The most important tool in the arsenal of a reporter is not his mind or pen; it is the AP Stylebook.
In the book lie the most important answers to usage, spelling capitalization and punctuation for a reporter or any journo for that matter. To the book, the journo is the slave; the book is its ever-present taskmaster. While some may think that characterization is too harsh, I submit that it is not. Without these rules, there would be no uniformity between papers. Even with the Stylebook there are those weird papers that still use Chicago format or some kind of quazi-mixture of the two.
I was putting together my bookcase, which is filled with some of the most important books to me. I also wanted to clean out the collection and cull some of the unworthy from the collective book herd.
My case has some things one just cannot get rid of easily. If the last name of the author is well-known, it stays.
If I keep the Whitman and the Grisham, I have to keep Carl Hiaasen (my favorite) and Anthony Bourdain.
By the time I weeded may way through the books, I am down to textbooks I used a ton after classes or I couldn’t sell back to the bookstore. A theatre 101 book and a copy of the MLA Handbook seem to be two of just a few that can be gotten rid of.
This brings me back to the AP Stylebook. Should I keep it? It ruled my life; my collective writing abilities (or lack thereof) for years. How do I part ways with something that graced the right hand top corner of my desk? I sat so many Polar Pops and half eaten pieces of pizza on that thing when I couldn’t find a coaster or plate. I have memorized more than half of the book as I look up the differences in words. I even know the difference between sewage and sewerage. They cannot be used interchangeably I might add.
So here it sits next to my Black’s Law Dictionary. One is a new tome that will help me through law school similarly to the Stylebook in undergrad, but it is so different.
One is an old friend; warm and familiar. The other is more sinister; cold and distant.
I think I’ll keep the Stylebook. I think keeping it in its old spot guarding pizza and cokes is the best place for it.
No worries buddy. You’re home.