Applying the Rules

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After reading the hand out on the AP style tips, I realized there had been a lot of information that I had assumed was correct for news writing just because it was correct for writing else where (such as English papers). One that I really crashed and burned on with the obituary was the rule "Do not include 'Dr.' as part of a faculty member's name" (2). I had never even considered that this would be a point that I would need to edit.

 With these rules, I feel more confident about writng a news article. I feel like I have more direction to what detail I need to pay attention to. Now that I have read these rules, I'll probably pay close attention to my own writing, even if it's not for News Writing.

Here's what I found wrong with the examples on the course page (or at least what I thought was wrong):

1. Assistant News Editor, Anne O'Nymous read the article.

            The comma should be taken out between Editor and Anne. I still think this sentence looks funny so there might be something else wrong with it.

2. She was highly appreciated by Jameson for solving the problem. "I really appreciate her work ethic and problem-solving ability," said Jameson.

            The whole first sentence isn't necessary because it is telling. The quote shows he obviously appreciated her abilities.

3.Spunky Inkworthy has only written for The Setonian this year, but Obituaries Editor, Lazarus O'Mortigan, was very complimentary towards Spunky's contributions.

            Either say "the obituaries editor" and use lowercase for obituaries and editor or take out the comma between Editor and Lazarus if you are using it as a title. Once again, I still think it looks funny.

4. In a telephone call from Head Librarian Marian Paroo, she discussed Inkworthy's contributions.

          I don't really know if you should keep "Head Librarian" capitalized or not. It looks like it's being used as a title, however I would just rewrite the whole sentence completely to look like "Marian Paroo, the head librarian, discussed Inkworthy's contributions in a telephone call."

5. "Here is a quote", said Bill Jones freshman.

            I would move the "freshman" to go before "Bill Jones" so it reads "said freshman Bill Jones".


That's what I could figure out from the rules and the examples. Let me know what you think!





Jeanine O'Neal said:

I agree with you about the 'Dr." rule. I think, if someone worked their butt off to get their doctorate, the least you could do is write Dr. in front of their name.

My aunt has a doctorate in biology. So she is Dr. Mellissa O'Neal (not her real name for confidentialities sake). At church, they list the names of people who donate during the Lenten Appeal time. Well, her name was listed as Miss Mellissa O'Neal while Dr. Spockton was given his title. It made her mad because she worked long and hard for that doctorate.

That's really inconsiderate, giving one person a title but not to someone else.

Part of the issue in journalism is concern for the slippery slope. If you credit everyone who has a Ph.D, what about everyone who has an MFA (the highest rank that you can get in some fields, such as creative writing or studio art). And who's to say that someone with an MFA didn't work as hard as someone who has a law degree? And on, and on.

The AP drew a line in the sand.

Individual papers can choose to use a different set of rules if they wish, but anyone who wants to be a professioal writer should be familiar with the AP guidelines. More important, anyone who wants to work with words should be familiar with the process of asking questions about whether a particular detail or method is right for a given audience, and taking proper steps to find an authoritative answer.

Good job, Katie, expressing your feelings as you learn the importance of questioning practices that feel natural to you.

Angela Palumbo said:

Good job, Katie. You've started a good conversation here.

I feel the same way as Jeanine. If I worked that hard, I'd want to be recognized for it. However, DR. Jerz, I can see what you mean about drawing "a line in the sand." People with say masters degrees would naturally jealous and would feel left out, I'm sure, if their qualifications were left off.

I guess we're all a little biased because we deal with people who have doctorate degrees on the regular basis. We see their abilities to present information and respect their knowledge. Therefore, it is important to us to pay respects to that level of education in our articles. But don't forget that we can still do this by saying something like "Joseph Higgins, an associate professor of psychology, said..." This way everyone knows that Higgins is involved in educating young minds, therefore, he holds some sort of qualification that allows him to do so.

Newswriting is a new world to me, too, so I can relate to your getting used to all these rules. I think we're so used to being formal with our professors and calling them "Dr." that we forget sometimes that outside of a formal classroom setting they don't always get referred to by those kinds of titles. Perhaps that's also why you think it looks weird when you put a formal title in front of someone's name. I agree that it seems strange to put the name of someone's job in front of their name and capitalize it like you would Mr., Ms., or Dr. But newswriting seems to have a whole set of funky rules and ways of doing things that are relatively unique. You usually don't refer to people by the name of their jobs in other kinds of writing, so it looks a little wonky if you're a first-time newswriter. That rule is very specific to the needs of a journalist. I guess it just saves time that way, instead of saying "Marian Paroo is the head librarian," or whatever.

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Matt Henderson on Applying the Rules : Newswriting is a new world to
Angela Palumbo on Applying the Rules : Good job, Katie. You've start
Dennis G. Jerz on Applying the Rules : That's really inconsiderate, g
Jeanine O'Neal on Applying the Rules : I agree with you about the 'Dr