Email Of The Week: Journalism School Language Police

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It’s that time again – for the ridiculous email of the week award. And while Video Professor really wins this week’s award, we’re going to add one more to the list.

Gabrielle, a student at Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, writes to tell us that, according to the Associated Press Stylebook, the word website really should be written as Web site:

To Whom It May Concern:

This note is simply meant to inform your organization, TechCrunch, of an error found in your article featured on the The Washington Post Web site entitled “How Did the Major Online Retailers Cope With Black Friday Madness?” on Sunday, November 29, 2009. Did you know that the AP Stylebook suggests that the term ‘Web site’ be written as two words with the W in web being capitalized? You may reference the entry on pg. 287.

Respectfully Submitted,

Gabrielle [removed]

Drake University Public Relations Student

School of Journalism and Mass Communication

We have of course banned the AP from our site for inappropriate Internet behavior, and so we don’t often refer to their stylebook. In fact, tonight was the first I’d heard of it – if anyone owns the book please check p. 287 for me. Why in the world it would be considered definitive in journalism school baffles me, but everything about journalism school tends to baffle me.

As usual the AP is woefully behind the times. But here’s our response to Gabrielle anyway:

First, the word “website” is perfectly acceptable, and in fact it is the proper way to spell and capitalize the word:

The transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to take unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar. Thus email is gaining ground over the forms E-mail and e-mail, especially in texts that are more technologically oriented. Similarly, there is an increasing preference for closed forms like homepage, online, and printout.

Second, I don’t give a damn. Also, are your parents really emptying their savings account for this educational experience?

Past Winners Of The Email Of The Week Award:
No, Don’t Sue Facebook. Yes, Do Get A New Boyfriend
Email Of The Week: CarAndDriver Launches Bold Online Link Farm Strategy

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