Tips on writing AAUW news items

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Marty Folsom, former AAUW NC Tar Heel News editor, presented a short ‘how to’ session during the recent leadership meeting in Salisbury, to facilitate a smooth transition for the new editor, Gretchen Purgason. Folsom offers the following to leaders and other members to use in preparation for newsletter submissions. She notes, “A large portion of my time was spent editing to make the publication consistent, professional and packed with as much news and information possible. These tips represent the most common corrections and revisions I made.”

  • Use AAUW NC (not AAUWNC or AAUW-NC) or AAUW of North Carolina (not North Carolina AAUW)
  • Use AAUW (Name) Branch, i.e. AAUW Eden Branch, not Eden AAUW. If needed for context, write AAUW Eden (NC) Branch.
  • Use spell check.
  • AAUW NC headlines for Tar Heel News – capitalize only first word and proper nouns.
  • Use italics for publication titles.
  • Single space between sentences and between state and ZIP code. [While many of us learned to use two spaces at the end of a sentence when typing a document, the proportional fonts used in modern documents make that unnecessary.]
  • Commas: AAUW publications – use serial commas, i.e., one, two, and three. Public media – use the rule of two, i.e., one, two and three.
  • Numbers – spell out one-digit numbers, but use numbers for 10 and up.
  • Pay attention to person, number and tense.
  • 7:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. – not AM or PM, Not 7:00
  • Use bachelor’s degree in music, but bachelor’s degree in English, doctoral degree or doctorate, or Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science degree, Doctor of Education degrees, but don’t use B.S., M.A., Ph.D.
  • Do not use titles such as Ms., Miss, Mr., or Mrs. in publications. Use entire name in first occurrence; surname only in subsequent mention.
  • Periods and commas – ALWAYS place inside quotes.
  • Avoid repetition, redundancies, and useless information.
  • Make sure the information is complete and correct.
  • Never underline anything. Use bold or italics for emphasis.
  • Write in third person; avoid using first and second person.
  • Use active sentences. Avoid using the verb ‘to be.’
  • Organize your material – most important information in first sentence.

AAUW has an official publication, AAUW Style Basics and AAUW.org Web Basics.  It is a 23-page document. While many of the rules follow the AP Stylebook, there are exceptions. The rule for the use of commas is one. It is the definitive source for AAUW specific language (e.g. AAUW, not A.A.U.W. or the AAUW) so be sure to review it, particularly before sending an article to your local media.

Members wishing to read the AAUW style guide may obtain it from the  AAUW.org Member Center’s “Tools and Guides” page in the “Publications and Websites” section. Other resources in that section may also be helpful. Feel free to e-mail info@aauwnc.org or call 866/525-2155 for help retrieving the document.

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