Home » OPINION » Columns » TODD SMITH — AP Stylebook 2016 updates: media, emoji & normcore, oh my!

TODD SMITH — AP Stylebook 2016 updates: media, emoji & normcore, oh my!



OK, we have officially stopped capitalizing internet and web, according to a recent announcement from the Associated Press.

Last week those words finally became lowercase – as they should have been all along – In the release of the 2016 AP Stylebook.

There are some important additions and updates to reflect our transforming, multi-tasking, social and digital world:

» media – generally takes a plural verb, especially when the reference is to individual outlets: Media are lining up for and against the proposal. The word is often preceded by “the.” Sometimes used with a singular verb when referring to media as a monolithic group: The media plays a major role in political campaigns.

» claim – this verb implies doubt, and its use in stories – Smith claimed – can imply the reporter does not believe something. Generally, said is a better term. Claim is most appropriate when an assertion is open to question and the story presents an alternative point of view: Pro-government forces claimed they seized the town, but rebels denied it.

» emoji – a symbol, such as a cartoon face, hand gesture, animal or other object, that might be used instead of a word or as an illustration in text messages or on social media. Plural: emojis.

» jerry-built – to be made poorly, or of cheap material: flimsy houses were jerry-built on the hillside. Sometimes confused with jury-rig, which means to be set up for temporary or emergency use: a courtroom jury-rigged in a corner of the factory.

» Spree – this term is usually applied to shopping or revelry. Do not use in other circumstances: killing spree.

» kombucha – a fermented, slightly effervescent tea beverage. Kombucha can contain trace amounts of alcohol.

» normcore – a fashion trend that combines “normal” and “hardcore” and is characterized by unpretentious, unisex, average dressing.

“Nickel back” has been added to football terms and phrases, and there’s a lengthy entry for data journalism.

The 2016 stylebook has nearly 250 new or updated entries, including 36 updates to the food section, according to a news release, and 50 updates to the technology section.

It’s official, a majority gets news via social

A majority of U.S. adults – 62 percent – get news on social media, and 18 percent do so often, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In 2012, based on a slightly different question, 49 percent of U.S. adults reported seeing news on social media.

But which social media sites have the largest portion of users getting news there? How many get news on multiple social media sites? And to what degree are these news consumers seeking online news versus discovering it while doing other things?

As part of an ongoing examination of social media and news, Pew Research Center analyzed the scope and characteristics of social media news consumers across nine social networking sites. This study is based on a survey conducted Jan. 12-Feb. 8, 2016, with 4,654 members of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel. Here’s key findings:

» Two-thirds of Facebook users (66 percent) get news on the site.

» Nearly six-in-ten Twitter users (59 percent) get news on Twitter.

» Seven-in-10 Reddit users get news on that platform.

» On Tumblr, the figure sits at 31percent, while for the other five social networking sites it is true of only about one-fifth or less of their user bases.

It is also useful to see how, when combined with the sites’ total reach, the proportion of users who gets news on each site translates to U.S. adults overall.

» Facebook is by far the largest social networking site, reaching 67 percent of U.S. adults. The two-thirds of Facebook users who get news there, then, amount to 44 percent of the general population.

» YouTube has the next greatest reach in terms of general usage, at 48 percent of U.S. adults. But only about a fifth of its users get news there, which amounts to 10 percent of the adult population. That puts it on par with Twitter, which has a smaller user base (16 percent of U.S. adults) but a larger portion getting news there.

The audience overlap

To what extent do the various news audiences on social media overlap? Of those who get news on at least one of the sites, a majority (64 percent) get news on just one – most commonly Facebook. About a quarter (26 percent) get news on two of those sites. Just one-in-10 get news on three or more.

Seeking out news online

Differences also emerge in how active or passive each group of news users is in their online news habits more generally. YouTube, Facebook and Instagram news users are more likely to get their news online mostly by chance, when they are online doing other things. Alternatively, the portion of Reddit, Twitter and LinkedIn news users who seek out news online is roughly similar to the portion that happen upon it.

The demographics of social media news consumers

A look at the demographic characteristics of news consumers on the five social networking sites with the biggest news audiences shows that, while there is some crossover, each site appeals to a somewhat different group. Instagram news consumers stand out from other groups as more likely to be non-white, young and, for all but Facebook, female. LinkedIn news consumers are more likely to have a college degree than news users of the other four platforms; Twitter news users are the second most likely. The demographics of other sites can be found in the Appendix.

Social news consumers & other news platforms

Social media news consumers still get news from a variety of other sources and to a fairly consistent degree across sites. For example, across the five sites with the biggest news audiences, roughly two-in-ten news users of each also get news from nightly network television news; about three-in-ten turn to local TV. One area that saw greater variation was news websites and apps. Roughly half of Twitter and LinkedIn news consumers also get news from news websites and apps, while that is true of one-third of Facebook and YouTube news users.

Golden Gloves | Muhammad Ali had Midas Touch!

Few icons fought as hard – and had such a commanding persona – as Muhammad Ali, both in the boxing ring and with disease. Ali, the larger than life legend who in death will be known as much for his fight with Parkinson’s disease as an epic boxer who defined a generation of sports.

The former heavyweight boxing champ whose once commanding voice of defiance was cruelly muted to a barely audible whisper for more than 30 years, is forever etched into our collective minds.

The Spin Cycle will never forget his heroic march, torch held highly and proudly, finally, for his country in the Atlanta Olympics, despite the ravages of a disease that zapped him of much of his persona.

Ali was an entertainer like no other. Few entertainers have boxed, and few boxers are entertainers. Ali was both. He was also a humanitarian. But it will be the legend – and brand – that he cast in the ring that galvanized his place as perhaps the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time.

The Spin Cycle loves words, and the cacophonic turn of phrase that makes an impact. Ali – like Yogi Berra – had them by the glove full. As we ponder this superstar, here are some of his best lines:

1. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

2. “I’m young. I’m handsome. I’m fast. I can’t be beat.”

3. “Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”

4. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

5. “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.”

6. “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”

7. “I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.”

8. “I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’m going to get licked.”

9. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

10.  “I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And throw thunder in jail.”

Amen brother, and RIP Ali!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


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