Manitou Messenger Style Guide

The Manitou Messenger uses the AP Stylebook as its point of reference for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and abbreviations. We keep copies of the AP Stylebook in the Mess office. You can also subscribe to the online guide here.

As a Messenger reporter, you’ll often have to write about St. Olaf specific topics and language that are not included in the AP Stylebook. Messenger specific style rules can be found in the stylebook below.

Here are the Top 10 AP Style corrections that the Mess editors make

1. Beware of the oxford comma! The Manitou Messenger doesn’t use it. There should be no comma between the last two items in a list. (The Messenger staff is fun, friendly and hardworking).

2. Dates should include only numbers, no “th,” “rd,” or “st” (May 25, 2015).

3. Months Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec., are abbreviated in dates as shown. Spell out all others. (Sept. 3, 2016; June 14, 2016). Spell out all months when only a month and year is included (January 2016).

4. Numbers one through nine should be spelled out (one, two, three…). All numbers 10 and above should be written as figures (11, 12, 100). When a number proceeds a word like “million,” “billion,” or “trillion,” it should be written as a figure (He spent over $1 million on his new home).

4. All references to books, movies, song, shows, etc. should be put in QUOTATION MARKS. Do not underline or italicize. (This spring the group will perform “Cabaret” in Kelsey Theater.) Religious texts and books of reference are exceptions to this rule. (The New York Times, the Bible, CNN, the World Encyclopedia).

5. Use “said” when citing spoken quotes. No “whispered,” “yelled,” “asked,” etc.

“Said” usually goes after a name when the source has no formal title (“I love the Mess,” Conlan Campbell ’18 said.).

“Said” usually goes before a name when the source’s formal title is used (“I love the Mess,” said Manitou Messenger Managing Editor Conlan Campbell ’18.).

6. Website titles and email addresses are italicized (,

7. When writing about time of day, use only the numeral (6, not 6:00) followed by a.m. or p.m.

8. A person’s title is only capitalized if it comes before their name, not after. (Visiting Assistant Professor of English Kaethe Schwehn; Kaethe Schwehn, an English professor).

9. Always include class year for students and alumni on first mention. After first mention, refer to the source by their last name only. (“I like living in Hillboe, but it’s pretty far away,” Cassidy Neuner ’18 said. Neuner is looking to living in Ytterboe Hall next year.)

10. Dashes should have spaces on either side ( – ), and so should ellipses ( … ).

Manitou Messenger Stylebook


abortion – use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice.

academic degrees – unless the individual is a doctor of medicine, do not use Dr. before his or her name. See AP Stylebook.

Academic Advising Center – provides support in exploring academic goals.

Academic Support Center – helps students develop learning strategies while at St. Olaf.

accept, exceptaccept means to receive; except means to exclude.

act numbers – Use Arabic figures and capitalize act: Act 1; Act 2; Scene 2. But, the first act, the second act.

addresses – use the abbreviations (Ave., Blvd., etc.) only with a numbered address. Spell out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number (Pennsylvania Avenue).

affect, effect – to affect is a verb, an effect is a noun.

Africa and the Americas – concentration.

After Dark Committee (ADC)ADC acceptable on second reference.

Agnes a Cappella – nine-voice female a cappella music ensemble.

albums – see composition titles.

alma mater

Alpha Phi Omega (APO) – service fraternity. APO acceptable on second reference.

Alumni and Parent Relations – stewardship of the college.

alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae – Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women.

a.m., p.m. – lowercase, with periods.

American studies – major.

American conversations – two-year academic program. Do not use Am con.

American racial and multicultural studies – two-year academic program. ARMS acceptable on second reference.

ampersand (&) – Use the ampersand when it is part of a company’s formal name or composition title. Do not use in place of and.

ancient studies – major.

anthropology/sociology – major.

athletics director – capitalize when used as a title. Athletics is plural.

attribution – identify students by name and class year (Becca Carcaterra ’18). Do not include middle names or initials.

Annual Giving – gifts to the college, that are made annually and spent within one fiscal year.

April – see months.

Archives – preserves and restores archives of the college.

art and art history – major.

Flaten Art Museum – exhibits regional, national and international art.

Asian Cultures Association (ACA)ACA acceptable on second reference.

