I am curious (Chicago)

by andybechtel

As an American journalist, I have used the Associated Press Stylebook throughout my career. I’ve found it be a helpful resource on matters of grammar punctuation, word choice and other matters of usage.

I’ve used other stylebooks on occasion, too. When I was in graduate school writing a thesis on a media law topic, I used The Bluebook. More recently, I used the Los Angeles Times stylebook when I worked there during the summer of 2008.

I’ve suggested a “style smackdown” between AP editors and their counterparts from the Chicago Manual of Style at the 2012 ACES conference, which will take place in New Orleans. I’ve since revised that to a “style lovefest” in order to make such a session seem less adversarial. But the idea is the same: Get editors from several stylebooks together for a discussion about what they do and how they do it.

In the meantime, I am contemplating branching out in my style knowledge. Yes, I am style-curious.

I mentioned this weekend on Twitter that one of my goals for the summer is to try to learn Chicago style. Here are some of the reactions there:

  • OH, IS THAT ALL? Should only take a minute or two. (Recommend signing up for online access. Easy-peasy.)
  •  Give up now. The numbers section alone goes from 8.1-8.80.
  • At least it’s logical to ex-journos, unlike APA, where you don’t capitalize book or article titles.
  • It’s a little rough at first, but eventually you become bilingual. Then again, I was only fluent in Chicago 14.
  • CMS made easy: Yes to serial comma; no to spaces around em dashes.
  • Very cool!
My goal is not to become an expert in Chicago style or even fluent in it. I want to know enough to satisfy my curiosity — and so I can ask intelligent questions at a style lovefest, should one take place at the next ACES conference. Let’s hope that happens.
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