Articles about "style guide"


WaPo’s new publisher has ditched the BlackBerry

Fred Ryan is now an iPhone guy.

“What you may have heard is I’m so clumsy typing with my thumbs that I held on to my BlackBerry,” The Washington Post’s new publisher said in a phone call. These days, “I am purely iPhone — and, of course, Fire Phone,” he said, referring to the handset recently launched by Post owner Jeff Bezos’ other company, Amazon. (“You need to order one!” he said.)

As in previous interviews about his new job, Ryan, who previously was CEO and president of Politico and COO and president of the Allbritton Communications Company, declined to outline a specific strategy for how the Post would make money as print revenue declines and digital ad revenue fails to fill the gap. “I have not gone through the ad split or seen the specific numbers,” Ryan said.… Read more

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New York Times Executive Editor

NYT’s use of ‘illegal immigrant’ fell in 2013

The New York Times has opened Alexis Lloyd’s Chronicle tool to the public. Chronicle elegantly visualizes how often words and terms have appeared in the Times since 1851.

As an example, here’s how Lincoln, Roosevelt and Clinton came in and out of the news over the last 160+ years:

The tool is also handy for tracking language and style changes over time. Here’s a graph of the terms “illegal immigrant” and “undocumented”:

Last year, use of “undocumented” spiked and use of “illegal immigrant” fell sharply. That correlates with the Times’ April 2013 decision to tweak its style on the term “illegal immigrant.”

At the time, Associate Managing Editor for Standards Philip Corbett said some people “view the term as loaded or offensive.” Meanwhile, Corbett wrote, “undocumented” is “preferred by many immigrants and their advocates, but it has a flavor of euphemism and should be used with caution outside quotations.” It seems to have become more common in the Times anyway.… Read more

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AP: Lowercase ‘bitcoin’

AP issued an update to its stylebook Monday, including its much bruited change to “more than/over.” The whole update has some interesting stuff, including a ruling on something that’s vexed me before:

bitcoin
A digital currency created and exchanged independent of banks or governments. The currency can be converted into cash when deposited into accounts at prices set in online trading. Lowercase in all uses.

Earlier, AP said to capitalize “bitcoin” as “a concept.”

Other stuff: “LGBT” is acceptable on first reference, “selfie” is now in the Stylebook, and you conjugate “dis” thusly:

dis, dissing, dissed

And here’s the “more than/over” guidance:

more than, over
Acceptable in all uses to indicate greater numerical value. Salaries went up more than $20 a week. Salaries went up over $20 a week.

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Could the term ‘undocumented American’ catch on with news organizations?

In the comments section of Jose Antonio Vargas’ 2012 Time article about the term “illegal immigrant,” a reader with the handle “Calipenguin” voiced a concern: “People like Vargas are trying to re-invent the English language to ‘soften’ the image of illegal aliens so that one day we can refer to them as ‘undocumented Americans.’ ”

Hey, Calipenguin, did you catch “Good Morning America” Tuesday? “A group called Define American has unveiled a new immigration symbol along with a video of undocumented Americans reciting the Pledge of Allegiance,” the morning show reported in a brief segment.

“Good Morning America” spokesperson Heather Riley tells Poynter via email the show “didn’t use that term in an editorial way, we were explaining the term that a group of people used to describe themselves.” Via email, Vargas, who founded Define American, tells Poynter he’s fine with that: “GMA and ABC News simply used the term to describe people,” he writes, noting the show didn’t put quotation marks around it on the Web.… Read more

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NPR Headquarters

NPR will use term ‘Obamacare’ less

Maynard Institute | Associated Press
NPR standards editor Stuart Seidel asked reporters and editors to “avoid overusing ‘Obamacare’” after the Maynard Institute’s Richard Prince wrote him saying “the term can no longer be defended as neutral.”

Seidel’s memo, Prince writes, says:

“‘Obamacare’ seems to be straddling somewhere between being a politically-charged term and an accepted part of the vernacular.

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Journalists declare war…on ellipses

Slate

The job description of the ellipsis has changed, Matthew J.X. Malady writes. His emails, his text messages…full of three-point shots. Clay Shirky hypothesizes to him that “people are trying to use alphabets like we’re talking, and it’s … hard. So we reach for the ellipsis.”

Awl Editor Choire Sicha tells Malady he’s defeated his own overuse of ellipses, retraining himself to “send emails in complete sentences, with proper punctuation, like an adult person.”

At The Washington Post, using fewer ellipses is now an institutional imperative, judging by a July 17 memo from Managing Editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz and Multiplatform Editor Jesse Lewis. “We’ve noticed an overuse of the ellipsis recently,” they write.… Read more

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Style guide aims to make it easier to cover stories like Plan B

When news broke that the Obama administration had abandoned its effort to maintain age restrictions on a form of emergency contraception called Plan B, Monte Morin described the medication using dispassionate and clear language:

Plan B One-Step, like the related two-pill Plan B, uses the synthetic hormone levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy by blocking ovulation and impeding the mobility of sperm. Neither Plan B nor Plan B One-Step causes an abortion, nor does either harm a fetus.

Emotions run high around any news involving contraception or abortion, and news organizations do themselves and their audiences a real service when they deliver news in a fashion that allows readers to focus on the content of their stories rather than on how they’re presented.

That’s one reason why the Women’s Media Center’s newish “Media Guide to Covering Reproductive Issues” by Sarah Erdreich is an interesting read for anyone covering stories like Plan B.… Read more

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San Francisco Chronicle changes style on ‘illegal immigrant’

The San Francisco Chronicle changed its style on “illegal immigrant” Monday. It’s the latest of several publications to reconsider the term.

The newspaper’s new style will “essentially match” the Associated Press’ style on the term, David Steinberg, copy desk chief at the Chronicle, said in an email to Poynter.

Chronicle journalists are now advised not to refer to a person as “illegal” or as an “alien;” instead, “illegal” should only be used in describing the means by which they entered the country, and only with proper attribution.… Read more

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Timeline shows changes to AP style

Journalism in the Americas

“Ms.” arrived in 1980. “Illegal immigrant” entered in 2004 (and left this year). The hyphen in “e-mail” left the building in March 2011.

Zach Dyer catalogs these and other changes to the AP Stylebook since 1980 in a nifty interactive timeline. The news collective’s process for changing style is “fairly democratic,” he reports after a conversation with AP Deputy Standards Editor David Minthorn:

For a more controversial term, like “illegal immigrant,” Minthorn said the organization considered feedback from its editors, some of who cover immigration, and took a vote. “It wasn’t unanimous but there was a strong majority,” he observed.

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AP changes style on ‘underway’: Copy editors react

Two days after changing its style on the term “illegal immigrant,” the Associated Press issued a Stylebook update that’s significant but in a much quieter way:

underway
One word in all uses.

OK, it’s a big deal mostly to copy editors, many of whom have spent a good part of their professional lives jamming a space into “underway.”

Here’s the old listing:

under way Two words in virtually all uses: The project is under way. The naval maneuvers are under way.

One word only when used as an adjective before a noun in a nautical sense: an underway flotilla.

I surveyed a few copy-editing icons on whether the AP switch would occasion one at their organizations: … Read more

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