Asian conversations – two-year academic program.

Asian studies – major.

August – see months.



band – a single entity; therefore, reference as it in a story. Band members are correctly referred to as they. For St. Olaf bands, see entries under individual band names.

Bethel College – located in Roseville, Minnesota.

biology –major.

biomedical studies – concentration.

biomolecular studies – concentration.

Black and Gold Ballroom – space for events on the third floor of Buntrock Commons.

Board of Regents – manages and directs the business affairs of St. Olaf. Identify with the College on first reference.

Board of Regents Student Committee – liaison between SGA and the Board of Regents. BORSC acceptable on second reference.

books – see composition titles.

bookstore – see St. Olaf Bookstore.

building names – click here for a comprehensive list of building names, as well as landmarks, at St. Olaf.

Bylines – writers for the news, sports, and arts and entertainment sections receive bylines. For variety, use only the author’s name and class year. For opinions, use the following format



Cantorei – upper-class choir.

CARE Ministry – Christian peer-counseling.

Carleton College – located in Northfield, Minn.

Catholic Student Association (CSA)CSA acceptable on second reference.

Center for Experiential Learning (CEL)CEL acceptable on second reference.

Center for Integrative Studies (CIS) CIS acceptable on second reference.

Chapel Choir – upper-class choir.

Chemistry – major.

Chess Club

China studies – concentration.

Chinese Culture Club

Christian Activities Network (CAN)CAN acceptable on second reference.

classics – major.

(the) College – when using in place of St. Olaf, capitalize.

College Democrats

College of St. Benedict – located in St. Joseph, Minn. St. Ben’s acceptable on second reference.

College of St. Catherine – located in St. Paul, Minn. St. Kate’s acceptable on second reference.

College Republicans

composition titles – in quotes, except for holy books, books of reference (such as encyclopedias) and softwares.

computer science – major.

Concordia College – located in Moorhead, Minn.

cop – may be used in an Opinions piece, but may be considered a derogatory term. Always use public safety officer when referring to campus police.

copy editor, copy editing, copy-edit

courses – use the official course title and capitalize it. History 199: Introduction to the Civil War. On subsequent reference, use the department and course number.

courtesy titles – refer to both men and women by first and last name. Do not use courtesy titles, unless needed to distinguish between people with the same last name.

Cultural Union for Black Expression (CUBE)CUBE acceptable on second reference.

Cycling Club



dance – major.

dates – see months.

data – plural noun, it take plural verbs and pronouns. See the collective nouns entry in the AP Stylebook for further guidelines and exceptions.

decades – use Arabic figures to indicate decades of history. Use an apostrophe to indicate decades that are left out; show plural by adding the letter s; the1890s, the ’90s, the Gay ’90s.

dean – capitalize when use as part of a formal name.

dean’s list – lowercase in all uses.

degrees – see academic degrees.

departments – capitalize St. Olaf Department of Physics, St. Olaf Department of English, etc., but not chemistry department or media studies department. See guidelines on academic department. Do not capitalize campus office names (residence life). It is preferred that St. Olaf does not precede office names. See individual listings for more information, as well as AP Stylebook for more details.

Department of Athletics – not Athletics Department.

dining hallStav Hall to be used for News stories. Caf acceptable for Variety and Opinions stories.

director – capitalize when used as part of a formal name. Lowercase when used for an occupation.

dorm – acceptable for use in Opinions and Variety stories. Use full name of residence hall in all other uses.

drunken drivingDWI (driving while intoxicated) preferred.


economics – major.

education – major.

email – no hyphen.

emergency medical technician (EMT)EMT preferred for all references.

English – major. Note capitalization.

environmental studies – major and concentration.

Eta Sigma Phi – classics honor society.

exercise science – major.

Experiential Learning – see Center for Experiential Learning.


Facebook – online social networking website for people of all ages. Always refer to the user’s profile.

faculty – singular noun.

fall break – not capitalized.

family studies – major.

February – see months.

financial aid

Film Club

films – see composition titles.

first year, first-year – noun vs. adjective. “He was a good writer,” the first year said. He was a first-year guard.

Five Guys Theatre Group

French – major.

freshman – do not use. Instead, use first-year or first year, depending on its use. See first year, first-year.


