In PR and journalism, we hold each other to a code. It’s not a secret handshake, invisible ink or Bat Signal. Oh no, we nerds like to think it’s far cooler.
Two words: AP Style.
The Associated Press developed the Golden Rule of writing and grammar for journalism and public relations. It governs everything from sentence structure to how many spaces surround an ellipses. (One space on either side of the ellipses, in case you’re dying to know.)
We’ve pored through that style guide, memorized it and marked up many a news release to remove the loathed Oxford comma.
But, like everything else in our industry, the AP Stylebook makes annual changes to its rules. Now don’t get us wrong. We LOVE staying on the cutting edge of trends, tools and opportunities. Something new to explore? Sign us up! But there are two AP Style rules that have been feathers in every journalist’s cap, the hill on which they’ll die.
And recently, both rules changed. Cue a writers’ riot.
- The Percent Sign. Historically, AP Style religiously mandated that you spell out the percent sign, as the “%” symbol did not always translate between AP and newspaper computers, according to ProofReadNow.com. (Isn’t there an app for that?) For example, “This year, 100 percent of Clairemont employees ate peanut butter pretzels.” (True statement. Small addiction here.) Now, AP accepts the symbol, as in “At Clairemont 100% of the employees think this rule is a tad bogus.”
- More than vs. Over. Put up your dukes, people. This is a big one with AP Style OGs. When showing an amount greater than another amount, AP Style used to dictate the use of “more than,” such as “Cherith ate more than 7,000 peanut butter pretzels this year.” The word “over” was reserved for a physical position, such as “The light bulb dangled precariously over Cherith’s head.” Makes perfect sense. Now? AP Style accepts “over” in place of “more than.” I’m so over this.
Other general and miscellaneous AP rules?
- The plural of “emoji” is “emoji.” Which can actually come in handy when your mother sends you texts comprised of nothing but emojis … er–emoji.
- There’s a rule for quoting hashtags. “#NoLikeReally”
- Use “canning jar” instead of “Mason jar.” Well. Thank God someone finally addressed this journalistic crisis. We could see it now: masses of Martha Stewart followers storming the streets, aprons flying, spatulas brandishing, because NOT ALL CANNING JARS ARE MASON JARS. Serious business.
All in all, we take our work very seriously when it comes to accuracy … but perhaps not-so-seriously when it comes to a sense of fun and play. The 100% perfect mix.
See some of our writing fun in action!
Cover image from APStylebook Instagram account.