Punctuation Update

Quotation marks in a bubble

The Reuters Style Guide offers guidance about grammar and word usage. It is free and an excellent resource for you.

http://handbook.reuters.com/index.php?title=The_Reuters_Style_Guide&oldid=251

Dateline

For example:

NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) –
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Sept 12 (Reuters) –

Put your byline underneath

by Chris Valentin

Quotation Marks

Periods, commas, question marks and exclamation points go inside the quotation marks.

Example:

Billy Collins stood in line to vote and looked up when someone asked why he came out to vote early, “I haven’t voted in 30 years and now I’m here.” he said.

Use a comma before the quotation.

Example:

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell warned residents about the dangerous hurricane heading their way. She said, “This is not a drill.”

The first letter of the first word in a quote is capitalized.

Example:

N.B.A. star LeBron James and other prominent black athletes and entertainers started a group aimed at protecting African American voting rights and encouraging people to vote.

“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” Mr. James said. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.”

Covering the Biden and Trump Town Halls

Michael M. Grynbaum

By Michael M. Grynbaum

  • Oct. 15, 2020, 7:00 a.m. EST
  • The presidential candidates will respond to questions from voters in prime time on Thursday at two live, nationally televised town-hall-style events. Unusually, the programs will be broadcast at the same time on rival networks, although recordings of each event will be available to viewers afterward.
  • Joseph R. Biden Jr. will appear at an ABC News forum held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and moderated by ABC’s chief news anchor, George Stephanopoulos. The event begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time and is expected to last 90 minutes. A 30-minute wrap-up show, featuring analysis from ABC political reporters and pundits, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m.
  • About 21 voters from across Pennsylvania, of varying political views, will be on hand to ask Mr. Biden questions. Mr. Stephanopoulos will guide the discussion and follow up on some of the queries.
  • Mr. Biden’s town hall can be seen on ABC television stations throughout the country. It will also be streamed on ABC News Live, an online service that can be watched on Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV and other streaming platforms, as well as the ABC News website.
  • President Trump’s NBC News event will be held outdoors at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami and will be moderated by the “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie. The broadcast starts at 8 p.m. Eastern and is expected to last for about an hour.

Read More

Biden, Facing Voters in a 2020 Rarity, Attacks Trump From a Battleground State

At a town hall event near Scranton, Pa., the Democratic nominee played up his local roots as he sought to connect with voters after many months off the campaign trail during the pandemic.


By Katie Glueck
Sept. 17, 2020


Joseph R. Biden Jr. faced his first sustained questioning from voters as the Democratic presidential nominee on Thursday, as Pennsylvanians pressed him on issues including health care, racism and policing at a CNN town-hall-style event held less than seven weeks before Election Day.
At a gathering in Moosic, Pa., not far from his childhood home in Scranton, Mr. Biden — who played up his local, middle-class roots — sought at every opportunity to turn the focus to President Trump’s stewardship of the coronavirus, casting the president as a callous leader who cannot empathize with the concerns of most Americans and who has exacerbated the hardships they face.
“You lost your freedom because he didn’t act,” Mr. Biden declared. “The freedom to go to that ballgame, the freedom for your kid to go to school, the freedom to see your mom or dad in the hospital. The freedom just to walk around your neighborhood, because of failure to act responsibly.”

The appearance offered a test of his verbal agility less than two weeks before the first presidential debate, after Mr. Biden spent the summer largely off the campaign trail with limited and often controlled interactions with the news media. Headed into the evening, he may have benefited from the low expectations Republicans have set about his ability to communicate clearly, seeking to throw doubt on his mental acuity.

Read More

The New York Daily News

Biden reminds America he’s not president after Trump tries to pass the buck on coronavirus mask mandate

You can’t order Americans to wear masks if you aren’t president yet.

Joe Biden reminded President Trump that he’s the one who’s supposed to be running the country — not Democrats — after a rocky televised town hall hosted by ABC News in which the president sought to pass the buck on his bungled response to coronavirus.

Trump squirmed Tuesday night when a retired chemical engineer asked him why he hasn’t pushed mask-wearing to slow the spread of coronavirus even as the pandemic death toll nears 200,000 Americans.

The president tried to flip the question onto Democrats and Biden, even though they obviously have no power to do implement a national mandate and cannot force Trump himself to be a role model as the voter suggested.

“They called for a national mask mandate but they haven’t done it,” he said. “They checked out.”