Gay, Lesbian or Whatever! (GLOW)GLOW acceptable on second reference.

German – major.

Gmail – St. Olaf web-based email solution instituted August 2008. Do not use hyphen.


grades – use A-plus, A, A-minus, etc; in headlines, use A-, B+, etc. When referring to a plural grade, use an apostrophe between the letter grade and the s; She received B’s and C’s.

great conversation – two-year program.

Gustavus Adolphus College – located in St. Peter, Minn.


Habitat for Humanity

Hamline University – located in St. Paul, Minn.

health services

Highway 3 – main road in Northfield.

(the) Hill – always capitalize.

Hispanic Studies – major.

history – major.

Hmong Culture Outreach (HCO)HCO acceptable on second reference.

Homecoming – always capitalize when referring to the annual celebration.


individual majors – see Center for Integrative Studies.

informational and instructional technologies – IIT acceptable on second reference.

international and off-campus studies – do not abbreviate.

International Development Student Organization

International Students Organization (ISO)ISO acceptable on second reference.

iPhone, iPod


January – see months.

Japan studies – facet of Asian studies.

Jewish Student Organization

Judo Club

June – see months.

July – see months.


Karibu Association – African student organization.

Kings Room – dining facility located on the third floor of Buntrock.

Kmart – no hyphen. Located on Highway 3 in Dundas.

Korean Culture Association (KCA)KCA acceptable on second reference.

KSTO – student-run radio station.


lake – capitalize as part of a proper name.

Lake Calhoun – located in Minneapolis, Minn.

Lake Harriet – located in Minneapolis, Minn.

Lake Minnetonka – located in Minnetonka, Minn.

Land of 10,000 Lakes

Latin – facet of the Classics department.

lectures/speeches – see composition titles.

legislative titles – use Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles preceding one or more names in a story. Spell out the title in direct quotations. In other uses, spell out and lowercase senator and representative. When referring to the student Senate, capitalize Senator when it comes before a name, otherwise lowercase.


Limestones – see The Limestones.

Lincoln Street – street that runs parallel to Old Main and holds several honor houses. Unless a specific house number is to be used, use Street in its entirety.

Linguistic studies – concentration.

lyrics – when used in a story, use quotes. To indicate the end of a line, use a backslash (/) followed by a space at the beginning of the next line.



Macalester College – located in St. Paul, Minn.

Mall of America – located in Bloomington, Minn. MOA acceptable on second reference.

Manitou Singers – women’s first-year chorus.

March – see months.

Math Association of America

management studies – concentration.

Manitou Messenger – when the newspaper must reference itself, the full name is preferred. Consult the executive editors when this issue arises.

mathematics – major.

May – see months.

media studies – concentration.

medieval studies – concentration.

men’s club hockey – note lowercase exception.

Men’s Lacrosse Club

Men’s Rugby Club

Men’s Ultimate Club

Mind-Body Studies Organization

Moodle – online classroom tool used campus-wide.

Monday Night Prayer

months – capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using without a specific date, or when using with a year alone. When a phrase uses a month and a year, do not separate with commas (January 2000). Separate with a comma when using a month, day and year (Jan. 8, 2000).

Mountain Bike Club

movie titles – see composition titles.

music – major.

Muslim Student Association

Muziko Nova – student composers group.



National Association of Teachers of Singing – St. Olaf Chapter

nationalities and races – capitalize the proper names of races, nationalities, peoples, tribes, etc. Lowercase black, white, etc. See race in the AP Stylebook for guidelines on when racial identification is appropriate in a story.

NCAA – National Collegiate Athletics Association. NCAA on first reference acceptable only in sports stories, spell out in others.

neuroscience – concentration.

Neuroscience Club

newspaper names – see composition titles.


Nordic Studies – note capitalization. Concentration.

Norseman Band – student ensemble.


Northfield High SchoolNHS acceptable on second reference.

Northfield Police Department

Northfield Transit – transportation system that runs throughout Northfield for St. Olaf and Carleton students.

Norwegian – major.

November – see months.

numerals – Spell out a number at the beginning of a sentence (except a numeral that is a year). In general, spell out whole numbers below 10 unless they precede million, billion, or trillion. Use figures for 10 and above. See the AP Stylebook for additional guidelines.

nursing – major.


