Nancy Edmonds Hanson, APR

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Mass Communications 210
Media Writing


AP Style: Media Names


bulletMost newspaper names donít include "the." References to these papers should lower-case the article. Other newspapers do consider "the" a part of their formal names, causing it to be capitalized. The only way to determine this for newspapers not specifically mentioned in the AP Stylebook is to check a media directory or look at the nameplate of the paper itself. (If "the" is included in the nameplate, it's considered part of the formal name.) Note: Capitalization of "the" often follows dropping the city name from the newspaper's title, but this is not invariably true.
                      The story appeared in the Grand Forks Herald.
                      BUT: William Marcil is publisher of The Forum. ... The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
                              ... BUT: Star Tribune (merged Minneapolis Tribune and Minneapolis Star)

bulletSome newspapers that have resulted from past mergers hyphenate their names; others do not. Once again, look at their nameplates.
                    Steele Ozone-Press, Duluth News-Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times ... BUT Star Tribune 
bullet Watch out for the "saints." Some are abbreviated, some not.
St. Paul Pioneer Press .... BUT Saint Cloud Times

bulletIn AP style, the names of newspapers and magazines are not italicized or set off in quotation marks. 

Books and magazines often italicize newspaper names (as well as book titles and magazine names) as part of their in-house style. However, italicized type could not be sent over Associated Press teletypes and isn't supported by the computer programs in use today ... the practical reason behind this AP style dictum.

When newspapers review books, the titles are often italicized **even though** the AP Stylebook recommends quotation marks. This is a shift in modern usage. The names of reference books ó like the AP Stylebook, Webster's New World Dictionary, the Bible (and for that matter, the Koran) are not italicized or enclosed.

bullet NOTE: Never underline titles of books or publications. That's an old typewriter convention that's entirely out of date today in media writing. (Some formal academic styles still use underlines, but you don't need to worry about that unless you're a graduate student writing a thesis.)


bulletIn AP style, magazine names are capitalized but not italicized or set off in quotes. The word "magazine" is capitalized only if itís part of the official name.

Sally Platkin Koslow was appointed editor-in-chief of McCallís.
George W. Bush and Al Gore appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

bulletThe titles of magazine stories are set off with quotes. 
NOTE: Titles of songs, movies and artworks are set off the same way.

The February issue of Glamour featured a story titled "My Life with AIDS." 

: The correct word is "titled," not "entitled." The latter is a completely different word meaning "deserving."


bulletRadio stations' call letters appear in all caps. Use hyphens to separate from AM or FM: 
          WDAY-FM, KFYR-AM.
bullet"AM" or "FM" are necessary only when two stations share the same call letters. 


bulletThe words "radio" or "television" are not considered necessary in referring to a station unless itís critical to understanding multi-media operations (those with both TV and radio).

The Moorhead public radio station's name is simply KCCM-FM, since only one station uses those call letters ... but use radio station KFYR or KFYR Radio or KFYR-AM to differentiate from KFYR-TV and KFYR-FM.

bulletStationsí call letters are frequently used alone with neither a band designation or the word "radio." 

Sandy Buttweiler has the midday shift at KFGO.

bulletIf the station has created its own marketing designation that isnít part of its call letters or an abbreviation, capitalize only the first letter ó not the entire word. 

         NOT FROGGY 102 or the FOX Network ó instead: Froggy 102 or the Fox Network

Marketing nicknames like Y-94, Q-98, The Fox 107.9 or Moose Country 102 are usually acceptable in references. But in stories in which the stationís corporate identity is important, the true call letters should follow in parentheses.

In stories about the sale of a station, for example, use this style: 
Q-98 (KQWB-FM),
Froggy 99.9 (KVOX-FM)


bulletTelevision station names follow the basic radio rule ... WDAY-TV. Also acceptable: Channel 6.
bulletItís not necessary to use both call letters and the channel designation in the same reference.
          NOT "WDAY Channel 6"
bulletProgram names are enclosed in quotation marks. (See AP Stylebook entry on "composition titles.")
Remember that periods and commas **always** go inside the closing quotation mark!

They watched "Valley News Live,"  "20/20" and "Lost."

bulletCapitalize names of networks when they are true abbreviations. 

ABC, NBC, CNN, MTV, TNN and A&E are abbreviations for full names (American Broadcasting Company, Cable News Network, The Nashville Network, for example.)

"FOX" is not an acronym, and it should be written like a normal proper noun: Fox.  Itís capitalized in the channel's corporate logo, not in life.

Internet and World Wide Web

bulletAP style recommendations for the Web and Internet references are still evolving. Expect to see revisions in years to come, since URLs in particular are unwieldy and cause lots of typographic problems when they appear in print stories.
bulletWeb URLs should generally be kept lower-case. Do not underline them when they appear in print articles. (You may need to outsmart your word processing program to accomplish this, since most of them sense and automatically create a hyperlink when a web address is entered.)
bullet URLs are generally italicized or given some other special type treatment to set them off from text. However, this hasnít become news style because italics arenít traditionally available on the AP wire. 
bulletIn AP style, URLs may be included at the end of the story, set off from text by three long dashes. They don't appear in the body of the story.
bulletWhen a URL is at the end of the sentence, go ahead and add that concluding period Ė even though itís not part of the address.

Visit our corporate Web site at

If the URL is too long for a single line, break it at a logical spot and continue on the next line. Do NOT hyphenate; as this indicates the hyphen is part of the address.

bulletNote that the words World Wide Web, Web, Internet and Net (on second reference) are all capitalized.


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Last updated on 02/12/08 by Nancy E. Hanson