I remember a fellow journalist telling me how her J-school professor once ordered students to write out the entire AP Stylebook by hand as part of a class project. The exercise, I was told, was designed to help the students memorize the Stylebook entries.
I still wonder how these students reacted after they became professional journalists and found out that not all newsrooms use AP style.
If they went to work for a magazine, they probably had to learn the Chicago Manual of Style. If they work for an online media company, they may have had to learn the Yahoo Style Guide, which covers the basics of writing for Internet and mobile audiences. In most other cases, they would have had to master the various in-house styles that most media companies have and use to ensure uniformity in their content.
Do journalists really need all these style guides?
There is no small debate about the serial comma (also known as the Oxford Comma). It is a comma used before a coordinating conjunction (such as “and”) before the last item in a series of three or more.