With Professor Jeffrey Basinger


Quick update on First Story?

Advice for top marks on your grade:
1. Check spelling, punctuation, grammar, use AP STYLE.
2. Have at LEAST 1 original interview to add value to story.
3. Attribute correctly. Every piece of information should be attributed to the source of that information.
4. Content and story hard news value.
5. Usage of inverted pyramid.
6. Strong headline and powerful lede.
7. Use the “Writing” chapter in the textbook as a guide.


What is the AP Style?

Why do we use it?

(Every Newsroom has their own style and standards… but AP Style is the industry baseline.)

Why do we, as adults, care about spelling, grammar, punctuation, and style standards?

Importance to journalists: Uniformity and consistency in reporting. 

Importance in sports: “…let’s also not be naive: understanding key terms and their proper spelling remains essential for all who seek to become a professional in any sports media field.” – Sportswriter Tommy Deas

Importance in PR and Marketing: “we’re all seeking positive news coverage to help tell our story and generate increased name recognition, it makes sense to use every possible tool to achieve that goal. Learning more about AP style could mean the difference between the media reading your press releases or tossing them in the garbage.” – Public Relations Expert Lisa Goldsberry


Spell out months, unless using a specific date:
Back in October, Mary had a little lamb.
On Oct. 10, 2021, Mary had a little lamb.” 

Don’t use colons for times on the hour.
3 p.m.
8:30 a.m.

Quick Quiz – Fix this sentence:

Beyonce’s Renaissance World Tour starts at 5:00 PM on January 25, 2023.



Updates including anti-vaxxer (no longer acceptable to use the term); antiviral, antivirus; epidemic, pandemic, endemic; superspreader; vaccine, vaccination.

Specific coronavirus terminology

“The word coronavirus refers to a family of viruses, but in AP style writing it’s okay for writers to use the term to specifically refer to the virus causing the current pandemic. Although this incorrectly implies the present coronavirus is the only one, readers will understand your intended meaning. 

The term COVID-19 refers to the illness caused by the coronavirus and should be used in that context. For example, you could say ‘coronavirus spreads through the air, and my cousin is recovering from COVID-19.’

Always capitalize all letters in COVID-19.” 

Race-related coverage and capitalizing Black. 

Words added to the Stylebook and how to write them: “Indigenous; brown; people of color; BIPOC; slaves, enslaved people; Black Lives Matter; Juneteenth”

“The term Black should be capitalized when used in a racial, ethnic, or cultural context. The Associated Press says it made this update because many people who identify as Black share a sense of history, identity and community and have a shared experience of being discriminated against because of skin color.

AP’s style is to use a lowercase “w” when writing the term white in a racial sense. The Associated Press writes that it is because white people are not systemically discriminated against due to skin color and don’t share the same history and culture globally.”

New Asian American Related References

“Although the acronym AAPI is widely used within Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, the Associated Press says writers should still spell out the entire term, only using the acronym in direct quotes.”

Writing about disabilities

+Only mention a disability if it’s relevant to the story and either a medical diagnosis has been made

+It’s best to ask people with disabilities how they prefer to be described. (“woman who is deaf” vs. “deaf woman”)

+Avoid the terms handicap and handicapped when referring to a disability or a person.

+Avoid using disability-related words. For example, don’t refer to a situation as psychotic, a plan as moronic, or use the expression “she turned a blind eye.”


Quick Quiz – Fix this sentence:

The covid-19 pandemic had a disproportionate affect on black communities as compared with white communities. 


(The styles to memorize…)

A job title is only capitalized if it comes before a name, and only if it’s a formal job title (as opposed to a job description):

  AP Style Adventure Time

  Princess Bubblegum 

  Marceline the vampire queen. 


Numbers are written out if less than 10, and numerals if 10 or more.

  AP Style Futurama: Bender has three beers. The Professor has 20 lengths of assorted wire. 


  Ages have their own rules? Always use numerals, adding hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun.

  • Bojack is 55 years old. (Bojack is 55.)
  • Princess Carolyn’s business is only 2 years old.
  • The 35-year-old Diane was writing a book.
  • The book is for 9-year-olds.
  • A range of ages is written without an apostrophe (The woman is in her 30s.)

Among and Between

Use between when talking about two items, among when referencing more than two.

  • Tina couldn’t decide between Louise and Gene.
  • Bob and Linda divided the burgers among their three children.

Because and Since

Because denotes a specific cause and effect. Since is used casually when the first event in a sequence led logically to the second but was not its direct cause.

  • Daenerys can tame dragons because of her heritage.
  • Jon Snow went North since he had few other options.

