The dangers of the newest addition to ‘The AP Stylebook’

What you should keep in mind if you opt to use AP StyleGuard.

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Thanks to a new software program called AP StyleGuard, human intervention to improve written content is no longer necessary. All editors, please clean out your desks and report to Human Resources for your exit interview in five minutes; HR staff will provide information about career-change counseling on request.

That’s a joke, folks.

But StyleGuard is fact, not fiction. According to a press release from The Associated Press, the plug-in “is similar in functionality to Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar proofing tools and intuitively checks Word documents for the AP Stylebook‘s fundamental spelling, language, punctuation, usage, and journalistic style guidelines.”

That’s all well and good—just another layer of technological assistance for writers, like spell-checking functions—but every editorial enhancement like this increases the possibility of two unfortunate outcomes:

1. Upper management will assume that such tools obviate or reduce the need for flesh-and-blood-and-red-ink editors.

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