A highlight of the national conference of the American Copy Editors Society has been the AP Stylebook sessions, featuring Darrell Christian and David Minthorn, two of the three Stylebook editors. Both are understated fellows who treat every Stylebook change as no big deal before Twitter erupts in glee or consternation over website as a single word, hyphenless email, or over as a perfectly fine synonym for more than.
Along with style duties, Christian was responsible for AP’s Top Stories desk, a desk he created in 2008. He has served as sports editor, business editor, managing editor and editor at large during more than 40 years with the Associated Press.
“Darrell’s retirement party on Good Friday might be the best sendoff I’ve ever attended,” said Colleen Newvine, product manager for the AP Stylebook. “It was heartfelt and funny and really spoke to the excellence he demanded of himself and others.”
Christian’s retirement announcement from AP had this to say:
When the Stylebook team was faced with drafting a new entry that was likely to be controversial, the writing job was often given to Darrell. With clarity and precision, he crafted entries that broke new ground for the industry while always reflecting AP’s high standards for balance and objectivity.
Christian started in journalism while still in high school, as a sports writer in Henderson, Kentucky. He was sports editor two years later, in 1966. After leaving the Navy in 1972, he joined AP in Indianapolis. He moved to the Washington bureau in 1980 and soon joined the sports desk in New York. He was named AP managing editor in 1992.
I like to quote something Christian said at the ACES conference in Phoenix when I think people are taking the AP Stylebook positions a bit too seriously.
“We don’t impose our style,” he said; local stylebook are important and encouraged.
Newvine said veteran AP editor Paula Froke will be joining Minthorn and Sally Jacobsen on the three-person Stylebook editors team.