Within this new digital and technological age there is always something new and upcoming that competes with, and some may even argue eclipses and renders obsolete, older models and technology. The Kindle emerged as a new form of the book, the cd emerged as the new form of the tape, etc. However, most of these newer models never completely replace their predecessors. There are always going to be people out there who crave the original. Case in point, a teenager the other day told me that he owns records and that records are making a comeback. In other words, these newer models simply fill niches within the scope of what can be created. They continue to exist alongside their predecessors. Similar to this is the case of ”The Yahoo Style Guide,” as written about in the article prompting this post titled “The Write Stuff” written by Bill Grueskin on the Columbia Journalism Review website http://bit.ly/bVveei.
This style guide is written for the digital age and is attempting to position itself as a comprehensive style guide, although it is geared more towards online publishing. It incorporates elements of the AP Stylebook (in the sense of capitals, etc.), but is mainly focused on educating those publishing online content about how to win over the online reader. Short, simple and consistent is touted over long, complex and laxity. A chart is included to show how online readers’ eyes track across the page and size up elements that lead them to decide whether to click or leave. Tips for how to identify your audience, develop a consistent voice, and drive traffic to your site are also included in this 500 page guide. While it fills in a gap that the AP Stylebook does not cover, its shortcomings render it a counterpart and not a replacement. For example it barely covers legal and ethical issues, which are the most important things to consider. Another downfall the author points out is that it is geared more toward marketing than journalism. However, in an age where more online publishing is occurring I think this is a moot point. Journalists can benefit from search engine optimization just as much as marketers. Basically, it attempts to be comprehensive but does not quite achieve that status. I expect that many people in the communications industry will adopt it as a counterpart. When it comes to writing though, the AP Style Guide will continue to be more revered. Perhaps someday the AP Stylebook and Yahoo can join together and create something truly comprehensive; now that would be interesting to see. For now, it is a nice addition to the publishing tool box.