Who is ‘they?’ In new AP Stylebook, it can be singular and other news from here and there

The singular, gender-neutral ‘they’ added to the Associated Press Stylebook

The Associated Press Stylebook, arguably the foremost arbiter of grammar and word choice in journalism, has added an entry for “they” as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun in its latest edition.

“We stress that it’s usually possible to write around that,” Paula Froke, lead editor for the Associated Press Stylebook, said in a blog post on the American Copy Editors Society’s website. “But we offer new advice for two reasons: recognition that the spoken language uses they as singular and we also recognize the need for a pronoun for people who don’t identify as a he or a she.”

Some journalists “write around” it by simply using the person’s name with each reference to avoid a jarring construction such as, “They is going home.” [Full story: The Washington Post/Travis M. Andrews]

Software engineer starts unlikely business: A weekly newspaper

In a newsroom wedged into a storefront here, reporters worked on stories about the contentious issues driving the conversation around town, like a property reassessment that could affect taxes and testing in the public schools. An editor read through submissions for a St. Patrick’s Day limerick contest. And Kevin Meacham, the newspaper’s top editor, was in his office, looking at a mock-up of a front page on his computer, “XXXX” taking the place of headlines waiting to be written.

The team of journalists was preparing to publish the second issue of The Montclair Local.

This month, the weekly newspaper arrived for the first time in mailboxes around town. A local family decided to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into starting a news organization from scratch, hiring reporters to cover zoning board meetings and high school wrestling tournaments and whatever else residents in this New Jersey suburb care about. [Full story: The New York Times/Rick Rojas]

Samantha Bee’s solution for making money on local news? Lottery tickets

Add Samantha Bee to the list of media thinkers with a scheme to make money in local journalism.

On this week’s episode of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” the “Daily Show” alumna became the latest late-night comedian to give journalism a boost. But, rather than put out a call for donations like her colleague John Oliver, Bee opted for a different strategy: lottery tickets.

During the segment, Bee interviewed Charlie Kratovil, the editor of a monthly newspaper in New Jersey called New Brunswick Today. The newspaper, which has a full-time staff of one, had a subscription base of less than 100 of the city’s 55,000 residents.

After consulting with serial entrepreneur Gabe Zichermann, Bee suggested that Kratovil needed to “gamify” the news to generate interest. Citing instances where prizes have encouraged people to vote, Bee suggested her team give out lottery tickets to encourage subscribership. [Full story: Poynter/Benjamin Mullin]

Easter AP style terms to fill your basket with

Whether celebrated on a date based on the Gregorian Calendar or the Julian Calendar, the Holiday of Easter remains a day where Christians commemorate their belief surrounding the resurrection of Jesus Christ, three days after his crucifixion.

As the 40-day Lenten period between Ash Wednesday and Holy Sunday is well underway, we’ve pulled some other Easter-related AP style terms for journalists who might find themselves reporting on in the coming weeks.

Jesus, Jesus Christ Pronouns referring to him are lowercase, as is savior.

Capitalize the names of holy days like “Good Friday.” [Full story: GateHouse Newsroom/John Crouch]

Who won? The personalization email newsletter study results are in

By Tracy Clark, Reynolds Journalism Institute

Editor’s note: Tracy Clark is the founder of the technology platform Reportory and was a 2015-2016 RJI Fellow. She worked with the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman as part of her fellowship project.

In a head-to-head experiment, e-newsletter content chosen by the reader outperformed e-newsletter content selected by an editor.

Over the past year I partnered with the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman to set up a study to compare one of their editor-curated newsletters, Midday Break, with Reportory, a news personalization technology I developed. First, I white-labeled my platform to look exactly like Austin’s interface and the Midday Break email. We called this rebranded personalization platform Austin American-Statesman’s News for You. [Full story: Reynolds Journalism Institute/Tracy Clark]

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