THE WEEKLY GRIND: Style, Schmyle

It’s safe to say all of us editors at The Ramapo News are pretty nerdy. (Sorry guys.) Some of us geek out over computers and cameras (ahem, Steve), and others are snobs about Adobe software (the designers, of course). As for the rest of us, we’re pretty weird when it comes to words.

Actually, I shouldn’t limit it to just words. We’re sticklers for style-AP Style, that is. As journalists, we’ve come to live by the rules outlined in our stylebooks and that have been almost engraved into our brains by our professors and bosses. This is not to say that we know all there is about AP Style-we’re always yelling out our questions to each other in the hopes of saving ourselves a trip to the bookshelf to consult the manual-but I think we have a good handle on newspaper writing and the strange set of guidelines that go along with it.

We get so into style that we often discuss it at times when it is not necessary. Frequent topics of conversation in our newsroom (even when we’re not producing the news) include the merit of Oxford commas, the correct amount of space (one tap or two?) in between sentences and how ugly-but proper-using a lowercase letter looks to begin the second part of a hyphenated word. Thrilling subjects, I know.

Some of us…okay, all of us…get so worked up in taking sides and fighting for our positions that at the end of the debate, we can’t even remember what the correct style is or the verdict we’ve reached on the issue. Not that it really matters, anyway, except in our own small sphere. We get so heated and involved talking about grammar and style that I wonder what would happen if we put our minds to working out a larger, global issue. Could we change the world? I’d like to think so, given our track record and experience with punctuation problems.

Nevertheless, with all of our dialogue on AP Style and the like, we still manage to buck tradition-accidentally, of course-from time to time on the web or in our pages. We tend to make these mistakes as the clock ticks on into the wee hours of Thursday morning as we’re finalizing our print issue each week. Let me just apologize now, as editor, for all of our past and future errors, and here’s to hoping that we have very few going forward.

If you catch a mistake on our part, feel free to bring it to our attention. We’ll check it out and fix it if necessary. You know how to reach us!

That’s all the news for now-Nicole