The Northern Star follows The Associated Press Stylebook. Many copies are available in the newsroom. Here is a list of common errors, plus styles unique to NIU.
Academic and Athletic Performance Center See Yordon
according to Use only when referring to a nonhuman source, such
as a book or an agency. For human sources, use a form of said.
accountancy majors not accounting majors
addresses abbreviate street, avenue and boulevard
only when preceded by a numbered address. Never abbreviate road,
lane, drive, terrace and other names for thoroughfares.
affect It’s usually a verb that shows influence:
How will this affect me?
Effect is usually a noun meaning “result”: The effect was
In rare instances, effect can be a verb that means “to bring
about”: to effect change.
afterward There is no such word as afterwards. Similar rule applies
to forward, backward, upward, toward: None end in “s.”
afterhours One word when used alone, referring to late-night Greek
parties (banned by NIU in December 1997):
Afterhours were eliminated last year.
Two words and hyphenated when used as a modifier: an after-hours
adviser Not advisor. However, there are advisory committees.
alderperson . Use a numeral rather than spelling out the ward number: 4th
Ward Alderman John Doe. Exception: When the numeral starts a sentence,
spell it out.
all right. Never alright, despite what The Who sang about
Altgeld Hall. NIU’s original building. Reopened in fall 2004 and
now houses most upper administrative offices including president, provost,
Board of Trustees, student affairs, finance & facilities, etc.
Al-Qaeda International Islamic terrorist organization, best known
for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. Al-Qaeda means “the
base” in Arabic. Osama bin Laden was a founding member.
alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae These terms refer to people who
have attended (but not necessarily graduated from) a school.
A male is an alumnus. A group of men are alumnni.
A female is an alumna. A group of females are alumnae.
A group people that includes both males and females are alumni.
alumni center See Barsema Alumni and Visitors
approximately Don’t use it. About is shorter and means
the same thing.
at about Redundant, as in, “She arrived at about noon.”
Correct: “She arrived about noon.”
Around, about: Use about, unless you’re talking about circumnavigating something:
He came over about 11 p.m. (not around 11 p.m.)
I am about 5 feet tall.
We drove around the city.
ATM Always acceptable on first reference for Automatic Teller Machine.
Never ATM machine (that’s redundant). Also see PIN.
Attribution Title / name / said … , in that order unless the title is more than three words.
… SA President Joe Blow said.
… said Joe Blow, president of the National Association of Students for
automatic weapons Question any story or police report that says automatic weapons were used. Most handguns are semiautomatic weapons, which fire one shot at a time. Automatic weapons, such as an Uzi or AK-47, fire repeatedly when you hold the trigger down (machine guns). They are illegal except for military use.
a while, awhile Two words as part of a prepositional phrase, one word as an adverb.
He plans to stay for a while / He plans to stay awhile
back yard (noun); backyard (adjective)
Baker, Doug. NIU 12th president. Inaugurated in fall 2013.
Barsema, Dennis 1977 NIU grad (B.S., management) Major donor to university. The College of Business classroom building and the NIU alumni & visitors center bear his name.
Barsema Hall. Home to NIU’s College of Business. Opened in Fall
2002. Funded by a $20 million gift to NIU from Dennis and Stacey Barsema.
130,000 square-foot, three-story building.
berth When a team earns a spot in the playoffs, or a bowl game. Not birth.
between connects two things, not three or more. For three or more, use among.
Blu-ray A high-definition format for video disks
Board of Trustees NIU’s governing board since January 1996. On first reference, call it the NIU Board of Trustees. On second reference,
it’s the BOT or the trustees. NIU Web info The BOT meets four times a year. It has four committees, composed of board members, each of which usually meet a couple of weeks prior to the full board meetings. Committees are:
- Finance, Facilities, and Operations Committee
- Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Personnel Committee
- Legislation, Audit and External Affairs Committee
- Executive Committee
These committees make recommendations, which then go to the full board for approval. Do NOT refer to the committees as the BOT. They are subsets of the BOT.
Board of Regents NIU’s governing board prior to 1996. On first reference, call it the Board of Regents. On second reference, it’s the board
or the regents.
book titles Put them in quotation marks. “War and Peace.”
Exceptions: religious works such as the Bible or the Koran; reference works such as Webster’s Dictionary.
Building Services NIU department in charge of custodians for all buildings
Burzynski, J. Bradley State Senator, 35th District (which includes DeKalb and Sycamore), 1993-2011. Skip the J on first reference and just call him former state Sen. Bradley Burzynsi. Republican, from Clare.. Retired in January 2011. DeKalb County Treasurer Christine Johnson, also a Republican, was appointed to fill the remaining two years of his term.
bursar. The office is the NIU Bursar’s Office (capitalized).
A student has a bursar’s account (not capitalized).
buses, busing One “s” when referring to vehicles. Busses are kisses.
Campus Parking Services The office that handles parking permits and patrols to write tickets.Second reference: Parking Services.
Note that this is not the same thing as the Campus Parking Committee. This committee, made up of students, faculty and staff, determines lot designations and other parking policies. Its meetings are open to the public.
Campus Recreation Center. Spell out and capitalize on first reference.
Second reference: the Rec (also capitalized).
Capital is a city, capitol is a building
Our nation’s capital is Washington, D.C.
The Capitol building is in Washington, D.C. (capitalized when it’s the building’s
Each state’s capitol building lies in its capital city.
Capitol Room is in the Holmes Student Center. It’s not the Capital Room, regardless of what NIU’s Web site says.
Career Services. NIU office that in 2005 combined the former offices of Career Planning & Placement and the Cooperative Eduication Internship Program. Located in the Campus Life Building.
