Student journalists need to learn SEO more than they need AP style

r2d2Robert Niles has a write-up about teaching journalism students SEO more than AP. Go read the whole thing.

Last week, journalists reacting to the Associated Press’s announcement that it would replace “Web site” with “website” in the AP Stylebook pushed the phrase “AP Stylebook” onto Twitter’s trending topics list. (FWIW, OJR’s style for the past several years has been to use “website.”)

Most journalists approved of the news, though a few skeptics, such as the University of Florida’s Mindy McAdams, demurred. Though I disagree with her on this, I loved the snark of her Twitter response: “Everyone but me is cheering AP style change to website. I think it resembles parasite.”

I jumped in with this: “If you’re publishing online, Google style (i.e. SEO) always trumps AP style.”

And… “Really, j-schools need to ditch AP style and start teaching their students SEO instead. More valuable to their careers.”

As much as I enjoy provoking folks from time to time, I am serious about this. The newspaper industry developed a common style, maintained by the Associated Press, to meet the communication needs of a print-based industry trying to most effectively communicate with a broad audience.

Today’s online publishers, editors and reporters need a new style that most effectively allows their words to reach their intended audiences. Unfortunately for them, the print-inspired AP style is not that. Today’s (and tomorrow’s) journalists need to learn search engine optimization [SEO] techniques as much as, if not more than their predecessors who worked the print industry needed to learn AP.

Source: OJR with a hat tip to Journerdism

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