The Associated Press Stylebook is the Bible for American journalists and publicists. It is the fundamental guide for grammar, punctuation, principles and practices of journalism writing and reporting.
Book editors master the Chicago Manual of Style, and some of us have been fortunate enough to learn both.
Learning the individual quirks of these style guides can be daunting, but it’s essential to know the ABCs and the XYZs with your peers and the industry. In fact, our founder, Donna Michaels, has her original AP Stylebook circa 1980 and arms all her employees with their own copies. Over the years, the AP Stylebook has added .com, popular slang and socially-correct guidelines but for the most part grammar, style and punctuation remain unchanged. The key chapters in the Stylebook are Business Guidelines, Sports Guidelines and Style, Guide to Punctuation, Briefing on Media Law, Photo Captions, and Editing Marks.
The AP Stylebook was first published in 1953. For many years it was titled The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual. In 2000, the guide was renamed The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. In recent years, the title used on the cover has been simplified to The Associated Press Stylebook.
Regardless of the title, the AP Stylebook is as classic as the Betty Crocker Cookbook, but with the garnish of Julie Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Move over AP, there’s a new cook in the news room and it’s Yahoo!
Yahoo has released “The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World.” The guide is not intended to replace the AP Stylebook, but instead serve as a guide for good writing, both online and off. According to the Yahoo! Style Guide the hyphen in email goes away. Similarly, the AP recommends the phrase “smart phone,” while Yahoo! says that’s just one word, and so on.
Yahoo’s guide also offers lots of practical advice and articles about issues, such as how to appeal to an online audience, making your site accessible to those with disabilities, search engine optimization, creating content for mobile devices and what makes a strong headline.
In our opinion, the new Yahoo! Style Guide is a good addition to mastering the AP Stylebook, but is not a replacement. To test your AP Style IQ, go to http://www.newsroom101.com/NR_exercises/AP1/.