Elements of Political Communication: General guidelines – Format

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Two columns of sample "Lorem Ipsum" text, the left formatted slightly differently than the right.
So long as it remains consistent, correct, and accessible, don't worry about the minute details of formatting.

Don’t get frustrated with the details of formatting. Write in whatever medium you’re comfortable using, but submit it in the appropriate format to whomever is responsible for publication. Use quotation marks to differentiate "buzzwords" sparingly. Avoid italicizing, bolding, underlining, or capitalizing to emphasize words or phrases. Writers can exclude portions of their audience by writing in an unfamiliar or awkward format. Instead, convey the meaning in your content without using awkward formatting. Use a readable typeface and avoid using only colors to differentiate text, especially red for editing marks (7 percent of American males cannot detect the difference between red and green.)[1] Do not use all caps. This is especially true when writing for traditional print media. Editors will ignore most of your formatting marks, and these changes can alter the meaning of your sentence. Rewrite any sentences with this kind of formatting to ensure this doesn't happen.

Review[edit]

Which of these sentences is formatted correctly?
A: Those supposed "party members" are extremists.
B: Those supposed party members are extremists.
C: Those "party members" are extremists.
D: Those party members are extremists.
Answer: D. Adding the word "supposed" or putting a word or phrase in quotation marks (unless referring to the word itself, as in this sentence) is not a legitimate way to call something into question. Additionally in this case, the assonance from the words "those" and "supposed" sounds awkward. See the chapter on sound for more information.


Which of these is formatted correctly?
A: The Daily Tribune was wrong about one thing in their article titled "Johnson Gets Life": The truth is that he has been a patriot throughout the campaign.
B: The Daily Tribune was wrong about one thing in their article titled "Johnson Gets Life": The truth is that he has been a PATRIOT throughout the campaign.
C: The Daily Tribune was wrong about one thing in their article titled "Johnson Gets Life": The truth is that he has been a patriot throughout the campaign.
D: The Daily Tribune was wrong about one thing in their article titled "Johnson Gets Life": The truth is that he has been a patriot throughout the campaign.
Answer: C. The other examples all include some kind of formatting error, either misuse of bold or italics or use of all-caps. Newspapers are always italicized; article titles are always in quotes. There are some exceptions to this rule for websites.


Which of these uses the most consistent format?
A: She did three things. Firstly, she did not vote the way we expected. 2nd, she fought against the people we wanted her to support, and finally, she accepted money from groups we opposed.
B: She did three things: Firstly, she did not vote the way we expected. Secondly, she fought against the people we wanted her to support. Thirdly, she accepted money from groups we opposed.
C: She did 3 things: 1st, didn’t vote way we expected. 2nd, fought people we wanted her to support. 3rd, accepted money from groups we opposed.
D: She did three things: First, she didn't vote the way we expected; second, she fought people we wanted her to support; and third, she accepted money from groups we opposed.
Answer: C. or D. Though the final choice is probably the most correct, the third may be useful in situations where space is limited, such as a social media post. The version here is approximately 138 characters long, just under the limit for a tweet.


Notes[edit]

Fairness · Importance