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Friday Find: AP Sept. 11 Style and Reference Guide

This isn’t a fun find, but it’s an important one.

Within a few weeks, we’ll commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Perhaps you are planning to write about the anniversary. Perhaps you’ve already written something and are waiting to post or publish it.

As I learned from the Nieman Journalism Lab this week:

To assist its members as they create that coverage, the Associated Press just released a style and reference guide whose content is dedicated to 9/11. It includes terms like “airline, airlines” (“Capitalize airlines, air lines and airways when used as part of a proper airline name. American Airlines, United Airlines”); “ground zero” (lower-case), “acceptable term for the World Trade Center site”; and names like “Osama bin Laden” (“use bin Laden in all references except at the start of a sentence…. Pronounced oh-SAH’-muh bin LAH’-din”).

The guide is intriguing — not only as a useful tool for the many journalists who will be, in some way or another, writing about 9/11 over the next few weeks, but also as a hint at what a Stylebook can be when it’s thought of not just as a book, but as a resource more broadly. AP’s guide (official name: “Sept. 11 Style and Reference Guide”) is a kind of situational stylebook, an ad hoc amalgam of information that will be useful for a particular set of stories, within a particular span of time.

It’s intriguing, all right. It’s remarkable. Go take a look.

And then, go have a good, safe weekend. See you back here on Monday.

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