Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes ...

I am, if anything, a rule follower. Shocking, I know. Because, out of the other side of my mouth, I'm also an envelope-pusher. Is it possible to be both? Yes, I'm living proof. I follow the rules even if I don't agree with them, but take full advantage of my First Amendment rights to bitch loudly!

And such was the case yesterday when I was informed period-space-space wasn't correct for publications. Say what? Sure, I'd seen a reference here and there over the past few years, and scanned just enough to know it had something to do with the innanetz vs. print publications. But to be called out on a style issue? It's like throwing water on the witch!

You see, academically I don't have a ton of things to be really proud of. B-student for the most part. Except for news editing, where my rules-i-ness was allowed to flourish. And where I ruled the rules. (That means I made a nearly perfect grade in college editing and layout class.) So I went trucking immediately over to www.apstylebook.com because, like Billboard's "It's not Number 1 until it's Number 1 on Billboard" tagline, I don't consider it an official adaptation mandate until the Associated Press tells me to.

And lo and behold, there it was. "One space after a period."

My informer asserted it had been style for at least 15 years and while I'm not proud of this in most regards, I must say 15 years ago I was a junior/senior in college, and guess what was happening during that time? Editing and layout class. 98 percent A. I am positive I'd have known the rule had it been AP Style then.

But, with that said, it's the rule now so I am all about adaptation. I did quite a bit of Googling, so of course the reasoning with modern true typeface makes perfect sense. Having never actually typeset anything, I did not know the double space wasn't part of the normal printing style.

In my Googling efforts, however, I could not find the actual date the AP added the rule. It appeared to be answered in their "Editor Q&A" section but wasn't searchable and I didn't have 3 hours to scroll down the volume of entries.

Old dog. New tricks. Embrace the change. Let's go!

4 comments:

Holly said...

Ah!!! The "period space space" has been so 1995, since like, 1995! It's one space only, dude. The 2 spaces were designed for typewriters, so if you still use a typewriter, you're ok. If not, then get with the 21 century, Robby!:)

Arkanzin said...

I hate the "period dot space" so-called rule. (Note: two spaces.) It makes everything run together and look like a Tara Reid style run-on mess.

I'm with Robby on this one. (space space) Two spaces please!

Arky

allie said...

No. No No No No No. No.

It's what breaks up a space from a sentence! It caters to my OCD! I absolutely will not change, so screw you new rule!

Robby Johnson said...

The bad news is, I did more research yesterday at a board meeting, and apparently it's been AP style since at least 1975, when a trusted source went through journalism school.

Apparently I had a subpar editing professor. Which is just great. I feel so deflated.