equivalents.

And I take your second point.

I'm not daft enough to comment on your third point, except to say that there remains  a slightly different interpretation of the editing role over here, and matters of style rest less heavily on the souls of British subs (if you can imagine a British sub with a soul).

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
Baltimore Sun Facebook page

Most Recent Comments
Sign up for FREE local news alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local news text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Stay connected