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Archive for the ‘Style’ Category

AP style change

Posted by kathyspurlock on April 16, 2010

The Associated Press is changing its style from “Web site” to “website” to reflect increasingly common usage.

The change is effective at 3 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 17.

A new entry on website has been added to the AP Stylebook Online and will be included in the updated text version, the 2010 AP Stylebook, which will be published next month.

The entry says:

Website: A location on the World Wide Web that maintains one or more pages at a specific address. Also, webcam, webcast and webmaster. But as a short form and in terms with separate words, the Web, Web page and Web feed.

The AP


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You can quote me on this….

Posted by kathyspurlock on March 22, 2010

A note from Town Talk Executive Editor Paul Carty:


We continue to see headlines on the Web site with this incorrect punctuation:

‘Our time to shine:’ Cities rely on festivals to grow, pull in dollars

The closing quote mark should be inside the colon:

‘Our time to shine’: Cities rely on festivals to grow, pull in dollars

Please remind staffers and include this in the CPC blog.

Thanks. … pc

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Dateline Monroe

Posted by kathyspurlock on March 18, 2010

In proofing, I’ve noticed quite a few incorrect datelines lately, particularly on sports and local pages.

The AP Stylebook carries a list of the cities for which no state is required in a dateline. But the editing error I’ve seen most often is the style rule that cities within a state do not carry a state name.

Now, The AP includes a state name for Louisiana towns and cities because the wire goes beyond our borders. We get to edit the “La” out of datelines for all Louisiana cities.

Please watch for those “La” notations and hit delete, delete, delete!

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It’s not an opinion … it’s a style for opinions

Posted by JeffB65 on February 6, 2010

The following is from Cynthia Jardon, The Town Talk’s editorial page editor, in regards to their editorial page styles. Please keep this in mind as you are proofing, editing or building these pages. Thanks.

  • All columns are ragged right on Town Talk OPED pages.
  • Views from Elsewhere, Our View and Letters are not.

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Keeping tabs on the census

Posted by JeffB65 on February 2, 2010

Census is a word that’s going to start showing up in copy and on pages a lot this year. Unfortunately, it’s often improperly capitalized when it shouldn’t be.

According to AP style, the word should be capitalized only in specific references to the U.S. Census Bureau. Lowercase it other uses: The census data was released Tuesday.

And on the same topic, if you are working with content and need to check facts, go the Census Web site. There are lots of specific reference materials, including downloadable maps.

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From the breakfast table

Posted by JeffB65 on January 22, 2010

The following is from Alan Lazarus, former managing editor of The Times ….

Regarding repetitive cutlines:

1. Both cutlines on 11A of The Times Jan. 13 said: “The largest earthquake ever recorded in the area rocked Haiti on Tuesday.”

2.  Two cutlines on 14A of Jan 13 said “has closed the business after 77 years of operation.”  (One had his instead of the.)

Strangely, the headline had “80 years” and the lead had “almost 80 years.”

(It’s so much easier editing from the breakfast table!)


It’s easier to see things from Laz’s position, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be giving each item he mentions the proper attention when we are placing it on the page or proofing the page. Watch for numbers when you are proofing and make sure they match across the board in presentation. If they are in the head, are they supported in the story. If they are in the caption, are they supported in the story. Cross-check and double-check should be the action prompted by any number in a headline or caption.

And the repetitive captions, I’ ve covered before. Look at them closely and make sure they aren’t the same as any other on the page. Take time and make each one special.


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Are temperatures getting colder … or lower?

Posted by JeffB65 on January 5, 2010

Town Talk Editor Paul Carty reminds us:

“AP style on temperatures is getting higher and lower, not warmer and colder. We’re all over the map on this one.”

He’s correct. If you turn to page 269 of the 2009 version of AP Stylebook, there is an extensive listing on temperatures (page 238 of the 2007 version and I’m sure it exists in other versions as well … just look for temperatures entry). The specific example that he’s referring to follows:

Temperatures get higher or lower, but they don’t get warmer or cooler.

Wrong: Temperatures are expected to warm up in the area Friday.

Right: Temperatures are expected to rise in the area Friday.

We will probably be seeing a lot of weather stories in the next few days about temperatures going one way or the other, so please keep an eye out for it in your copy on your pages or on pages you are proofing.

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Credit where it’s due

Posted by JeffB65 on January 5, 2010

Tony in Lafayette recently sent an updated Lafayette Local Style guide that included the new ways they are handling photo credits. If you are working on these pages or proofing them, you should review this. It has also been updated in the online version of the style guide on the BOOK OF LAFAYETTE page.


(Advertiser photo credit style for live photos)

P.C. Piazza/ppiazza@theadvertiser.com
The Associated Press

(Advertiser photo credit style for file photos)

Advertiser file photo/P.C. Piazza
AP file photo
GNS file photo

(For Gannett Louisiana contributors in LAF)

Freddie Herpin/(Opelousas) Daily World
Val Horvath/The (Shreveport) Times

(Daily World photo credit style for live photos)

Photo by Freddie Herpin
AP photo
Daily World file photo by Freddie Herpin

(For Gannett Louisiana contributors in OPE)
Photo by P.C. Piazza/For the Daily World

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Three steps to better copy reading

Posted by kathyspurlock on December 29, 2009

As I proof pages in the Content Production Center, I often see issues that should be caught by copy editors before the proofing stage.

So, I’m not assuming everybody knows how to read copy. Here’s a quick guide:

1. Read the content as a reader. Does everything make sense? Is it free of jargon, slang and “insider” talk? Do you understand the story? I’ve always imagined my grandmother sitting at her breakfast table with the newspaper — would she understand this story? 

2. Read the content as an editor. Correct errors in spelling, AP style and grammar.

3. Read the story one more time for both content and context. You should be using active spell check, and check spellings. Also check every name to make sure the first reference to someone didn’t get edited out in the editing process.

If you do these three things with every story before you proof it, your pages will be much cleaner and you’ll have fewer errors.

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Tips from Ben

Posted by kathyspurlock on November 30, 2009

Ben Kelly of The Clarion-Ledger provided some excellent training for the CPC staff recently. Here are some useful web sites he included in his presentation:

• The Slot:


CJR’s Language Corner


• Guide to Grammar and Style


• Common English errors


• The Cliché Finder



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