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View Full Version : Quick rant. "It's AP Style!"



Bartholomew
04-02-2008, 08:38 PM
I got passed over for a position as copy editor because one of my competitors claimed to have read the AP style book, front to back.

Now--let's be clear. The newspaper I'm working for follows AP style loosely at best. They have several rules that fly in the face of AP style, and of good grammar in general.

For instance, the Editor in Chief firmly believes that the word "That" can be deleted anywhere. When she edits, she does a find-replace and aces the word. It gets deleted from direct quotes, from every single construction--etc. I know the word can be superfluous in many cases---but in others, you need it. How the hell can she argue otherwise!?

The second atrocity she holds dear is He or She. And really, that isn't so bad.

But if a sentence said, "The students love their classes," -- she replaces it with, "The students love his or her classes." Which is completely barbaric, wrong, and makes the entire paper look illiterate.

I confronted her about this--mostly because several mistakes had been edited into the last edition of the paper. [I]everything.[/U]] When I brought it up, she told me, "It's AP style. Journalistic writing is different. You have to get used to it."

Passive sentences are journalistic style? The AP style book really tells people to use incorrect grammar?

Madre de die arschlecker...

Now about the guy who claims he read the AP style-book end to end----is it just me, or is that like reading the entire dictionary? Or the entire phone book? Reference material is supposed to be for reference. Right?

AUGH. K. I'm done.

I'm less frustrated about not getting the copy editor position than I am about the EiC's views on grammar.

And if anyone thinks I'm being non-objective, cruise over to The Campus Ledger Online (http://students.jccc.net/ledger/) and see if you can't find a few glaring errors in any given story.

DWSTXS
04-02-2008, 08:49 PM
"THAT is entirely ridiculous!" he or she said.

Storm Dream
04-02-2008, 09:34 PM
Ew, Bart, sorry you have to deal with that. My college campus had a pretty inept editor -- I couldn't work with her and quit after a week. It wasn't over AP, though...just her general stupidity.

And it sounds like your editor needs a good smack across the head. Journalistic writing IS different in many cases, but The students love his or her classes is just painfully, utterly wrong.

OMG, I could send some hate mail... "I'm a copy editor and WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?"

Joycecwilliams
04-02-2008, 09:40 PM
The paper I work for always uses his or her. Also passive sentences are a definate no no in writing for newspapers.

The AP style is not as big as a dictionary.. It is the size of a standard hardback.

You haven't been working for them that long have you?

Julie Worth
04-02-2008, 09:41 PM
For instance, the Editor in Chief firmly believes that the word "That" can be deleted anywhere. When she edits, she does a find-replace and aces the word. It gets deleted from direct quotes, from every single construction--etc. I know the word can be superfluous in many cases---but in others, you need it. How the hell can she argue otherwise!?

Does she firmly believe the word should be removed from direct quotes, or is she lazy and doesn't know an easy method for isolating the quoted material? If it's the latter, you could amaze her with your brilliance.

gettingby
04-02-2008, 09:43 PM
There are good editors and bad editors out there. It looks like you are talking about a college newspaper. So I am guessing your editor is another student. Try not to let it bother you. If you go on to work in newspapers other editors will drive you crazy for other reasons. However, it is not uncommon to read the AP Style book cover to cover. I did it in J-school. It was the only way to pass AP tests. And those tests don't stop in college. Most newspapers give tests to applicants they are thinking about hiring.

Namatu
04-03-2008, 01:51 AM
He or she may read the AP Style book, but does he or she remember its contents in their entirety? That, my friend, is what an index is for.

My sympathies.

Bartholomew
04-03-2008, 11:50 AM
Wow. I just found out the Editor in Chief is resigning. The position is open, and several faculty members have suggested I apply.

I think I'm going to. Wish me luck.

Horseshoes
04-03-2008, 12:06 PM
OK, way different now that I'm not going to suggest you consider editing your OP to say "there's just this one frustrating thing" (what you mentioned) but in general (insert many wonderful things about EiC) in preparation for the Campus Ledger oncoming flood of bad-heorshe-use complaint letters (from your trusty AWers backing you up.

Now, go read the AP book, consider a long range view for the paper, what else can you do for it, all the cool prep you'll do for the interview and very best of luck in getting the job.

And until she goes, my condolences for them taking Rainman over you. Were I on the board picking the new copy editor...sorry, Rainman, Bart can write and find stories and is great to work w/ and...

WriterGirl2007
04-04-2008, 03:40 AM
Wow! Awful! And she thinks it should be "students love his or her classes?" That's just grammatically wrong! It's either "student loves his classes" (or her classes) or "students love their classes." Yuck!

Anyway, I once had an editor think I was wrong because I stuck *strictly* to AP Style. She kept changing how I did numbers, even though they followed AP Style directly.

Lesson: Editors are quirky. Find out what your editor likes and then follow it for the best results. ;-)

Mr. Fix
04-04-2008, 03:54 AM
'AP' Appallingly Pathetic.

Now I know why I hate reading so many newspapers.
:tongue

Bartholomew
04-04-2008, 06:57 AM
I'm in a Win-Win situation. The only other person who applied for Editor in Chief was a good friend of mine.

We agreed to make one another editors regardless of who wins.

I'd say wish me luck, but I think I already have it.

##

The interview was a cinch though. I honestly think they'll hire me.