Why journalists use AP style

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We are beginners in the journalism world. As students we are just learning about AP style, and it's importance to the journalism world. What is the Associated Press style? We have heard Professor Brian Steffen preach and rejoice the AP style handbook that he had his students purchase at the beginning of the semester, but do we really understand it's importance to us as future journalists?

AP style shows journalists what are the correct ways to write.. It shows the correct ways to write dates, punctuation, titles, addresses, and much more. Why is it so important for journalists to write in this certain way? It is necessary because it could set you apart from being a glamorous front page story, to the stories that never are looked at. AP style is the standard for print journalism, and if you choose to never learn the fundamentals it could cost you your dream job.

Learning AP style can be time consuming and confusing, but will be a great investment for your future career in journalism. It's not even something that you have to memorize. The AP style handbook was created for journalists who are working with a tight deadline, so was created in order to be easy to use.

To help with having to reference to the AP style handbook every time you write a story, memorizing a few important and reoccurring elements of the style would be helpful. Elements such as: titles (names, book, songs, and films), dates, quotations, numbers, and addresses. When you become really good with the handbook you can even go online and take the AP style quiz.

Therefore next time a professor tells you to use AP style, or takes off because you didn't use it properly, don't get upset. He or she is just preparing you so that one day when you get a job in journalism you are more then prepared for what is expected from your future boss.

Photo credit: George Kelly, Flickr


Kimberly Kurimski February 21, 2011 at 1:42 PM  

I have found the AP Stylebook to be my best friend in this class. There isn't a single paper or blog I turn in without consulting it. I know it has all the answers. I find myself reading the newspaper questioning if everything is sited correctly. One time I even got my book out and double checked to make sure it was edited correct.

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