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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Why Authors & Bloggers Should Read the Associated Press Stylebook


                                             

Today’s writer, more than ever, needs to know about so many things.  Of course they need to be knowledgeable of the subject matter they write on, but they also need to know about styles of journalism, entertainment law, core things about government, finance, and culture, editing, and all things Internet.  How does one keep up and know how things are supposed to be stated properly?

One of the best resources for a writer is The Associated Press Stylebook.  Millions of copies have been sold of the industry’s best-selling reference book.  It’s essential for authors, bloggers, journalists, editors, and anyone who has to communicate with the public.

Even seasoned writers and veteran journalists would benefit from a refresher.  The 2019 edition is out. Its 639 pages can be helpful for those seeking guidelines on:

·         How to refer to certain groups or organizations or classes of people.
·         How to evaluate reliable sources.
·         What to look for in poll data.
·         How to cover issues in science, health, and businesses.
·         Reporting about social media.
·         What you need to know about religion, sports and fashion.

The two more important sections revolve around media law and standards of journalism.  Since so many of us step into a public realm to pen our words and share them via social media, we are all becoming a part of the media.  We may not be CNN or The Washington Post, but we do impact others and influence public debate.  We must be responsible.

In the section on media law, we learn about things like use of confidential sources, defamation, privacy copyright infringement, the First Amendment, and the legal principles of news gathering.  This is useful to today’s author, blogger, and writer because the laws have evolved over the years and new technologies have come into play.  But the thing for the modern writer to be aware of is that he or she plays a role in today’s gathering and sharing of information.  There are responsibilities, ethics, and legal constraints that go along with the power of writing.

Lastly, I liked the section about AP’s statement of news values and principles.  It discussed so many issues that confront the media – clearly identifying advertising, plagiarism, anonymous sources, paid news sources, conflicts of interest, political activities of the staff, data representations, propaganda, obscenities, privacy, and on and on.  There are so many ethical dilemmas when it comes to how news is gathered and disseminated.  It’s nice to know that the AP, with over 170 years of experience, has some standards worth following.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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