Trump went on to claim that “many people have a problem with masks,” suggesting that waiters wind up causing more health problems by touching their masks while serving diners.

The mask misstep was only one of a series of shocking gaffes Trump committed in the rare face-to-face encounter with real Americans.

Trump sought to walk back his damaging admission that he “aways downplayed” the pandemic even as he was told it was far more dangerous than most Americans knew last winter.

“I actually up-played it,” Trump said in a stilted remark that is sure to find its way into critical campaign ads.

One voter who needs daily medication to survive chided Trump four interrupting her when she asked him a pointed question about protection for people with preexisting conditions.

An uncomfortable Trump claimed that he doesn’t want to eliminate those protections, even though his move to eliminate Obamacare would do just that.

When Trump sought to claim that he is preparing to roll out his own health care plan soon, ABC News host George Stephanopolous reminded him that he has been making similar claims for four years now.

The town hall featured voters in battleground Pennsylvania. If the tough crowd is any indication of how Trump may fare at the ballot box in November, he is in a world of trouble.RELATED GALLERY

Joe Biden

(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)1 / 18

Joe Biden’s political career through the years

A Philadelphia pastor quizzed Trump about racism in America, and Trump responded by discussing the occasional looting and violence committed at some racial justice protests.

Rev. Carl Day came away profoundly unimpressed, even though he added that he hasn’t heard enough from Biden to win his vote yet, either.

“He gave his answer by not answering,” Day said on CNN Wednesday morning.

The town hall setting is a particularly poor format for the normally bombastic Trump, who is visibly uncomfortable interacting with anyone except his sycophantic aides and loyal #MAGA supporters.

The upcoming three debates with Biden may be a better fit for Trump, who will get a better chance to fire zingers at his Democratic opponent.

Either way, time is running out for Trump to turn the race around. With seven weeks to go and voters already casting ballots early in some states, he is trailing Biden by nearly 10% in national polls and is behind in all the battleground states, albeit by smaller margins.Dave GoldinerNew York Daily NewsCONTACT 


Dave Goldiner is a political reporter at the New York Daily News. A 30-year newsroom veteran, he believes he is the only reporter to cover both the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the death and funeral of South African freedom icon Nelson Mandela on the ground.

Conspiracies And Consequences

The New York Times

By Nicholas Bogel-BurroughsShaila Dewan and Kathleen Gray

Six men were arrested and accused of plotting with a militia group to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, the authorities announced on Thursday.

The men, who the F.B.I. said espoused anti-government views, had talked about taking Ms. Whitmer, a Democrat, hostage since at least the summer, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court and unsealed on Thursday.

They had surveilled Ms. Whitmer’s vacation home in August and September, and they indicated that they wanted to take her hostage before the presidential election in November, Richard J. Trask II, an F.B.I. special agent, said in the criminal complaint. He said the F.B.I. believed the men were planning to buy explosives this week for their attempt.

Several of the men had talked about creating a society in which they could be “self-sufficient” and one said he wanted 200 men to storm the Statehouse in Lansing, Mich, the complaint said.

Six men were arrested and accused of plotting with a militia group to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, the authorities announced on Thursday.

The men, who the F.B.I. said espoused anti-government views, had talked about taking Ms. Whitmer, a Democrat, hostage since at least the summer, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court and unsealed on Thursday.

They had surveilled Ms. Whitmer’s vacation home in August and September, and they indicated that they wanted to take her hostage before the presidential election in November, Richard J. Trask II, an F.B.I. special agent, said in the criminal complaint. He said the F.B.I. believed the men were planning to buy explosives this week for their attempt.

Several of the men had talked about creating a society in which they could be “self-sufficient” and one said he wanted 200 men to storm the Statehouse in Lansing, Mich, the complaint said.

Read More:

The New York Daily News

The FBI thwarted a sinister plot to overthrow Michigan’s state government and kidnap several political figures, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the agency said in a series of warrants unsealed Thursday.

At least six men have been charged in the investigation, which began in the early days of the pandemic as a group opposed to the Democratic leader’s strict lockdown measures began planning to storm the state Capitol with Molotov cocktails and take her as a hostage, according to the documents.

Criminal Complaint

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/08/politics/whitmer-kidnapping-criminal-complaint/index.html

https://mediaschool.indiana.edu/research/reports/wave-1.html?utm_source=API+Need+to+Know+newsletter&utm_campaign=e7b929d6b0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_10_06_12_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e3bf78af04-e7b929d6b0-45816177

Writing A News Conference Story

Think about the atmosphere, what you heard and how other people reacted.

