I received a couple of emails this weekend that have to do with style/punctuation when it comes to the Trend Story. I'm passing them along because I'm sure many of you are or will be dealing with these things. If you have questions or comments, leave them as comments to this post:
1) a post to Mr. Baron's Schoology page about this very topic:
http://schoology.newton.k12.ma.us/course/301377108/update/426069963 . I imagine that you can't get to this post because it's for those students enrolled in his class, so I'm copy-and-pasting it toward the end of this post.
2) an email from one of your peers:
While transcribing an interview, I came upon the following question: Can we include a semicolon ";" in the interview if it makes sense? (Since people don't say punctuation, can we put it in ourselves?)
I've looked online through several journalism style guides, but I didn't find an exact rule on this. Perhaps I wasn't doing a refined search. My initial reaction to this question: no, "people don't say punctuation," so you shouldn't put in the semicolon, but that isn't good enough guidance for a rule. After all, people don't speak commas, periods, apostrophes, or question marks; as we transcribe, we assign punctuation to give more clarity to what was said, and sometimes what the speaker says is presented in more formal punctuation than the speaker intended. Until I find it written somewhere in a style guide that you can use the semicolon, however, you should stick to periods and commas. Anyone think otherwise? Please make a comment to this post.
This what Mr. Baron posted for his students (If I have something to add, my additional comments look like this):
A running list of style/puncutation mistakes to avoid in your trend stories:
-- Newton South. Most of you should assume you're writing for a Newton South audience. This means that you don't need to mention the name of the school. If you tell me you interviewed a history teacher, I'm going to assume it's a Newton South history teacher. (If you have a Facebook poll of South students, though, and elsewhere you're referring to teens nationally, you should just write "South students" once. The idea is that South is the default and therefore assumed. You only need to mention the school when differentiating it from another grouping of people you explicitly name in the piece.)
-- As I said in class Friday: Use a source's full name the first time you mention him/her, the last name the second time (second reference, in fancy journalism-speak). No Ms./Mr./Dr.
-- It's important to mention the grade levels of students, but freshman/sophomore/junior/senior are not formal titles and aren't capitalized, even before a name.
-- Also, teacher and coach are not formal titles, so don't get capitalized. Only the important school subjects like English and foreign languages are capitalized; science, history, math -- not as much.
-- Style for percentages: 30 percent. Not 30%.
-- Another quotation thing: Don't start with a quotation. Second sentence is ok, but not the first. Why not? Not sure, but it's generally a news story no-no.
-- Remember the works cited page, too. Here's how to do it: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/05/
(For our class, I'm also expecting you to have a Works Cited page, and it should be on a separate page but within any document you are calling a final draft -- for TurnItIn, for your Shared Google Folder, etc. In the past, I've asked students to do in-text parenthetical citation as part of our adherence to MLA standards. This year, as I've said in class, you are giving newspaper-style attribution -- According to a 2012 study by the University of Michigan... or "All ponies go to Heaven, but not house cats" wrote Johnson in her book Where Did Rover Go? A theological investigation of the afterlife of pets.)