Posts Tagged ‘AP Style Changes’


The 2014 AP Stylebook Is Out – Here’s Why PR Pros Should Pay Attention

Thursday, May 29th, 2014


It’s that time of year again: your AP Stylebook is out of date. That’s because yesterday the 2014 Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law made its spiral-bound way into the world. This year’s edition features about 200 new additions and/or revisions, and adds an entire chapter with “more than 200 religion terms.” [Per what may be this year’s most controversial revision, the AP wrote “over 200 terms,” as the title, but it looks like they decided to toe the old-school “more than” line in their press release.]

Over the past few months, they’ve alerted us to the newest revisions: there was the aforementioned “over/more than” debacle; state names should now be spelled out instead of abbreviated in the body of a story; and it is now “Wal-Mart” in all instances.

We’ve written about media styles (and using AP style in the digital age) before, but it’s worth revisiting why the AP Stylebook is so important for public relations professionals.

Following AP style makes you look like you care

When a reporter clicks on your press release, his or her attention is yours to lose, and typos or incorrectly capitalized words make that release easy to ignore. Here’s what Dan Friedman, a journalist and my dad, has to say about that: “I get so many press releases that they’re like sitting ducks; if you make your press release easy to ignore or delete, it makes my day go that much quicker. But the clean, nicely done press releases I get are so compelling that sometimes I can’t say no.”

Following AP style rules (like most journalists do) makes it clear that you care about the English language, which in turn makes you look smart and shows you care about your readers.

Journalists will be more likely to give you a chance

You want to be known in the newsroom, but not as the flack who send press releases that require heavy editing. Sending clean news releases that adhere to AP style makes journalists much more likely to read your release without feeling itchy inside. That will, in turn, make them more amenable to working with you. That doesn’t mean that one AP-style news release will get you a mention, but consistent good writing can only help your cause.

It will improve your writing

Following AP style will improve your writing both in and out of press releases. Referring to the AP Stylebook as you write means you’ll be paying more attention to your writing, which can only improve it. Familiarizing yourself with AP style and adhering to it means you’ll also be on the lookout in your colleagues’ writing, which will also make you a better editor.

It’s true that I have a soft spot for both grammar and AP Stylebook (they don’t call me @ellisredpen for nothing), but I’ve also been a journalist and am the offspring of two of them, so I know of what I speak.  Remember: friends don’t let friends capitalize job titles when they appear after a person’s name.

It’s In the Stars: Your Public Relations Horoscope

Monday, April 28th, 2014
by NASA Goddard Space Center on flickr under CC BY

by NASA Goddard Space Center on flickr under CC BY

In lieu of a crystal ball, we’ve consulted the BurrellesLuce “stars” to share what the month of May may have in store for you.

Find your birth month below and share the link with your peers so you’re all “aligned” in May.

January

This is the month to buckle down and start figuring out just what the heck people mean by social media ROI (hint: it’s sort of a misnomer. ROI is a financial figure) and what your metrics and methods are or should be.

February

Knowledge of the recent changes in the AP Stylebook – and an appropriate opinion thereof – can score points in your favor. A journalist who doesn’t have to go in and replace state abbreviations with full state names is a happy journalist.

March

You might be attending a panel, conference, or webinar coming up this month, and you’re in the mood to learn, so if someone tells you something basic like “know your audience” one more time, you might feel the need to deck them with your iPad. But stay patient and listen closely; there are always new things to learn, and buried in the repeated tropes and truisms of the trade will be a piece of advice that could really elevate your practice.

April

This is your month to revamp your social media swagger and take a broom to all your profiles and tinker with SEO and your images. Don’t go overboard with your makeover efforts, though – if you change too much, you’ll alienate a few key brand advocates.

May

You’ve got a lot of prep to do for a looming event or deadline, so hop to it this month. Sit down in a quiet place, put on your mood music, and get to work. But don’t forget to make time to party like you’re one year older.

June

You may be a networking master or shudder at the mere mention of networking, but either way, it’s the month to get yourself out there, so do your awesome but in-a-lull self a favor and attend a couple networking functions this month.

July
Focus on getting through your ever-growing to-do list.  It’s time to change up your productivity habits. Maximize your spring fever by taking some work outside. You’ll feel energized and reap the professional rewards.

August

Get back in touch with an old professional acquaintance this month. You may get not only an entertaining, nostalgic lunch or phone call, but also the chance to help or be helped by your friend. S/he may even let slip a key piece of industry gossip that will shed new light on things.

September

The extra work from clients and colleagues getting ready for summer vacation may be harshing your to-do list mellow, but a little extra planning and a happy hour or two will keep you on top of it. If you’re going on holiday take a cue and start planning ahead. If you’re not getting out of dodge for a few days, maybe you should, and if you can’t, consider a one- or two-day staycation.

October

Man, all these new apps and social media platforms you can barely keep track of make you feel old. So in May, put a little special time in to personal and professional self-improvement. Take a few minutes to find out what all that chatter about SnapChat is about, or learn just what the heck WeChat is anyway.

November

Remember that crisis communications plan you had? Yeah, it’s time to dust that off and review it again. If you just implemented a new or updated plan, consider trotting it out for a dress rehearsal. Don’t brush aside that absolute worst case scenario that has a miniscule chance of ever occurring – if you can think it, it can happen, unless it involves Godzilla (but maybe zombies; that could happen).

December

It might seem like a lot of people are asking you for things. So this month focus on selectively saying no. Some people might not take your polite and reasonable “no” very well, but that’s their problem, not yours. Just don’t get overzealous with your refusals; there are some things that just can’t be refused.