A colleague at UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication passed along the following e-mail earlier this week:
I have a goofy question, but I’ve been searching for a while and come up with no answer so I decided to consult the “journalism style guys” — that’s you. When writing the name of a blog, do you italicize it, like the name of a book, newspaper or magazine? Or is there another way of punctuating it?
Once again, we are in “it depends” territory. There is no right or wrong here, but it’s a good idea to consider how to handle names of blogs if they appear frequently in your writing.
The AP stylebook, which is what many of us “style guys” in the news business use, doesn’t offer specific guidance on what to do with blog titles.
Under “composition titles,” AP likes quotation marks around the names of movies, TV shows, songs, poems and most books. Exceptions include the Bible and reference works such as Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft.
AP doesn’t like quotation marks around names of newspapers and magazines, and it has never been fond of italics for anything. “AP does not italicize words in news stories,” the latest edition of the stylebook says.
To my eye, a blog shares more similarities with magazines and newspapers than it does with books or movies. I’d simply capitalize the name, like so: “Talking Points Memo was selected as the best blog of 2009.”
You are welcome, of course, to go with a style that may be more appropriate to your audience. For example, some music magazines put album titles in italics and names of individual songs in quote marks, a device that signals to the reader which is which.
As John McIntyre of You Don’t Say recently pointed out, AP is not the only style in town. The important thing to do is to select a style and then use it, along with common sense.