Speaking of totally geeky things to do ("geeky" as in "absolutely awesome"), the folks at @APStylebook organized a Twitter chat this week on religion writing style. With the hashtag #APStyleChat, the discussion featured guest expert Rachel Zoll, The Associated Press' national religion writer. AP's Colleen Newvine described the chat this way:
People sometimes call AP Stylebook the journalist's bible, but today we're hosting a Twitter chat on actual religion.
Your friendly neighborhood GetReligionistas were, of course, curious about the chat and followed it as closely as possible while busy solving other world problems. (A side note: The official @APStylebook Twitter page, which has about 122,000 followers, is different from the unofficial @FakeAPStylebook Twitter page, which has nearly 300,000 followers and takes a, hmmmm, tad more irreverent view of journalistic style issues.)
You can check out the entire chat here, but I wanted to highlight a few of the style guidelines advised:
Those all seem like logical, straightforward approaches. The notion of asking a group to define itself fits with GetReligion's general mantra that reporters should afford religious people the opportunity to explain what they believe and characterize themselves. On the Mormon item, I recall writing a story one time in which I inadvertently capitalized the "Day" after "Latter." I was quickly corrected by someone who knew better. Evidently, the capitalized "Day" has a specific meaning.
From 1,300 miles away, I am almost certain I heard Terry Mattingly yelling "Amen!" after that tweet.
Finally, there was this style recommendation:
That note prompted this response from one chat participant (a dude with 138,681 tweets to his credit as of this moment... WOW!):
Weird, huh? Actually, I've always kind of thought that myself. I don't know that I've ever interviewed someone who referred to a priest as "the Reverend" instead of "Father," so I wonder why the AP Stylebook recommends that approach (not that the full response would fit in the 140 characters allowed by a tweet). I know that some newspapers veer from that specific AP style as a means of ensuring consistent language in the story text and direct quotes (by calling a priest "Father" in both instances).
What say you, GetReligion readers? Do you agree with the AP style on priests or have any insight on the proper usage? Any comments or questions related to the other style questions that were addressed?
By the way, if you're not already following @getreligion on Twitter, why not?