The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Columns

May 3, 2014

Some changes are just style over substance

Many of us who toil day after dogged day at our nation’s newspapers to do the work of the angels — informing a grateful public all about what we think it should know — have a profound interest in two books that have stood the test of time.

One revered book has been hallowed for generations, is filled with strict guidelines concerning what is expected of us each day and with admonitions against straying from the wise lessons set down in chapter and verse.

The other book is the Bible.

Unbeknownst to most people who read newspapers — and may their progeny be blessed — reporters and particularly copy editors have through the decades been guided by the tenets of The Associated Press Stylebook.

This tome has frequently been referred to as the newspaperman’s bible because it references word usage that might not be found in the dictionary — precisely Webster’s New World College Dictionary, which for some reason is the only one to have been given the Stylebook’s seal of approval.

As an example, you may have noticed that I capitalized “Bible” in the third paragraph, yet lower-cased it in two paragraphs later.

Well, the Stylebook made me do it that way.

“Capitalize, without quotation marks, when referring to the Scriptures in the Old Testament or the New Testament,” it says, not brooking any argument over the matter. It goes on.

“Lowercase biblical in all uses. Lowercase bible as a nonreligious term: ‘My dictionary is my bible.’”

If I were to stray from that or any other Stylebook policy, presumably the ground would swallow me up and I would descend into Hades where demons would tear at my entrails.

Since I’m quite fond of my entrails, I don’t often stray from Stylebook dogma.

Unless, of course, those Stylebook stormtroopers get ridiculous, as they have done recently, to the outrage of all guardians of the (American version of) the English language.

Text Only
Big Chuck D'Imperio
Cary Brunswick

Chuck Pinkey
Guest Column

Lisa Miller

Mark Simonson

Rick Brockway

Sam Pollak
William Masters
  • Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues

    As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.

    September 18, 2012

  • Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner

    An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.

    September 4, 2012

  • Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity

    Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.

    August 21, 2012

  • Romney shows little regard for common man

    The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.

    August 7, 2012

  • Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists

    The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.

    July 24, 2012

Additional Content
Join the Debate
Helium
Additional Resources
CNHI News Service
Poll

Is Israel justified to conduct its military campaign against the Hamas in Gaza?

Yes
No
Undecided/no opinion
     View Results