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Editorial Style Guidelines: General style rules

academic degrees — Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree. He received his bachelor’s degree from UW-Eau Claire and his master’s and doctorate degrees from UW-Madison. No apostrophe in this case: She earned her bachelor of business administration or master of fine arts. Avoid an abbreviation (e.g. Ph.D.) and use instead a phrase such as: John Smith, who has a doctorate in philosophy.

acronyms — Do not write acronym in parentheses after spelling out the name. If it is not obvious the acronym stands for the previously stated item, then the acronym should not be used. (See listing of university-related acronyms and abbreviations.)

administrative office names — Capitalize the names of administrative offices: News Bureau. Do not capitalize the word “office” if after the name unless it is truly a part of the formal name: Financial Aid office or Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

adviser — Always spell with an “e.” Never use “advisor.”

alumna/alumnus/alumnae/alumni — alum/alums may be used in informal instances, such as alumni event promotions, social media messaging, etc.

ampersand (&) — Spell out the word “and” unless the ampersand is part of a proper name: art & design, Borders Books & Music.

art exhibits — Surround name of exhibit in quotation marks. Exception: Do not place the following exhibits in quotations marks: Annual Juried Student Art Show and B.F.A. Degree Candidates Senior Show.

Artists Series — not Artist Series.

award names — Capitalize the formal title of an award: Althea Brach Counselor of the Year Post-Secondary Award.

campuswide, nationwide — One word.

Centennial Plan — capitalized.

chair(person) — Use the word “chair” or “chairperson” depending upon person’s preference.

class names — Capitalize actual class names and surround by quotation marks: “Evolution of Economic Systems” or “Beginning French.”

comma usage — Do not set off Jr., Sr., Inc. and Ltd. with commas: Ivar Lunde Jr. will perform… or The UW-Eau Claire Foundation Inc. will award the $500 scholarship… Commas should be placed inside quotation marks at all times: “UW-Eau Claire is the best school in the country,” Davis said.

  • Do not use a comma after a question mark or exclamation point as in the following example: “How many students attend the university?” the student asked.
  • Do not put the comma before the conjunction in a simple series: The flag is red, white and blue.
  • Use the serial comma if a part of the series includes a comma or if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction.

compact disc — Use CD.

composition titles — Use quotation marks around the titles of books, anthologies, songs, movies, plays, operas, television programs, lectures, speeches and works of art. Do not use quotation marks with reference works, e.g., Encyclopedia Britannica, or around names of magazines, newspapers or professional journals. Professional journals and University Bulletin are italicized in the University Bulletin.

course work — two words.

department names — Do not capitalize department names (e.g., communication and journalism department), unless of course it’s a proper noun like English department.

disabled, handicapped, impaired — In general do not describe an individual as disabled or handicapped unless it is clearly pertinent to a story. If necessary, use person with a disability, not disabled person. For more information, refer to pages 74-75 in the AP Stylebook or the “Person First Language” brochure, available in the News Bureau.

dorm — Always use residence hall rather than “dorm” or “dormitory.”

ellipsis — In general, treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and two spaces, as shown here: ( … )

email addresses — Do not underline or boldface. Also, it’s email, not e-mail.

event happenings — State in order of time, day, date: The group will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, in the Ojibwa Room, Davies Center. Remember that “Oct. 7” is another way of saying “Thursday” and should be surrounded by commas. Also, do not include the word “on” before the day.

fieldwork, homework — one word.

The Forum — not the Forum.

grade-point average — GPA (for grade-point average) can be used in all references.

headlines — Titles that appear in double quotation marks within the body of the release should be surrounded by single quotation marks in the headline.

home page — Two words.

hometown — Include student’s hometown in story if appropriate. Underline the hometown (but not any punctuation before or after the hometown): Jane Adams, Brookfield, received a $10,000 scholarship. Also note states entry for more information. (Hometown information is taken from the CampS system under the category “Hometown News Release” and not from the student’s permanent address. Also, always check CampS to verify that information about the student may be released.)

hyphens — Whether to hyphenate a word can be tricky. For the rules, refer to the following entries in the AP Stylebook: prefixes, suffixes, hyphen, co-, extra-, pre-, post-, self-, and semi-. The next place to look is Webster’s New World Dictionary. Some commonly used words in UW-Eau Claire news releases and publications include the following: co-author, co-star, co-chair, cocurricular, coed, co-worker, extracurricular, nonprofit, pre-professional, preregister and semifinal.

