AP Style changes to website

I saw a status update on Facebook saying that AP style "gave in" and changed Web site to website, so I did a google search and found this. The update will be published in the new edition of the Stylebook, which is being released next month, and it was changed today for the online version. I was curious to see what the rest of the class thought about the change? Is it necessary? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? I know I've gotten marks on assignments for writing website, rather than the old form, Web site, because it is commonly written as one word. If you do a google search for "Web site," it will say "Did you mean website?" When I say "website," I think of it as one word, one thing that generalizes a bunch of possibilities, not a proper noun referring to one thing that should be capitalized. I like the change, although as a broadcast journalist, it does not affect me as much. I think the print journalists (who are much more accustomed to writing Web site) will have a much different opinion than I do.
Another aspect of the change I wanted to address is how will it affect other words that contain "Web?" The new listing says, "Also, webcam, webcast and webmaster. But as a short form and in terms with separate words, the Web, Web page and Web feed." I would assume that if the word is not specifically listed here, like website, webcam, webcast and webmaster, then it should be Web blank. Would this be correct? What are other examples, not given in the post, of words that could be unclear? Do you think that eventually, all of the words will change to webpage, webfeed, etc.?


Matt Wilson said...

I think this is a really practical change and I personally am thrilled that the AP finally changed it. They get a bad reputation about being slow to make changes and for the most parts it's true. I'm sure that 15 or 20 years ago when the term "Web site" first started being used, that was the proper form, but nobody says it or writes it that way anymore. It never even really looked right. I got that wrong on a few papers too before it got burned into my head that it was "Web site" not "website" like it should be. That's something that it wouldn't even occur to me to check because using "website" is so common now.

I think for now it's still fine to capitalize things like "the Web" because that is a proper noun and I wouldn't expect the AP to make such a big jump all at one time. I think over time though, something like "Web page" could eventually become one word because the Web has become such an integrated part of our vocabulary that people just forget that the Web and the Internet are not the same thing.

"E-mail" is another that they probably ought to consider changing. It is pretty commonly referred to as "email" anymore and that is another reference that would be easy to forget because it is so outdated.

Linda Blachly said...

I totally agree with Matt and Whitney on website. Three years ago when I started my travel magazine and website, www.tripsandgetaways.com, I decided to follow AP Style, with the exception of website. I still think that when references are made to the World Wide Web, Web (standing alone) should be capitalized. And yes, I would love to see e-mail changed to email sometime soon. AP needs to join the rest of the world.