After a while every newsroom develops style guidelines for writing about places, people, and things. But what is a stylebook and why do reports need one? In my introduction to journalism class we spoke about the usefulness of “The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law”.
What is “The Associated Press Style”?
The Associated Press (AP) style is merely a standardized way of writing everything from addresses to numbers to titles. Editors and reporters use the AP Stylebook as a guide to practices and principles of reporting and as a guide to capitalization and punctuation. The AP Stylebook is used a by reporters, broadcasters, magazines, and public relations companies in the United States. It shows journalists what are the correct options to write.
AP style was developed by The Associated Press, which is the world´s oldest news service. This service provides national and international stories, graphics and photos to more than 15,000 news outlets all around the world. The AP stylebook is used by the majority of newspapers in the United States, but some newsrooms use other stylebooks. If you start with your reporter career you should start with the AP stylebook.
Why do reporters need a stylebook?
Do reporters really need a guideline to write? I think it is really useful for them to have a uniform guideline, because they do not have the time and energy to figure out their own complete guide to the English language. This means it is just easier for the reporters to use the AP stylebook to have a proven and professional official guide. So when they are unsure about usage, grammar, or names they do not have to discuss about each small item.
To take everything into consideration, I can say that the use of a stylebook is a really good gold standard for the journalists. It is necessary for journalists to write in this certain way, because it could set you apart from being a brilliant front page story, to the stories that never are looked at.
A hint for using the AP stylebook is that you should not read the book in the true sense of the word, but scan and think over it. It is advisable to read those sections that catch your eye and those topics that give you the most trouble. Additionally it would be helpful to memorize a few important elements of the style.
Test yourself if you are an AP style professional and take the AP style quiz.