What is this guide?

At some future date, this style guide will be introduced with a paragraph of florid and pompous bluster enumerating the many virtues of strict adherence to the publishing protocols painstakingly developed to make the writer’s job easier, and their prose more consistent.

For now, just be aware that we generally follow the style guide maintained by the Associated Press. We differ at a few key points, some of which I don’t even think about anymore, but will try to add here as they come to me.

Example: AP Style includes no italics. Because titles of books, works of art, and other elements of writing are greatly clarified or emphasized with ital., we use them as needed. In this distinction, we align more closely with the Chicago Manual of Style. Despite its history of brutally difficult navigation, the guide is a treasure trove of language explanation. I have not explored the online version, but I bet it’s searchable and wicked cool

Another deviation, this time from both AP and Chicago style, is the arts world. The Association of Art Editors has its own style guide, and I believe we’ll use that as our starting point for developing our in-house rules for covering the arts. If it’s not in our style guide, fall back on theirs.

If you happen to be a publishing wonk (like me), and get in the mood to obsess over AP vs. Chicago styles, why not head on over to AP vs. Chicago?

Proper Nouns

We follow AP Style with state abbreviations:

Example: Massachusetts —–> Mass.

Businesses, institutions, and organizations should be identified by their correct, official full names on first reference in body text. Subsequent references can make use of commonly accepted shortened names.

Example: The ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance —–> The ’62 Center
The University of Massachusetts Amherst —–> UMass Amherst

Large organizations and institution may have a style guide of their own that can be extremely useful in determining how to describe buildings, departments, and positions connected to the organization. Submit URLs of such style guides to the Editor-in-Chief (or Managing Editor at such time as that position exists).

Example: https://www.umass.edu/brand/elements/editorial

People should be named by first and last name on first reference. Title or position within an organization should be included on first reference, if relevant.

Example: Emily Williams, Ph.D., Vice President of Academic Affairs at MCLA, says many solutions exist…
…Williams, who spearheaded the program almost five years ago, says that she is pleased with the results.

Witnesses, bystanders, or the “Wo/man on the street” should be named by first and last name and town of residence on first reference. Street identification should only be used if relevant. Subsequent references should include last name only.

Example: Colton Parker, of Clarksburg, says he has no problem with the extraterrestrials taking up residence in the park…
“…As long as they keep coming in to my store for beef jerky and Red Bull every afternoon,” laughed Parker, “I don’t care if they’re from Planet 9 or Uranus.”

Numbers

Numbers zero through ten should be written out in full, in most cases

Don’t start sentences with numerals unless that numeral is a proper noun, and even then, try to rewrite the sentence to avoid it.

Time format: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Note the use of en-dash, rather than hyphen.

Punctuation

Serial (Oxford ) Comma. We use it for reasons of clarity, consistency, and readability.

Note the comma between consistency and and.

Appendix A

State Abbreviations

Thanks to Karen Yin, founder of AP vs. Chicago, for her wisdom.

Observe that two-word abbreviations have no space after the first period; e.g., W.Va. or S.C.

Alabama: Ala.
Alaska: Alaska
Arizona: Ariz.
Arkansas: Ark.
California: Calif.
Colorado: Colo.
Connecticut: Conn.
Delaware: Del.
District of Columbia: District of Columbia
Florida: Fla.
Georgia: Ga.
Hawaii: Hawaii
Idaho: Idaho
Illinois: Ill.
Indiana: Ind.
Iowa: Iowa
Kansas: Kan.
Kentucky: Ky.
Louisiana: La.
Maine: Maine
Maryland: Md.
Massachusetts: Mass.
Michigan: Mich.
Minnesota: Minn.
Mississippi: Miss.
Missouri: Mo.
Montana: Mont.
Nebraska: Neb.
Nevada: Nev.
New Hampshire: N.H.
New Jersey: N.J.
New Mexico: N.M.
New York: N.Y.
North Carolina: N.C.
North Dakota: N.D.
Ohio: Ohio
Oklahoma: Okla.
Oregon: Ore.
Pennsylvania: Pa.
Rhode Island: R.I.
South Carolina: S.C.
South Dakota: S.D.
Tennessee: Tenn.
Texas: Texas
Utah: Utah
Vermont: Vt.
Virginia: Va.
Washington: Wash.
West Virginia: W.Va.
Wisconsin: Wis.
Wyoming: Wyo.