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Monday, March 04, 2013

Students: Here's a Little Known Way to Edit a Press Release

Are you currently a communications student learning to write for the media?  If so, your professor has most likely schooled you on the style guidelines of the Associated Press (AP).  The AP means to keep your writing consistent by following rules for both word spelling and story structuring.  These rules can be found in the AP Stylebook, an essential guide for beginner journalism and PR writers.  Because AP writing often differs from the grammar rules taught in grade school, many new writers use the book for guidance on a regular basis, which can be time consuming. 

Fortunately, Equiom Linguistics Lab has released a plug-in proofreading software program called AP StyleGuard.  In a similar fashion to Microsoft Word, AP StyleGuard edits your story for you.  However, instead of following traditional grammar rules, the program edits your paper using spelling, usage and punctuation found in the AP Stylebook.

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“We are so grateful to AP Stylebook fans for their invaluable feedback on StyleGuard.  They took an already good product and made it better by offering suggestions on how StyleGuard could help them more with their writing and editing,” said the AP Stylebook product manager, Colleen Newvine.

AP StyleGuard works by installing itself into Microsoft Word where it can be enabled or disabled.  While you are typing, it will highlight the text where you failed to follow AP guidance and offer suggestions to fix it.  For example, if you were to type out the number five as “5” in a sentence (example: “There were 5 people in the room”), StyleGuard will suggest that you spell out numbers one through nine in these cases.  Additionally, the plug-in will update regularly to match changes in the AP Stylebook.

The AP StyleGuard is a useful tool when writing press releases or news stories.  Users can subscribe and download the plug-in here.