Friday, January 11, 2008

Style resources for journalists

Here are some style resources for journalists, online or otherwise.


The classic writing stylebook: Elements of Style

Associated Press: Ask the Editor

The Slot: Bill Walsh, Copy Chief, Washington Post national desk
The Slot Blog
The Slot: Sharp Points

Bob Baker's News Thinking (a couple of examples of style discussions):
One posted just today is here
Hyphen madness
Capitalization crisis

Wikipedia on:
Style guides

An example of a Website style guide

Monday, January 07, 2008

A(nother) thought on Roger Clemens

I just sent (basically) this e-mail to our baseball writer. I'm having a bit of a hard time with this, although right now it's a hypothetical hard time, because as noted below, a lot might still happen:

Here's my thought on Clemens, but I don't know how much more can be said. Although the boss and I just had a spirited discussion about it, so I guess ...

Let's say that he retires, and five years from now, the only person who has ever connected Roger Clemens to steroids is McNamee. No paper, no checks, no admissions (obviously), nobody else says, "Yeah, he did that." Nothing. Just one guy saying it, and a lot of others saying, "Well, look at him. It's obvious."

Clemens goes before Congress and through several civil suits, and every time he testifies, he categorically denies that he did steroids. Not even a hint of a crack in his story. And not another shred of proof.

How can people justify not voting him into the Hall on the first ballot?

Some say, "Well, why would McNamee lie?" I don't know. Why are there serial killers, or why do people streak across football fields or indulge in any other sociopathic behavior? Maybe he wanted 15 minutes of fame, and fingering the most famous guy he was connected with was the way he did it.

Bottom line: People would keep the greatest pitcher of his generation out of the Hall of Fame based on ONE PERSON saying something and a feeling. And that seems wrong to me.

Now, as (my boss) correctly notes, there's five years between now and then, and a lot of time to sort things out. And yes, I believe Clemens did steroids. And just so we're clear, I'm not a Clemens fan, have never been a fan of a single team he has been connected with. So it's not about that.

But if we're sitting here five years from now with exactly the same amount of proof we have today, then that's going to be a hell of a dilemma. Or, more to the point, should be.