Organizations that want to use one guide may prefer AP due to its traditional nature and familiar style. Benjamin Roosien, an editorial professional with Michigan State University's WIDE program, said that AP's standards give writing a journalistic feel, which he believes translates well for the web. He thinks that online and print readers value the succinct style that AP standards provide.
"It's this brevity that makes me think most publications, including magazines, should, and will, continue to use AP style," Roosien said.
Lorna Garey, content director for InformationWeek Analytics, advocates for the consistency that style guides bring, and said she does not see the need for The Yahoo! Style Guide.
"Why reinvent the wheel? So many editors know AP, I don't see the point in starting over," she said. Most outlets have supplemental style guides to cover things that AP does not, she added, and organizations will still turn to those sorts of things when they are not sure what ruling to stick with.
Yahoo! is publishing its own stylebook for the Internet.
"The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, And Creating Content For The Digital World" will hit stores on July 6, 2010 at $21.99 for retail. Amazon will sell it for $13.49 before shipping.
...Chris Barr, Yahoo's senior editorial director and CNET's founding editor-in-chief, is the top editor of the book, along with other senior editors at Yahoo!.
"Writers and programmers at Yahoo!, faced with a lack of industry guidance fifteen years ago, began cobbling together a set of guidelines for Web writing," according to the book description from St. Martin's Press, a division of MacMillon, which publishing the guidebook.
"Yahoo! content creators have built and added to the guide ever since, making it the go-to manual inside Yahoo!"
Of course I'll acquire a copy, and I hope it has something sensible to say about any company that insists on including an exclamation mark in its name.
The good news is that Demand Media guarantees that you will get paid promptly for the articles you write. For a freelancer, that kind of certainty is hard to find these days.
The bad news is that for a typical 450-word article, Demand Media will pay you about $15. That works out to about three cents a word.
For decades, the industry standard has been around a dollar a word for most consumer and general interest magazines, about half that for newspapers.
At Demand Media, my editor will get $3.50 to fact-check and edit my copy.
To put that in perspective, in order to make as much money as a typical supermarket checkout clerk, I will have to churn out about seven articles a day.
And a copy editor will have to plow through about three articles an hour, for eight hours every day.
This is an industrial model applied to information — Henry Ford meets journalism.
In my own 40-year freelance career, I've never made anything close to a dollar a word. Once in the late 1980s, I got 50 cents a word from Maclean's for a piece that never ran--but the kill fee was the total fee they'd offered.
Three cents a word was absurd pay even in the 1940s, when the pulp science-fiction market paid around that. But three cents went a lot farther then than now. Basen is describing a modern version of Grub Street, and any serious writer should stay far away from it.