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Grabien adheres for the most part to the AP style guide. This guide will expand as new style issues arise. 

9/11. Not 9-11.

Adviser. Not "advisor."

Affiliates. When creating a new source for a local network affiliate, write the call letters first and then in parentheses, the station and city. For example, news clips that come from Fox’s St. Louis affiliate, KTVI, would have “KTVI (Fox 2 St. Louis)” listed as the source.

Affirmative Action. Not “affirmative action.”

All right. Not “alright.”

al Qaeda. Not al-Qaeda or Al Qaeda. 

Black. Not “African-American.”

Crosstalk. If content features crosstalk — where multiple people are speaking at once, rendering the words difficult to decipher — the transcript should indicate as such in brackets (e.g., “[crosstalk]”).


  • Em dashes: When using em dashes — where information is parenthetically contained within a sentence, as is being done here — use a space on either side of the em dash. Em dashes are double the length of usual dashes; if you do not know how to create one with your keyboard, double dashes are sufficient -- such as that.
  • En dashes: En dashes are single length dashes that are used with someone’s birth/death dates (e.g., “Sir Winston Churchill (1874–1960) served as Britain’s prime minister from 1940 until 1945.”)
  • Hyphens: Hyphens are smaller than en dashes and are used to combine words (e.g., pre-approval) as well as to combine multiple words acting together to modify a noun (e.g., first-quarter touchdown, or health-care system)

E-mail. Not email. Use a hyphen (e-mail if it’s not at the start of sentence). 

Gaps. Audio clips may be edited for length so long as the meaning of the content is not altered. Gaps between a speaker’s sentences can be shortened according to customary practice (i.e., not so much so that the clips sound edited). If words are excised to edit a clip for length, the original meaning of the clip must remain the same, and the clip’s transcript must indicate the excision with ellipses.

Video clips may also be edited for length. Again, the original meaning of the clip cannot be lost or altered in the process. Excisions must be marked by obvious visual elements signifying a passage of time.

Health care. Not healthcare or health-care, unless the latter is modifying a noun (as in, “health-care spending”).

Hip-hop. ‚ÄčNot hip hop.

Honorifics. Users who upload media featuring people not yet in Grabien’s MediaBank will be prompted to provide more information on these new entries. The name on the profile should include only the individual’s name — without any honorifics. For instance, because President Barack Obama has served in multiple offices and content may appear from any of these time periods, all content related to Barack Obama is listed under “Barack Obama” — not Sen. Obama or President Obama.

Within individuals’ biographies, AP style prevails: Honorifics are to be used on the first mention; Mr., Mrs., and Ms. on future references.

The “Dr.” honorific should be used only with individuals who hold a doctor of dental surgery, doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, or doctor of podiatric medicine.

Internet. The Internet is a proper noun and is therefore capitalized.

ISIS. The terrorist group alternatively known as ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and ISIL (The Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant) should simply be referred to as ISIS. 

ObamaCare. Not Obamacare or Obama-Care.

Oxford comma. Also known as the serial comma, or the Harvard comma, the Oxford comma is employed at Grabien. To help you remember, recall the grammar joke: “We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin" — not, “We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin.” 

PATRIOT Act. Not Patriot Act.

Quotes. Punctuation goes within double quotations, not outside. For example “Like this,” not “like this”.

Roadmap. One word. Not "road map."

State abbreviations: 

  • Alabama — Ala.
  • Alaska — Alaska
  • Arizona — Ariz.
  • Arkansas — Ark.
  • California — Calif.
  • Colorado — Colo.
  • Connecticut — Conn.
  • Delaware — Del.
  • District of Columbia — D.C.
  • Florida — Fla.
  • Georgia — Ga.
  • Hawaii — Hawaii
  • Idaho — Idaho
  • Illinois — Ill.
  • Indiana — Ind.
  • Iowa — Iowa
  • Kansas — Kan.
  • Kentucky — Ky.
  • Louisiana — La.
  • Maine — Maine
  • Maryland — Md.
  • Massachusetts — Mass.
  • Michigan — Mich.
  • Minnesota — Minn.
  • Mississippi — Miss.
  • Missouri — Mo.
  • Montana — Mont.
  • Nebraska — Neb.
  • Nevada — Nev.
  • New Hampshire — N.H.
  • New Jersey — N.J.
  • New Mexico — N.M.
  • New York — N.Y.
  • North Carolina — N.C.
  • North Dakota — N.D.
  • Ohio — Ohio
  • Oklahoma — Okla.
  • Oregon — Ore.
  • Pennsylvania — Pa.
  • Rhode Island — R.I.
  • South Carolina — S.C.
  • South Dakota — S.D.
  • Tennessee — Tenn.
  • Texas — Texas
  • Utah — Utah
  • Vermont — Vt.
  • Virginia — Va.
  • Washington — Wash.
  • West Virginia — W.Va.
  • Wisconsin — Wis.
  • Wyoming — Wyo.

Tea Party. For clarity, refer to the political movement as Tea Party and the social gathering as a tea party. 

Theater. Not “theatre.” Grabien uses the American spelling whenever there’s a divergence between British and American English.

Toward. Not “towards.”

Transcripts. Transcripts should feature a person’s name in all-caps, followed by his/her quotation. As indicated above, crosstalk should be noted within brackets, and any edited-out language must be noted with ellipses. In the event you don’t know a featured person’s name, use his title/position instead.


CARNEY: “I’m sure he’s aware of it — I know he’s aware of it — but, I haven’t spoken with him about it, so I can’t speak for his reaction. I can tell you that, more broadly, that our principle concern is for the students, and his principal concern is for the students and families who are affected by this situation. And we hope that both sides are able to come together to settle this quickly, and in the best interest of Chicago’s students, but beyond that, I haven’t got a specific reaction from the president.”
REPORTER: “Gov. Romney has weighed in on it, saying that the president has chosen a fight, chosen a side in the fight, that being the unions and the teachers. Any reaction to that?”
CARNEY: “Well, the president, as I think you just heard from me, has not expressed any opinion or made any assessment of this particular incident.”

In the event you’re uploading a clip featuring one person speaking in extended length, paragraphs are encouraged. Please see this page as an example. 

U.N. When abbreviating the United Nations, use periods (not UN). 

U.S. When abbreviating the United States, use periods (not US).