Last week, journalists reacting to the Associated Press’s announcement
that it would replace “Web site” with “website” in the AP Stylebook
pushed the phrase “AP Stylebook” onto Twitter’s trending topics list.
(FWIW, OJR’s style for the past several years has been to use
Most journalists approved of the news, though a few
skeptics, such as the University of Florida’s Mindy McAdams, demurred.
Though I disagree with her on this, I loved the snark of her Twitter
response: “Everyone but me is cheering AP style change to website. I
think it resembles parasite.”
I jumped in with this: “If you’re publishing online, Google style (i.e. SEO) always trumps AP style.”
And… “Really, j-schools need to ditch AP style and start teaching their students SEO instead. More valuable to their careers.”
SEO will help you gain new readers online. AP style will not. If need
new readers to make money, then SEO will help you more than AP style.
That’s it. It’s just the reality of publishing online today. You can
either adapt and accommodate it, or shake your fist at it and resist.
I don’t see the need to “ditch” AP style so long as most newspapers are still using it. Newspapers, we will have with us for many, many, many years, and as much as I long for the future when you can jack the paper into your head like the Matrix, we’re not there yet, and we do kids a disservice by saying X is more valuable than Y when Y is gonna be around for the first 25 years of their careers. And longer than that, if the owners of media companies pull their heads out of their asses.
(I’m not betting on it, don’t worry.)