Oles for Justice in Palestine (OJP)OJP acceptable on second reference.

Oles Helping

Omicron Delta Epsilon


Peace and Justice Resource Network

periodicals – see composition titles.

Phi Beta Kappa – most highly regarded academic honor in the United States.

Phi Alpha Theta – history honor society.

Philharmonia – orchestra.

philosophy – major.

physics – major.

plays – see composition titles.

poetry – see composition titles.

police department – see Public Safety or Northfield Police Department.

political science – major.

Pre-Med Club

President, president – capitalize as part of formal title. President David Anderson. Lowercase as generic title.

Presente – Hispanic/Latino student organization.

profanity – refer to profanity guidelines for more information.

Psi Chi – psychology honor society.

psychology – major.

Psychology Club

Public Safety – always capitalize, with or without St. Olaf preceding.


quad – un-official center of St. Olaf’s campus. Not capitalized.

Quarry – see The Quarry.

quotations – see attribution.


race – see nationalities and races.

Reed – see The Reed.

residence halls – never use dorm. Use proper name on first reference. For a complete listing of residence halls, see buildings.

residence advisorRA acceptable on second reference.

residence life

religion – major.

room numbers – specify residence hall and indicate room number. Ytterboe 315.

Russian Choir

Russian Film Club

Russian language and area studies – major.


Saint John’s University – Located in Collegeville, Minn. Note Saint.

Saint Mary’s University – Located in Winona, Minn. Note Saint.

Scared Scriptless – student group devoted to improvisational theater.

second reference – in this style guide, it means any reference other than the first reference in a story.

senate – capitalize all specific references to governmental legislative bodies (regardless if the name of the nation is used). The U.S. Senate. The Minnesota Senate. Lowercase plural uses and references to non-governmental bodies. Capitalize Senate as it relates to St. Olaf’s student Senate.

Sexual Assault Resource Network (SARN)SARN acceptable on second reference.

social studies education – major.

social work – major.

Society for Ancient History

software titles – capitalize. Only put in quotes if the title is for a computer game.

Statistics – major.

song titles – see composition titles.

statistics – major.

Stitches for Peace

St. Olaf Alumni Mentor Connection – pairs students with St. Olaf alumni to form mentorships.

St. Olaf Avenue – houses many St. Olaf honor houses. Never use Ole Avenue. Unless a specific address is used, spell out Avenue.

St. Olaf Band – St. Olaf’s band top.

St. Olaf Chemistry Society

St. Olaf Choir – upper-class choir.

St. Olaf Dance Club

St. Olaf dance team – note lowercase.

St. Olaf Environmental Coalition

St. Olaf Equestrian Club

St. Olaf Fencing Club

St. Olaf Film Production Society

St. Olaf Garden Research and Organic Works Farm (STOGROW)STOGROW preferred for all references.

St. Olaf men’s volleyball – note lowercase.

St. Olaf Mock Trial

St. Olaf Model United Nations

St. Olaf Orchestra

St. Olaf Pre-Law Society

St. Olaf Rowing Club

St. Olaf’s Cancer ConnectionSCC acceptable on second reference.

St. Olaf Ski and Snowboard Club

St. Olaf Swing Club

St. Olaf waterski and wakeboard team – note lowercase.

St. Olaf women’s lacrosse – note lowercase.

St. Olaf women’s rugby – note lowercase.

St. Paul’s Outreach

Student Congregation – coordinates volunteers and dedicates offerings for the worship services conducted in Boe Chapel.

Student Government Association (SGA)SGA preferred on second reference.

Student Information System (SIS) – campus-wide database solution. SIS acceptable on second reference.

Student Nurses Association

Students for Reproductive Health (SRHC)SRHC acceptable on second reference.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy



Taekwondo Club

Taiko Drumming Group

Talking Circle – student organization related to American Indian issues and culture.

Team Tibet

television shows – see composition titles.

The Collective for Change on the Hill – a student group dedicated to improving race relations and solving racial issues at St. Olaf. The Collective acceptable on second reference.

The Limestones – student men’s a capella group.

The Quarry – St. Olaf’s literary magazine

The Reed – interdisciplinary journal that publishes poetry, creative writing, literary criticism and philosophical essays related to existentialism.

