Monday, September 03, 2007

Style for miles

So you think you get frustrated with AP and whatever your local style may be? Chances are, if you work at a U.S. newspaper, you don't give a lot of thought to the fact that someone in London, Paris, Rome or Mumbai might be reading what you wrote -- and that what you wrote may sound tinny to their ears.

But across the pond, at Britain's Guardian, there is lots of thought to such things. In a column today, Siobhain Butterworth explains how the internationalization of media and the Guardian's realization that it's now read on this side of the Atlantic, too, has subtly changed some of the rules -- and provoked more than a few complaints.

One of my favorites (favourites - in defference to the "worldwide" audience for this blog?) from the column:
A regular correspondent complained that "ass" was used instead of "arse" in two letters about city bonuses last week. "Let's have British bottoms in the Guardian," he said. The paper's style guide offers no guidance on ass versus arse - its editor told me that the British English "arse" is preferred, but subeditors should not change "ass" in a letter or a quote.
One wonders when American media will have to think about the same things or be considered arses.

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