NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- For decades, journalists have relied on such time-honored books as the Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style. But if these well-thumbed arbiters of language and grammar seem a tad too 20th century for your tastes, enter Wired.com.
The technology-centric publication plans to unveil a stylebook that will not only modernize its popular decade-old version but also provide a fresh, sophisticated look at current issues facing online media.
"We're going beyond language, grammar and usage," said Evan Hansen, the 44-year-old editor-in-chief of Wired.com, a part of the Wired magazine and overall brand.
Adding more relevance
The updated stylebook will highlight such current Web-publishing issues as anti-spam techniques, online community standards and ways to increase rankings on Internet search engines like Google , Hansen said.
Wired also intends to educate journalists about appropriate, not to mention legal, behavior on the Web. "People are prone to grab pictures and put them on a Web site," he noted. Copyright infringement, anyone?
"There is a whole other set of codes [on the Web] that augments the rules of grammar," he added. "It's our sweet spot: digital technology and the changing culture, and society."
All kinds of journalists will find practical applications in the guide. "When I talk to copy editors, [they often ask], 'What are we going to do about tagging these articles, and spamming?' and all of these other technology questions," Hansen said.
Aside from Wired staffers, there are countless bloggers around the world who might find this book useful as well. And if this guide ever found its way to Barnes & Noble and Borders , Wired might even be able to make some money.
Hansen is doing his best to bring together the often alien communities of journalists and techies. "With these two parallel worlds, if they touch, there will be complete annihilation," he joked.
"There is often a separation between editorial and technology," he said. "We're trying to create a culture where there is a lot of parity. We want to give editorial people a primer on what do you need to know to work well with the tech people. And the tech people can learn about news people."
If you're thinking that the ever-resourceful folks at Wired and its parent Conde Nast are eyeing big bucks from this endeavor, think again.
"We won't make a ton of money -- we'll just cover the costs of printing," Hansen said. "We're filling a need. There is a separation of editorial and technology in Web sites. There is a knowledge gap, and we want to close it."
I asked Hansen what he would view as the ultimate compliment from a user of the Wired stylebook. He replied: "You taught me how to write for the Web."
: What is your favorite Web site?
: In what has to be the most irrelevant aspect of the entire soap opera surrounding Katie Couric, she has been accused of being -- are you sitting down? -- a not-very-nice person! Can you believe it?
Gail Shister, a well-respected television critic who covered the beat for years for the Philadelphia Inquirer, made that point on CNN's "Reliable Sources" last Sunday morning. Ah, of course -- THAT explains Couric's ratings woes, doesn't it? I guess her ratings stink because ... nobody at CBS wanted to watch her evening-news show, merely out of spite!
Couric, Shister said on the program, "came to CBS with a very sort of imperious attitude. She came in from the get-go with her own group of people, her own posse, and the feeling at CBS was that she thought they were all losers. And they didn't know anything. That did not engender a lot of good will from the get-go."
Gee, why would Couric -- or anyone, for that matter -- ever suggest that the CBS News division was made up of a bunch of "losers"? Maybe because the evening-news show, even with Bob Shieffer's much-needed injection of goodwill and homespun charm, was forever mired in third place, behind General Electric's NBC and Walt Disney's ABC.
Obviously, CBS News employs many hard-working, responsible professionals. But the fact is, the public doesn't tune in to its evening-news show, a trend that started with Dan Rather's tenure.
Couric's remarkable success at NBC's "Today" show had as much to do with her broadcasting savvy as with her well-documented perkiness. Maybe she figured out on day one -- or earlier -- that she needed to assert herself in her new country-club surroundings at CBS and get across to the disenchanted lifers that they'd better pick up the pace.
Shister, a savvy television critic in her own right, should know better than to float this irrelevant rumor. I'm sure Couric ticked off her share of colleagues at CBS and NBC, not to mention early in her career at CNN, which is now owned by Time Warner . Who cares if she kicked butt and took names at CBS?
If you believe what you read these days (and I do), Couric is likely headed to CNN to replace Larry King. This -- not speculation about her attitude -- is the real story.
to about Katie Couric:
"Katie does not have the charisma to carry off Larry's job. Frankly, I don't care for her and never did. She's not 'personable.' I like people with personalities, and I don't find one in her. And why CBS thought she was worth so much money shows you that the people at the top making the decisions do not have much intelligence in their career field."
-- Rebecca Weaver
"I am tired of reading about CBS taking 'a bold move to hire a woman anchor.' That is not and was not the problem. CBS just picked the wrong woman and paid her a ridiculous salary. Diane Sawyer would not be a worthwhile choice, either. The networks better shape up or their newscasts will soon be going the way of too many newspapers, down and maybe off the screen."
-- Isabelle Hall
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By Jon Friedman