Dear AP Stylebook

Dear 2007 AP Stylebook,

I was really worried that I’d lost you there for a second. You weren’t in my messenger bag or visible on my bookshelf, but luckily I found you. It’s not that I needed you immediately, but I like knowing where to find you. Sure, I had the 2006 AP Stylebook in front of me, but what if I had needed to know about the African Union, Asperger’s syndrome or Islamic holy days? I’d have been screwed. What if I had used “Baghdad, Iraq” in a dateline? I’d have looked quite silly.

I received you at Dow Jones training in May 2008. I was thrilled to have a NEW stylebook of my very own, and immediately wrote my name and phone number inside you in pen. I got to use you immediately during training, looking up all sorts of random stuff. Your sports section was quickly dog-eared, mainly because I always forget whether end zone is one word or two (it’s two).

While I mostly used the in-house stylebooks in Indianapolis and Columbus, you were always in my bag (along with my wallet, keys, phone, a snack and a bottle of soda). It was nice knowing you were there when I needed you. You also helped me out quite a bit when I edited at the Kansan. I remember at least one incident where, without you, Sarah Palin would have hailed from Wasilla, Ala(bama). And that time I pulled a stock-market crash headline out of my rear, your business section came through in the clutch.

My mother knows I use you, but I don’t think she really understands how. When I asked her if she’d seen you, she said no but she was “sure” you’d “turn up.” Luckily your spine is kind of hard to miss.

Sadly, you’re getting out of date, and I’ll eventually have to shelve you with your older brother and go for the sexy younger man — the 2009 AP Stylebook. Don’t worry, though. I think I’ll donate you to the journalism department at my old high school. You can help younger journalists appreciate the delicate mechanics of AP style. Hell, when I was 15 and in my first journalism class, I heard “style” and pictured stories in cocktail dresses and tuxedos.

You’ve been a good friend, and whatever happens next, we had a good run.




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