WSU News follows the AP Stylebook in most circumstances. AP Stylebooks are available through the WSU Bookstore and Amazon.com. AP also sells an online version for an annual fee.
A solid knowledge of AP style will avoid most rewrite problems.
A style guide has been set up to assist in writing news releases. View the links below to find the style to help in writing your news release.
Washington State University should be spelled out in the initial reference and WSU should be used in all subsequent references, including "boilerplate” paragraphs included at the end of releases to provide general information about urban campuses, colleges, etc. Please note that this applies to the initial reference to specific campuses, such as Washington State University Tri-Cities., etc.
Academic degrees should not be abbreviated, as in "B.A. degree,” "Ph.d,” etc., but spelled out, as in "bachelor’s degree, "master’s,” or "doctorate.” Also note that the WSU News continues to adhere to AP Style guidelines allowing use of the title "Dr.” only in reference to a licensed Doctor of Medicine. If you are using the title in reference to a person who is a licensed physician, please make a note of that fact at the time the release is forwarded to the WSU News.
Readability studies have shown that capital letters slow readers; this pause gives them the opportunity to exit the story - the more capitals, the more opportunities to leave. Primarily for this reason, WSU News attempts to downplay capitalization while adhering to AP style.
Attribute direct quotes using the word "said” (past tense), rather than words like "says,” "commented” or "opioned.”
Note that time and day of events should be listed in that order (e.g.: at 3 p.m. Nov. 15). All months should be abbreviated as per AP Style. It is not necessary to indicate the day of the week (Thursday). Also, unless there is some reason to believe it may result in confusion, there is no need to indicate the year.
Ensure phone numbers in the body of the release follow standard format xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Place e-mail and URL hyperlinks at the end of the story, rather than in the body of the news story, if possible. Note that hyperlinks in e-mail releases remain active only if the recipient’s e-mail program accepts e-mail in HTML format. Hyperlinks do not remain active in programs receiving e-mail in plain text mode. URLs and hyperlinked URLs should be checked before inclusion in the release to ensure that they are correct and active. Also note that URL addresses are usually case sensitive and should not be provided in all caps.
Do not use italics. Note that italicized letters will revert to normal font in plain text formatting. Note also that AP Style calls for the use of quotation marks around the names of all works of composition except the Bible and books that are primarily catalog references.
These paragraphs usually are placed at the end of the news release. You can use the media advisory or note to editors to let media representatives know if there are interview or photo opportunities, if they need to RSVP, etc. Note that media and editor note paragraphs should begin Media Advisory: or Note to Editors: and not Editor’s Note:, which is used to denote a comment from the editor of a publication.
When available, send pictures in JPG or TIFF format with 300 dpi as an attachment with the e-mailed release. Pictures will be posted online with the release and made available to the media should they be requested. Note that most print media require digital images to be 300 dpi, whereas images posted online are typically only 72 dpi, which is not usually considered print production quality.
Quotations should be set out as separate paragraphs, rather than started within the body of a paragraph. All quotes should be attributed to a specific individual. Lengthy quotes may be broken into two or more separate paragraphs, but the closing quotation mark should not be used in any paragraph that ends with a direct quote that is continued in the subsequent paragraph.
Unless another release date is specified, the WSU News typically distributes news releases on the day they are received. However, in certain instances – particularly when releases are received late in the day or on a Friday afternoon – the WSU News will delay release until the next full working day. This is done primarily to ensure that the release receives better attention from editors and reporters. If you are forwarding a release late in the day that must necessarily be distributed on that day, please provide that information in the e-mail to which the release is attached.
The WSU News issues releases on virtually all topics related to the university and the broader university community. It should be remembered, however, that these releases are intended primarily for external audiences and that the purpose is to create media interest and coverage. Topics that are unlikely to be of interest to the media, such as reports of events that have already transpired or otherwise provide little or no opportunity for media representatives to attend, conduct interviews or ask follow-up questions should be avoided.
Avoid using superscript (34th). Note that MS Word Autocorrect options default to superscript with ordinals with two separate settings, which can both be re-set. (Tools; Autocorrect Options; Autoformat; uncheck Ordinals (1st) with superscript and Tools; Autocorrect Options; Autoformat as you type; uncheck Ordinals (1st) with superscript).
Turn off Track Changes if it has been used in drafting your release before sending the release to the News.