Writing with style

The students who take my Media Writing course at Marquette University begin each semester by taking an A.P. Stylebook quiz. This open-book exercise is oftentimes their first introduction to A.P. Style, and usually leads to a discussion of, “Does A.P. Style still matter?” Of course, my response is, “Darn right!” (or words to that affect)

As the communication revolution continues, marketing and public relations professionals know there are more avenues to share their clients’ messages, including print, website, online, social media (in all its forms), blogs, broadcast, sky writing, etc. Though there appears a more pervasive attitude in all forms of writing – a “wild, wild, West” mentality when it comes to rules – the case can be made that A.P. Style has greater value than ever.

  • A.P. Style promotes consistency. On a regular basis in our office, spirited discussions about a grammar rule, spelling or punctuation are ended by, “What does A.P. say?” That consistency in writing ensures what is coming from our office – and most offices – is the professionally accepted standard.
  • A.P. Style makes life easier for writers/editors. There are fewer full-time journalists today than in many years, and they are being asked to do more with less. So why make it tougher on them by providing content that will have to be re-written or hacked apart in order to meet their guidelines? Taking the time to get it right the first time will lead to greater distribution of your content.

So keep the Stylebook nearby, or even use that new-fangled online version. And remember, “internet” is now lowercase in all references (question #1 on the quiz for my students this fall).


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