What was the most important point made. Lead with that.

Make sure to give us the basics. You want to avoid giving us a list of items, but you want to cover all the bases and answer the questions:

Who

What

Where

When

Why

How

Make sure you spell names correctly and that you use titles. Titles are only capitalized when they precede the name of a person.

Here’s what the AP Stylebook says about titles:

titles  In general, confine capitalization to formal titles used directly before an individual’s name. The basic guidelines: LOWERCASE: Lowercase and spell out titles when they are not used with an [more…]
Chapter T ; Updated on Aug 27, 2018

capitalization  In general, avoid unnecessary capitals. Use a capital letter only if you can justify it by one of the principles listed here. Many words and phrases, including special cases, are listed [more…]
Chapter C ; Updated on May 21, 2002

titles  Capitalize or use lowercase according to guidelines in titles in Stylebook’s main section. Job descriptions, field positions and informal titles are lowercase: coach John Calipari; forward Alex [more…]
Chapter Sports Guidelines ; Created on Feb 03, 2015

legislative titles  FIRST-REFERENCE FORM: Use Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles before one or more names. Spell out and lowercase representative and senator in other uses. Spell out other [more…]
Chapter L ; Updated on May 01, 2020

nobility  References to members of the nobility in nations that have a system of rank present special problems because nobles frequently are known by their titles rather than their given or family [more…]
Chapter N

religious titles  The first reference to a clergyman or clergywoman normally should include a capitalized title before the individual’s name. In many cases, the Rev. is the designation that applies [more…]
Chapter R

religious titles  The first reference to a clergyman or clergywoman normally should include a capitalized title before the individual’s name. In many cases, the Rev. is the designation that applies [more…]
Chapter Religion Guidelines

academic titles  Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chancellor, chair, etc., when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere. Lowercase modifiers such as department in department Chair Jerome [more…]
Chapter A ; Updated on May 01, 2020

preacher  A job description, not a formal religious title. Do not capitalize. See titles and religious titles.
Chapter Religion Guidelines

military titles  Capitalize a military rank when used as a formal title before an individual’s name. See the lists that follow to determine whether the title should be spelled out or abbreviated in [more…]
Chapter M

minister  It is not a formal title in most religions, with exceptions such as the Nation of Islam, and is not capitalized. Where it is a formal title, it should be capitalized before the name: Minister [more…]
Chapter M ; Updated on May 29, 2002

minister  It is not a formal title in most religions, with exceptions such as the Nation of Islam, and is not capitalized. Where it is a formal title, it should be capitalized before the name: [more…]
Chapter Religion Guidelines ; Updated on May 29, 2002

fire department  See the governmental bodies entry for the basic rules on capitalization. See titles and military titles for guidelines on titles.
Chapter F

recipe titles  Recipe titles that appear in stories or regular text are not capitalized (unless the recipe title includes proper nouns). Recipe titles at the top of actual recipes are written in all [more…]
Chapter Food Guidelines ; Created on Jan 15, 2016

priest  A vocational description, not a formal title. Do not capitalize. See religious titles and the entries for the Roman Catholic Church and Episcopal Church in the Religion chapter.
Chapter P

priest  A vocational description, not a formal title. Do not capitalize. See religious titles and the entries for the Roman Catholic Church and Episcopal Church.
Chapter Religion Guidelines

editor  Capitalize editor before a name only when it is an official corporate or organizational title. Do not capitalize as a job description. See titles.
Chapter E

composition titles  Apply these guidelines to the titles of books, movies, plays, poems, albums, songs, operas, radio and television programs, lectures, speeches, and works of art: — Capitalize all [more…]
Chapter C ; Updated on Feb 02, 2018

Roman Catholic Church  The church teaches that its bishops have been established as the successors of the apostles through generations of ceremonies in which authority was passed down by a laying-on of [more…]
Chapter Religion Guidelines ; Updated on May 01, 2002

shah  Capitalize when used as a title before a name: Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran. The Shah of Iran commonly is known only by this title, which is, in effect, an alternate name. Capitalize Shah of [more…]
Chapter S Load More

Stories to Read from The New York Times

Sept. 26, 2020, 7:00 p.m. ET

By Manny Fernandez

Texas: Does Biden actually have a shot at winning? The answer is a tossup.

