What PR Writers REALLY Need to Know About AP Style

In my PR Writing courses that I’ve taught over the years, it seems as though the biggest struggle for the students is writing using Associated Press style.

To help combat this, I sought feedback from a variety of public relations practitioners and faculty members, trying to come up with a list of what PR writers REALLY need to know (cold, without even looking in the AP Stylebook) about AP Style. The most helpful advice came from colleagues on PR OpenMic, a new social network for PR students, faculty and practitioners. (See the individual responses I received in the PR OpenMic PR Writing Discussion Forum.)

The most important (and sometimes confusing) parts of AP Style for PR writers are:

  • dates (especially when to abbreviate)
  • addresses (especially when to abbreviate)
  • names (when to use titles, etc.)
  • numerals (when to spell out, when to use digits)
  • datelines (which cities need to be identified with their states)

Many PR writers can also benefit from brushing up on standard grammar. My favorite site for general grammar advice is Mignon Fogarty’s Grammar Girl. Consider subscribing to Grammar Girl’s podcast through iTunes.

Additionally, I found several websites that help my students with AP Style: see http://del.icio.us/listeningmatters/APStyle.


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