Throughout your education you have probably had MLA style pounded into your head by every teacher and professor you’ve ever come in contact with. So, now that you’ve chose to be a journalist or PR professional, you’re probably wondering why it all has to change. The way I look at it is like this: AP Style serves as a way to make sure that everyone in this profession and those that we have to keep in contact with are speaking the same language.
If you think about it, different writings styles make up the way in which we all communicate with each other and give us a “language” aside from the language in which we speak. Those in the medical and scientific professions use AMA (American Medical Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) Style writing and those that major in English and many other unrelated majors use MLA (Modern Language Assocation), which is probably the most commonly used style of writing. So, it only makes sense that we in the world of journalism and PR have our own language of sorts-Associated Press Style, or APA.
The area of AP Style that I personally find the most challenging would probably be punctuation. It’s not so much the periods, colons, and quotation marks that I have trouble with, but the comma has always been particularly challenging to me. For example, for my entire life I have been told that when writing a sentence such as, “The American flag is red, white and blue,” it is acceptable to put a comma after the word “white.” To be honest, up until a few days ago in class, I thought that putting a comma there was still right. That is until we started marking the 2010 AP Stylebook and realized that now placing a comma there is not acceptable.
At the end of the day, it’s important to keep up with AP Style (which changes every year) if you want to have your work published and know that you’re speaking the same language as your colleagues.