Tag Archives: AP Style

Franco Celebrates National Punctuation Day


Today is National Punctuation Day, and since punctuation is PR’s middle name – Hello, my name is… Public Punctuation Relations – the Franco team decided it would only be right to give our two cents.

So, after a bit of research on how to celebrate National Punctuation day we came up with three questions to impart on our fellow Franconians:

  1. What are your punctuation pet peeves?
  2. What’s your favorite punctuation and why?
  3. What are the most-common punctuation mistakes you see on a daily basis?

Here are some of their responses:

What are your punctuation pet peeves?

“My biggest pet peeve is when people don’t know the difference between there, they’re and their!”

Elizabeth Robbins-Sabourin, Account Manager

There, Their, They're

“The usual…there, their and they’re; you, your and you’re; two, to and too. I can’t take it when people don’t know how to use apostrophes.”

Ann Marie Fortunate, Account Supervisor


“Multiple exclamation points at the end of a sentence. One exclamation is sufficient enough to portray your excitement.”

Andrea Kenski, Senior Account Executive

hate

“When people constantly use the Oxford comma. Just got done editing some web content and had to take out like a million of them… Unnecessary!”

Dan Horn, Senior Account Executive

“I really dislike the Oxford comma. I think extra commas are silly, outdated and unnecessary.”

Tina Kozak, President

 

What’s your favorite punctuation and why?

“The em dash – one of my personal favorite punctuation marks – is a great way to draw attention to an aside in your sentence. (If you’re trying to make the information you’re inserting less disruptive to the flow of your narrative, parentheses work better.)”

John Mozena, APR, Account Manager

“Commas – they help break up a sentence. There’s nothing worse than a run-on sentence.”

Joe Ferlito, Account Manager

“When it comes to social, the em dash reigns supreme. It can add pause and drama to your copy – ultimately making it more effective. It also doesn’t hurt that it only takes up one character!”

Alex Fulbright, Digital Marketing Specialist

 

What are the most-common punctuation mistakes you see on a daily basis?

“Grammar typos because people rely solely on spellcheck instead of reading.”

Joe Ferlito, Account Manager

“On Twitter, too many people sacrifice punctuation on the altar of 140 characters. However, missing punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence where simply abbreviating a word would not.”

John Mozena, APR, Account Manager

 

Chime in with your punctuation hang-ups, faux pas and most common fails in the comments section.

Taking the leap from journalism to PR: 4 tips that translate

Photo by sskennel

Everyone finds his or her own path to the PR world. For me, the road was winding. My career began not in public relations like many of my co-workers here at Franco Public Relations Group, but in journalism.

I found my way into the public relations field after more than a decade of covering news and entertainment here in Detroit. Over the years I worked with talented PR pros both locally and nationally and more than a few suggested I try my hand at public relations.

In 2009, I finally took that leap and joined my first agency. Not a day goes by that I don’t still use the skills I learned in journalism school and mastered in the newspaper business. Four of the skills that translate into the day-to-day work we do in public relations include:

  • Master the art of writing – Strong writing skills will take you far in any career, but they are especially important when communicating with reporters, drafting press releases and sharing your clients’ visions clearly and concisely with the appropriate audience.
  • Research and interview like a pro – In PR it is crucial that you gain the trust of your clients and the media, and that you are proficient in seeking out the most newsworthy information to promote. A good reporter has honed these skills by researching and interviewing trustworthy sources. A smart PR pro knows how to use them to her advantage.
  • Be a walking AP Style guide – Editing copy is just as important as writing it. In PR you’ll be expected to know AP Style as well as any reporter. By creating media materials with all of the elements a reporter needs, written in a style adopted by the industry itself, you’ll have an important edge over the competition.
  • Deal with deadlines and switching gears – In the agency world you could be answering one client’s question one minute, posting to a social media site for another client the next and pitching the media on behalf of a third client just seconds later. You have to know how to balance and complete multiple tasks on tight deadlines and with finesse. Having a reporter’s background can help. When you’re used to finishing multiple stories on the fly and finding the appropriate sources at a moment’s notice, the busiest PR circumstances are much more manageable.

Those are just a few of the ways my reporting background serves me well in business. Can you think of other skills that translate from journalism to PR? We’d love to hear about them. Share your thoughts in our comments section.

Stephanie Angelyn Casola still carries a reporter’s notebook. She is a senior account executive at Franco PR Group. Reach out to her at casola@franco.com, @StephCasola on Twitter or Facebook.com/StephanieAngelynCasola. Call 313.567.5048.

Stop double spacing. Period

Photograph by Waikay Lau (Flickr.com/seychelles88)

A long argument that I’ve had with other PR professionals is whether or not to double space after periods. By my writing, you can clearly tell which side of the debate I’m on. But others insist that two spaces after a period is the way to go.

In the latest round of heckling, I sent a colleague this instant message: “Double    spacing     is     old    school.     Please    stop    doing    it…..” to which she replied “L o n g    l i v e    t h e    d o u b l e    s p a c e.”

Of course, we go back and forth on this all the time and it’s in good fun, but going through documents and removing double spaces is much less of a joy.

The “double-spacers” haven’t been able to give me a good argument as to why their way is correct, other than “it’s tradition” or “that’s how I learned to type in high school,” so I’ll lay out a few reasons why single spacing after a period is the new age of typing and should be adopted by all PR professionals moving forward.

Double spacing was invented for typewriters

Early typewriters used monospaced fonts where each character took up the same amount of horizontal space. The “two spaces after a period” rule was adopted specifically for these fonts because it helped to visually separate sentences. Now, we use computers and most fonts are proportional fonts that assign horizontal space based on the size of the letter – “M” and “W” are wider than “I” and “J” – which makes the typeface inherently easier to read. With modern technology, double spacing is no longer necessary. It actually looks like a typing error rather than a style.

The AP Stylebook says so

Page 334 of my 2004 AP Stylebook (I know, it’s time to update it) and Franco’s current subscription to www.apstylebook.com both clearly state “SPACING: Use a single space after a period at the end of a sentence.”

There you have it, a few solid reasons why single spacing after periods is correct. If you are a double-spacer, I encourage you to try to break the habit. If you’re like my colleague who will probably continue double spacing regardless of this blog post, I challenge you to give me a few solid reasons why your way is better.

Joe Ferlito is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5031 or ferlito@franco.com.