Think stylebooks are dusty reference books giving journalists guidance about the Oxford comma? Think again! Increasingly, stylebooks must provide journalists with context and background for all sorts of complex issues, from how to use the proper pronoun to whether an attack is “terrorism.” Join three of the nation’s top copy editors, including two editors of the AP Stylebook, to talk about the evolution of style, get tips and advice on how to formulate coverage guidance for your own newsroom and brainstorm how to find a middle ground on thorny issues you wouldn’t have had to confront even five years ago.
Panelists: Anna Jo Bratton, David Brindley, Jeff McMillan
ANNA JO BRATTON has been a reporter, editor and manager at The Associated Press for more than a decade. She is currently the deputy director for newsgathering in the AP’s West region, overseeing news coverage in all formats for a 13-state territory. She has been at the helm of some of the region’s most important stories, including the deadly warehouse fire in Oakland, California, in 2016; the Arizona wildfire that killed 19 firefighters in 2013; and the Colorado theater shooting in 2012. She also has played a lead role in the AP’s coverage of marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage, and serves on the AP Stylebook committee. She started her AP career in Nebraska, where she covered government, politics and the 2008 presidential race.
DAVID BRINDLEY is an editor, writer, researcher and strategic planner with more than 20 years’ experience in publishing. He is managing editor of National Geographic magazine and oversees production of the monthly publication with worldwide distribution of 8 million print copies and the largest digital subscription base of any magazine in North America. He joined the staff in 2002 and has led the research and fact-checking division, created the first-ever copy desk for the magazine and serves as chair of the National Geographic Style Committee. Previously he was a senior editor at Bon Appétit magazine, a reporter at U.S. News & World Report and a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution. Brindley graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics. He lives in Washington, D.C., and frequently performs as a cast member for the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center.
JEFF McMILLAN is the Eastern U.S. enterprise editor for The Associated Press, overseeing efforts to cultivate and execute high-end enterprise, investigative journalism and cross-format storytelling for 10 states from Ohio to Maine. He is also a member of the AP Stylebook team and helped lead the creation of sections on gender and addiction. He previously was the breaking-news manager for the AP’s East region, a supervisor on the AP’s former national desk, a copy and graphics editor at Newsday and a copy editor at the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. He is a past officer of NLGJA chapters in Philadelphia and Minnesota, as well as a past member of the national board. He lives in Philadelphia.