Directions and Regions

Lowercase words like north, west, northeast, etc. when giving directions, but capitalize them when describing a region.

  • Head northeast for five minutes and you’ll see the yellow sign.
  • The thunderstorms are moving from the Midwest to the East Coast.
  • I really like her Northeastern Dothraki accent.


Used to mean one or the other, not both.

  • Correct: She liked either dress for the wedding.
  • Incorrect: She preferred the dress with bows on either side.
    • Correct: She preferred the dress with bows on both sides.
    • Correct: She preferred the dress with bows on each side.

Quick Quiz – Fix this sentence:

Chief of police Jerry Seinfeld, announced today that sixty year old ice cream truck driver Cosmo Kramer robbed a bank in the North East of Portland. 


Accept vs. Except

Often confused when used as verbs, accept means to receive, while except means to exclude.

I accept the invitation.

Everyone’s invited except me.

Affect vs. Effect

However, affect means to influence, while effectmeans to cause. Effect as a noun means result.

This affects the outcome.

What is the effect of this outcome?

Further vs. Farther 

Farther describes physical distance. Further refers to an extension of time or degree.

  • That restaurant is farther than I wanted to drive today.
  • He will look further into the problem.

Trademarked Names

Lots of words we use in everyday language are actually trademarked brand names that need to be capitalized. Common examples include Band-Aid, Breathalyzer, Bubble Wrap, Clorox, Solo cup, Jacuzzi, Plexiglas, Post-it Notes, Q-tips, AstroTurf, and Vaseline.

Quick Quiz – Fix this sentence:

Tom Hanks excepted the deal with chapstick, positively effecting his bank account.

And… more… 

Here are some common style issues in sports …

Do not capitalize names of sports, their competitive level (varsity, junior varsity, etc.) or specific positions

  varsity basketball, quarterback

When referring to a gender-specific sport, do not use apostrophe.

   girls field hockey, boys tennis

Use numerals for records and scores but not necessarily points.

   The team, now 7-3, won 51-48 after scoring three points in the final six seconds.

Note unusual style for rankings:

   The team was No. 1 (NOT number one); No. 1 Garfield beat No. 6 Roosevelt; first-place team

Freshman vs. Freshmen      

    When referring to the team, it should be singular. If you are talking about several players, it should be freshmen. The freshman football team was undefeated. Six varsity players are freshmen.

Halftime, not half time or half-time


Playoff is a noun. Play off is a verb.

Postseason, preseason, no hyphen

Semifinal, Not semi-final

Put the winning score first.

In a 55-54 loss to Hendrickson…
The Cougars bounced back with a 66-61 win over Vista Ridge…



Quick Quiz – Fix this sentence:

The freshmen men’s basketball team won 80-81 in a dramatic post season showdown. 

And… even more… 


Always lowercase spring, summer, fall and winter unless they are part of a title.

  • I cannot wait for fall to arrive.

  • My favorite season is spring.

  • Are you going to the Winter Carnival?

  • Did you watch the Summer Olympics?

That vs. Which

That and which are used to refer to inanimate objects and animals without a name. That is used for essential clauses that are necessary for the sentence to have meaning, while which is for nonessential clauses. Which clauses are ALWAYS surrounded by commas. If you can drop the clause without losing the meaning of the sentence, use which and put it in commas.

  • Do you remember the song that we danced to at our wedding?

  • The animals, which were just sleeping a few minutes ago, are running wild.

    • Without the which clause, the sentence becomes “The animals are running wild,” which still makes sense.

    • Use who for people.


Myriad is not followed by of. The myriad books on the shelf are overwhelming. She has myriad shoes in her closet.

All right.

Never alright.

There’s plenty more… That’s why you have a book as a reference!


IN TEAMS – Fix this report:


A group of nine year old children, that were playing soccer in a field behind there school, say they witnessed a hit and run on September 22, 2022.

The adolescence, all members of the midwest girls’ soccer team, we’re participating in a pre-season scrimmage, when loud crash interrupted there game.

“I turned and saw a car hitting another car, and then the first car took off that way,” said Team captain Jessica Sunflower. 

“I almost peed my pants,” Jessica continued.

Police arrived at the scene only 2 minutes after one of the children called nine-one-one. 

Farther down the road to the Northwest, another car was sideswiped, police said.

“It may very well be the same driver,” Andrew McMuffin, a police detective, hypothesized. 

The team, back on the field after covid-19 protocols kept them a part for 2 years, opens their Fall season with a home game this Friday.

“Hopefully we don’t have anymore distractions so we can get ready for the game,” Sunflower said. 


Keep working on your story!
Read it over before you turn it in.
Make it shine!