How AP came up with guidelines for food writers

American Journalism Review |

When he became Associated Press food editor six years ago, J.M. Hirsch was surprised that there were no guidelines for commonly used food terms. He was trying to find a spelling for bok choy, the white-stemmed Chinese cabbage, only to find that there were five or six to choose from. So he started keeping a list of terms he had looked up, and the spellings he used, to stay consistent from week to week. Earlier this month, the AP added a 16-page food section to its Stylebook. Jeffrey Benzing writes:

Food writers looking for guidelines previously had to go with their gut ―and still will for thousands of food terms that didn't make the cut. But the addition of a food section now gives writers a place to turn for a quick reference. Hirsch says this is useful for general assignment writers who might not have a background in food―and it's also useful for food bloggers looking to post professional quality writing.

> "Originally, I was just aiming to make my life easier"

> Interview with J.M. Hirsch -- AP's food editor and a dad who cooks

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


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