The Runestones – student group of accordion players.

theater – major.

Theta Alpha Phi – theater honor society.

Tri Beta – biology club.

TRIO – educational support program serving the nation’s youth.


U.S. – acceptable in all cases as an adjective for United States.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities – located in Minneapolis, Minn.

University of St. Thomas – located in St. Paul, Minn.



Valhalla Band – student conducted and operated band at St. Olaf.

Viking Chorus – men’s first-year choir.

Viking Yearbook

vulgarities – refer to guidlines on profanity.

Vox – speech and forensics group.



women’s ultimate – note lowercase.

Sports Style


batting average – see numbers.

ERA – abbreviation for earned run average. Written as ERA on every reference.

home run

left field, left fielder, left-field line, outfield, outfielder

line up – verb.

lineup – noun.

Mabel Shirley Field – home of St. Olaf softball.

RBI – abbreviation for runs batted in. Written as RBI on every reference. Plural form is RBIs.

Mark Almli Field – home of St. Olaf baseball.

strikeout – noun.

struck out – verb.


Final Four – name given to the NCAA Division I national semifinalists.

field goal, field-goal percentage

free throw, free-throw line

jump shot

Skoglund Center – home to St. Olaf men’s and women’s basketball.



Bowl Championship SeriesBCS acceptable on second reference.

downs – written with the number of the down and the yardage to go, in numeral format. The Oles faced a third-and-5 from their own 15.

numbers – use figures for yardage. The 5-yard line.


blue line

face off – verb.

faceoff – noun, adjective.


Northfield Ice Arena – St. Olaf home ice arena, located on Highway 3 in Northfield.

power play

power-play goal

two-on-one break


MIAC – abbreviation for Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. MIAC acceptable for all references.

Augsburg College – located in Minneapolis, Minn. Auggies.

Bethel University – located in St. Paul, Minn. Royals.

Carleton College – located in Northfield, Minn. Knights. Never use Carls.

Concordia College – located in Moorhead, Minn. Cobbers.

Gustavus Adolphus College – located in St. Peter, Minn. Gusties.

Hamline University – located in St. Paul, Minn. Pipers.

Macalester College – located in St. Paul, Minn. Scots.

College of St. Benedict – located in St. Joseph, Minn. Blazers.

College of St. Catherine – located in St. Paul, Minn. Wildcats.

Saint John’s University – located in Collegeville, Minn. Johnnies.

Saint Mary’s University – located in Winona, Minn. Cardinals.

St. Olaf College – located in Northfield, Minn. Oles.

University of St. Thomas – located in St. Paul, Minn. Tommies.


defender – rather than defenseman.




penalty kick

red card, yellow card

Rolf Melby Field – home to St. Olaf men’s and women’s soccer.


Swimming and Diving

backstroke – refer to as back on second reference.

breaststroke – refer to as breast on second reference.

butterfly – refer to as fly on second reference.

distances – do not hyphenate. 100 backstroke, 200 free. 100-meter also acceptable.

freestyle – refer to as free on second reference.

individual medley – refer to as IM on second reference.

Skoglund Center – home to St. Olaf men’s and women’s swimming.



Carlson Courts – home of St. Olaf men’s and women’s tennis.

deuce – 40-all.

double fault

game – first player/doubles team to 40 (must win by two).

set – a set is won by a player/doubles team winning six games. If a set is tied 6-6, a tiebreaker results.


match – a college match is broken into two sections: singles and doubles. There are nine points; six singles matches and three doubles matches. The team that wins five matches (best of nine) wins the match.

Track and Field

distances100-meter, 200-meter sprint.






game – volleyball matches are won by a team winning three of five games. The first team to 30 points (by at least a two point margin), wins a game.


middle blocker

middle hitter

outside hitter




decision – when a wrestler wins a match by 1-7 points.


fall – win by pin.

major decision – when a wrestler wins a match by 8-14 points.

technical fall – when a wrestler wins a match by 15 or more points.

weight classes – always identify wrestlers by weight classes. In collegiate wrestling, wrestlers are divided into 10 divisions: 125 pounds, 133, 141, 149, 157, 165, 174, 184, 197 and heavy-weight.