Internet — Capitalize the word Internet. In later references, the Web or the Net is acceptable.

master plan — not capitalized.

months — Abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. before a specific date but spell out when cited without a date or when only with a year. There is no comma between a month and a year: March 2000.

minority vs. multicultural — The word multicultural (e.g., multicultural student population) is preferred.

music group or ensemble names — Capitalize the proper names of the groups but do not place in quotes: The Singing Statesmen or Indigo Girls.

music titles — Surround the names of songs and longer works, such as operas, with quotation marks: “Ebbene Signor Figaro” (song) from Gioacchino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” (opera). Do not use quotation marks with titles that are merely descriptions but do capitalize: Concerto for Two Horns. If, however, the instrumentation is not part of the title but just description, then lowercase the instruments: Concerto for two horns. The words “flat,” “major” and “minor” should not be capitalized in a title but the note (letter) preceding the word is: Concerto in A flat minor.

office — Capitalize “office” if part of the formal title — such as Office of Research and Sponsored Programs — but use lowercase “o” if not: Activities and Programs office.

online — one word

phone numbers — Include area code and write in following manner:

plural words — When speaking of more than one, use the following words: alumni (a pair or group that contains at least one male), alumnae (more than one woman), emeriti (a pair or group that contains at least one male), emeritae (more than one female), freshmen (male or female), curricula. See singular words entry.

pop — Soft drink is more appropriate.

resident assistant — May use RA on second reference.

room — Capitalize the word room if followed by a number or preceded by an actual name: Room 143 or Ho-Chunk Room.

scholarship names — Capitalize the formal name of scholarships: Leonard Haas Alumni Scholarship.

senior citizen — Use “senior citizen” sparingly. It is best to indicate an age category: those age 62 and older. Preferred usage is not to use “seniors” as that often indicates a high school or college class level.

singular words — The following words always indicate one person or item: alumnus (male), alumna (female), emeritus (male), emerita (female), freshman (male or female), curriculum. See plural words entry.

states — Never include the state of Wisconsin with a city. With all other cities, except those mentioned under the datelines entry in the AP Stylebook, abbreviate the state name when preceded by a city. See state names entry in the AP Stylebook for abbreviations. Also note that a comma follows the state abbreviation when in the middle of a sentence: He lived in St. Paul, Minn., before moving to Stevens Point.

strategic plan — not capitalized.

theater vs. theatre — Use “theatre” when referring to University Theatre, when referring to the actual music and theatre arts department, or when the proper name is “theatre: Orpheum Theatre. Use “theater” in all other cases.

times — From 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. OR 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Remember to use “noon” and “midnight” instead of “12 p.m.” and “12 a.m.”

titles — Include "Dr." before name if appropriate but still follow with appropriate title, such as Dr. Jane Do, associate professor of foreign languages. Instructor titles need to be accurate. Check whether the instructor is a professor, associate professor, assistant professor, senior lecturer, lecturer or another title. Note that not all professors hold doctoral degrees. For example, an assistant professor in music is likely to be someone who is not a "Dr."

Exception to the rule: Art, theater and music professors may not want to be identified as "Dr." In this case, we respect the individual's wish. Also, if preferred by the individual, when referring to theater and music faculty in an event capacity, identify as professor of theatre arts or assistant professor of music, for example.

In general, do not capitalize titles — such as professor of psychology — before a person's name. However, the titles of chancellor, vice chancellor, dean and provost should be capitalized only before a name: Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson or Vicki Lord Larson, chancellor of UW-Eau Claire. Never capitalize titles such as special assistant to the chancellor. When in doubt, list title within commas and after person's name.

The following formal titles are capitalized and abbreviated as shown when used before a name: Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep. and Sen.

toward — Not towards.

under way — Two words in virtually all uses: The project is under way.

University of Wisconsin — To differentiate from UW-Eau Claire, use UW-Madison (or University of Wisconsin-Madison if first UW reference in release). Do not use University of Wisconsin.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire — Spell out University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in first reference; use UW-Eau Claire after that. Never use “UWEC” or “UW-EC.” Be sure to use a hyphen after Wisconsin or UW (not a medium or long dash).

University of Wisconsin-Extension — Use as UW-Extension. Remember to include the hyphen.

University of Wisconsin System — The abbreviated version is UW System. Note there is no hyphen before “System.” The president’s name is Kevin Reilly.

Washington, D.C. — Include comma between Washington and D.C.

website — not web site or Web site. Also,webcam, webcast and webmaster.

World Wide Web — Do not underline or boldface addresses. Use Web (capitalized) as a short form for World Wide Web and in terms with separate words, such as Web page and Web feed (but also see website entry). Visit the website at

years — When citing an academic year always use the abbreviated form for the second year unless the second year is in a different century: the 2001-02 academic year or the 1999-2000 Artists Series.

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