A volunteer with the Harris County Democratic Party directed people to a Houston drive-in event to watch the national convention last month.
A volunteer with the Harris County Democratic Party directed people to a Houston drive-in event to watch the national convention last month.Credit…Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Texas has 38 electoral votes. In 2016, Trump won the state by 9.0 percentage points. In 2020, it’s rated Lean Republican.

HOUSTON — It’s been a long time since a Democrat won Texas in a presidential race. “Disco Duck” ruled the airwaves and “All the President’s Men” was all the cinematic rage the last time it happened. The year was 1976, when Texans selected Jimmy Carter over Gerald R. Ford.

Nearly 44 years later, people in Texas and beyond are wondering if Mr. Biden can pull a Jimmy Carter. The answer so far is yes, no, maybe not and maybe so. You hear some version of the four depending on whom you ask and whether they live mentally or physically in red Texas or blue Texas (both are a place as well as a state of mind).

“Put me down as a yes,” said State Representative César J. Blanco, a Democrat and Navy veteran in El Paso. “It’s looking like a perfect storm for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot in Texas.”

“No, I don’t see Biden being successful, and his own campaign does not either — zero serious efforts being waged 40 days out with early voting starting in just 20 days,” said David M. Carney, a Republican strategist who has advised former Gov. Rick Perry and other top Texas conservatives.

Republicans and Democrats rarely agree on anything in battleground states. In Texas, they cannot even agree on calling it a battleground. For many Democrats, the notion that Texas is a battleground state in 2020 is its own kind of victory — an acknowledgment that the decades-long Republican grip on the state has loosened and its solid red hue has started fading to purple.

A series of polls suggests such a seismic shift stirring: A New York Times/Siena College survey of Texas published Thursday found Mr. Biden trailing Mr. Trump by just three percentage points, within the poll’s margin of error.

“I don’t need to tell you, Texas is the biggest battleground state in our country,” Hillary Clinton told Texas Democrats on Thursday in a video speech at an annual fund-raising dinner.

Some Texas Republicans bristle at the description. A handful of Democrats have cut it close in Texas in recent years: Mrs. Clinton herself lost to Mr. Trump in 2016 by only nine percentage points and Beto O’Rourke was defeated by Senator Ted Cruz in 2018 by just two percentage points. But Republicans point out that the last time any Democrat won statewide office in Texas was 1994. How can a Democrat win Texas for the White House, they ask, when a Democrat cannot even win Texas for state agriculture commissioner or state attorney general?

State Senator Paul Bettencourt, a Houston Republican, sees another factor at play: the new fight over a Supreme Court nomination, which he said would help Mr. Trump energize his supporters and win votes from independents and Republicans who had been dissatisfied with him.

“I think the chance is gone at this point,” Mr. Bettencourt said of whether Mr. Biden could win Texas. “A few months ago, maybe there was a chance. But now, no. Too many hot buttons have been hit all at the same time.”READ MORESept. 26, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET

Read More

From Vanity Fair about Washington Post Protocols

In a memo to the newsroom on Wednesday morning, executive editor Marty Baron outlined five “principles for covering potential hacked or leaked material ahead of the election.” 

First principle: “Before reporting on the release of hacked or leaked information, there should be a conversation with senior editors about the newsworthiness of the information, its authenticity and whether we can determine its provenance. Our emphasis should be on making a sound and well-considered decision—not on speed. We should resist the instinct to post a story simply because a competitor has done so.”

Second principle: “Beware the echo: The fact that politicians or other organizations are reporting or commenting on hacked or leaked information does not automatically make it reportable by us.”

Third: “If a decision is made to publish a story about hacked or leaked information, our coverage should emphasize what we know—or don’t know—about the source of the information and how that may fit into a foreign or domestic influence operation. Our stories should prominently explain what we know about the full context of the information we are presenting, including its origins and the motivations of the source, including whether it appears to be an effort to distract from another development. Headlines need to be carefully vetted to make sure they do not echo propaganda.” 

Fourth: “We should avoid linking to hacked material or potential disinformation, which could amplify such material online without context. Also, while such material may be authentic, it may be part of a release that also includes doctored or falsified material.”

And last but not least: “Connect the dots: Our ongoing coverage should help readers understand how political lines of attack fit into disinformation operations. If a candidate amplifies a critique of an opponent that is also being promoted by foreign actors or domestic conspiracy theorists, we should make that clear in our stories.”

Welcome to election season 2020.