A new Twitter list for #highered news junkies

Are you interested in getting the latest news from journalists and news outlets that specialize in higher education? If so, I’ve got a list for you. Continue reading “A new Twitter list for #highered news junkies”


Writing about research: The story’s the thing

howresearche-800x533Even those of us who spend our days trying to promote the research and scholarly work of our faculty and students sometimes forget that communicating research is about more than regurgitating data and numbers. It’s about telling the story of research in a way that captures and holds the attention of our audiences. Continue reading “Writing about research: The story’s the thing”

Friday Five: Good reads about #branding

Embed from Getty Images

Happy New Fiscal Year, folks! And Happy Canada Day to our friends to the north. Beyond my summer reading, which has little direct connection with the work I do, I’ve been trying to soak in some new insights about branding by reading articles on the subject. Here are a few — well, five — recent reads that I found insightful. Maybe you will, too. Continue reading “Friday Five: Good reads about #branding”

The Internet is just the internet now

The Associated Press announced the change from Internet to internet in an April 2 tweet.
The Associated Press announced the change from Internet to internet in an April 2 tweet.

Today is a day of reckoning for all of us who write about the Internet. Because as of today, many publications and news outlets are bringing the Internet down a notch by replacing its capital “I” with a lowercase one.

Say goodbye to the Internet as we’ve known it. Welcome to the internet. Continue reading “The Internet is just the internet now”

The #PR proliferation problem

America now has nearly five PR flacks for every journalist (image via Muck Rack Daily)
America now has nearly five PR flacks for every journalist (image via Muck Rack Daily)

If you work on the media relations side of higher ed communications, you may have noticed that it’s becoming more and more of a challenge to get a journalist’s attention. A recent Muck Rack Daily article may help explain why. Continue reading “The #PR proliferation problem”

Moody’s higher hopes for #highered

What a difference a year has made for higher education.

It was only a year ago — in July 2014 — that credit-rating organization Moody’s Investor Services issued a negative rating for the U.S. higher education sector. Moody’s cited limited growth possibilities for higher education and continuing financial pressures as among the reasons for the grim outlook. Continue reading “Moody’s higher hopes for #highered”

AP style vs. substance

AP StylebooksWhat has gotten into those crusty curmudgeons who edit the Associated Press Stylebook?

For those of you whose own in-house editorial style leans heavily on the AP Stylebook — the self-proclaimed “journalist’s bible” — you may have heard about a couple of big changes to the rules. AP announced them earlier this spring.

They are:

More than vs. over

In March, the editors ruled that the use of over to define quantity is acceptable as a synonym for more than. This change, as Poynter noted, “rock[ed] copy editors to their very cores.”

Prior to the change, over was acceptable only when describing physical proximity. Our plane flew over Kansas on the way to Colorado. Now, over may be used to describe quantity. We have over hundreds in stock.

Nitpicky? Sure. But for those of us reared (not “raised”) on the rules of AP style, this is a significant change. We’ve been replacing “over” with “more than” for years, and some of us took a certain sort of perverse joy by explaining to the edited why “over” was unacceptable. As a colleague told me the other day: “How am I supposed to feel superior to others now?” It’s a dilemma for sure.

As for me, I’m not bothered by this change. “Over” is more economical than “more than,” so it saves space. Five spaces, to be precise. And it saves me the hassle of trying to explain why I took such pains to change a simple word in copy. So, I’m OK with over, even though some aren’t. As for the debate, I’m more than over it.

Spelling out state names

While some of us were still reeling over the AP’s acceptance of over as a synonym for more than, the stylebook editors throw another curve ball just a month later.

In April, AP announced that starting May 1, state names should be spelled out in body copy. Even when following a city. So instead of writing “Rolla, Mo.” (using the antiquated, pre-postal code abbreviation for the state) we’re supposed to write “Rolla, Missouri.”

What the…?

Another arcane AP style rule bites the dust.

As Poynter reported, AP made the change “to be consistent in our style for domestic and international stories. International stories have long spelled out state names in the body of stories.”

I can buy that. We live in and communicate with global audiences. Consistency is good.

But the AP’s historic tendency to favor economy (i.e., shorter is better) falls by the wayside here.

I can live with this style change, too. But I have compassion for those of you in Mississippi and Massachusetts.

* * *

It boils down to this: Language and our use of it evolves. It’s good to see the AP — often considered a dinosaur of journalism and writing — evolving along with it.

Photo: “The old school rules, spiral bound” – by AllaboutGeorge on Flickr