Andy Bechtel | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
My teaching tip is inspired by the day I was told to write a memo on Burma vs. Myanmar.
In a discussion of stylebooks, have the class break into groups and settle three style disputes. (Last semester I used Web log vs. blog, Mumbai vs. Bombay and refugee vs. evacuee.) The students may use any resources they wish: other stylebooks, dictionaries, Web, etc.
Ask them to find examples in real news stories. Make sure they discuss as a group what they would recommend for their fictional newspaper's stylebook. Have them write a memo and a style entry. Each group then presents its findings. It's fun to see what different groups come up with.
Charlyne Berens | University of Nebraska
My colleague Daryl Frazell is the origin for most of these questions. I’ve revised them a bit as times and expectations change. But they are EXCELLENT for showing students that “style” can have a LOT of ethical and judgment implications. I use them in the beginning editing class.
I divide the class into groups of three or four or five and assign a question to each group. The group makes a recommendation to the entire class, which discusses the question further and votes on a final decision.
Students seem to learn a lot from these considerations. The discussions get at some very fundamental values. *
Develop style rules in response to the following questions:
1. Should we use courtesy titles? If so, under what circumstances?
2. Should we edit quotes? If so, under what circumstances?
3. How will we refer to two or more people with the same name in a single story?
4. Should we use the names of people under 18 in crime or police stories?
5. Should we decline to use names of sports teams that some groups consider derogatory?
6. How will we deal with profanity and obscenity?
7. When should we refer to the race of a person?
8. How will we deal with gender-specific job titles? (Example: policeman, fireman, actor, comedienne, heroine)