Carey, Rod NIU football coach, December 2012-present. Replaced Dave Doeren, coach from 2011-December 2012, who replaced Jerry Kill in December 2010.
Center for Black Studies
century Lowercase as part of a specific time period: 21st century. Spell out the number in first through ninth centuries.
chair, chairman, chairwoman The preferred, gender-neutral term is chair. Never chairperson.
city council Lowercase unless the city name is used with it. The DeKalb City Council. The city council. Same rule applies for other public
bodies, such as the county board.
Chick Evans Field House Second reference: the fieldhouse. Former home to NIU basketball and other sports. Now serves as a recreational center.
Chronopoulos, Bessie Former DeKalb mayor. Served one term, 1997-2001.
Classes Capitalize the titles. Basic Newswriting, Introduction to English Literature, etc
Cole Hall Site of the Feb. 14, 2008, shootings.
Later that month, Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed a $40 million replacement building, but legislation was never introduced. A capital bill signed by Gov. Pat Quinn in July 2009 earmarked $8 million for Cole Hall renovation. Construction work was began in January 2011 and was completed the following winter. The building reopened to students on the first day of the 2012 spring semester.
Colon: Capitalize the word after a colon only if it’s a complete thought (if it could stand alone as a sentence). For instance:
Here’s my problem: I can’t run fast enough.
My problem comes down to two things: speed and agility.
Exception: In headlines, the word after a colon always is capitalized.
community adviser second reference: CA. Most schools still call these resident assistants, or RAs.
Community Standards and Student Conduct NIU’s student judicial office. Formerly known as Judicial Affairs.
Convocation Center NIU’s multipurpose arena. Convo Center or Convo are acceptable on second reference. In headlines, just Convo
is acceptable. Address is 1525 W. Lincoln Highway, but that does not need to be included in stories because it’s part of campus.
comprise, compose A whole thing comprises its parts. The parts compose the whole.
The MAC comprises these universities …
Three senators compose the committee.
Computer-related terms and styles
* online (one word, no hyphen)
* Web, World Wide Web (always capitalized)
* home page (always two words)
* Internet (always capitalized)
* disk, diskette (but compact disc)
Congress members Refer to them as: U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, (use town name for Illinois Congress members
only). Kinzinger is the congressman from the 16th District.
DeKalb’s 14th District congressman is U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield. He defeated incumbent Bill Foster, D-Batavia, in November 2010.
Rep. John Doe, D-N.Y.
Senators, on the other hand, represent the whole state, so it’s U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.
See also: state lawmakers
courtesy titles (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss, etc.) Don’t use them except for reason of clarity: It was Mrs. Wilson, not Mr. Wilson, who bought the
cheese. Otherwise, “Amy Wilson” becomes “Wilson” on second reference.
Currently. The word rarely is needed. If you have a present-tense verb, it’s assumed you mean now.
dateline The line at the beginning of a story, telling from where the story was reported. If a reporter covered the story on-site, then the
dateline is always the city the event occurred. Campus styories always get a DeKalb dateline.
This becomes more complicated if an event takes place elsewhere but the reporter is in DeKalb. Example: The NIU football team plays at Toledo, but the Star does not send a reporter. Instead, the reporter writes a game recap from the newsroom. In this case, both dateline options — DeKalb or Toledo — would be misleading. So, do not use a dateline. Instead, early in the story, mention where the game was played.
The same standard applies for news stories reported from outside the DeKalb area. Don’t use a dateline if the reporter was not there.
daylight-saving time Not savings. Not capitalized. And note the hyphen.
DeKalb. Never De Kalb or Dekalb.
DeKalb High School. The facility at 501 W. Dresser Road. It opened in September 2011. It cost $80 million, part of a $110 million referendum approved by voters in 2008.
DeKalb Municipal Building All three words capitalized.
Second reference: the municipal building (lower case). The building is at 200 S. Fourth St., DeKalb, and is the site of most city governmental
DeKalb School District 428. Includes all of DeKalb’s public primary and secondary schools. District 428 is acceptable on second reference.
The district’s governing body is the District 428 Board of Education, but it can just be called the DeKalb School Board.
department names, NIU lowercase, except English department. But if it’s used as part of the formal title, like Department of Communication, then capitalize both words.
Department of Communication The NIU department that includes communications studies and journalism. Journalism was a separate department until 1995. Not communications (plural).
different from, not different than.
disc golf Preferred term instead of Frisbee golf
dorms, dormitories use residence halls except in quotes or headlines. Columnists also can get away with dorms if they prefer
doctor do not use it in front of a person’s name on first reference unless he or she is a medical doctor. Never use it on second reference.
drugs, narcotics Don’t use interchangeably. All narcotics are drugs, but not all drugs are narcotics.
DuSable Hall NIU classroom building
Eco Park DeKalb apartment complex. Not Echo Park
editor in chief Not hyphenated.
effect See affect
entitled It means deserving: Mary is entitled to a free hamburger. Not to be confused with titled, as in The speech was titled, “Why
I Like Hamburgers.”
everyday, every day One word as an adjective: everyday people. Two words as an adverb: She goes to work every day.
faculty The NIU faculty contains several classifications of employees who teach. Tenure-track positions are, in descending
order of seniority: professor, associate professor, assistant professor. Non-tenure-track positions include instructors and adjuncts.
These terms are not interchangeable, nor are they generic terms for teachers. They all refer to specific job titles.
Faculty Senate Second reference: the FS, or the senate.
farther, further Farther refers only to physical distance. Otherwise use further.
I can throw a football farther than you
Can you expand further on your idea?
Feb. 14 shootings The preferred term for the tragedy that took place in a Cole Hall auditorium, room 101, on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008. Five students were killed and 17 others were wounded by gunman Steven Kazmierczak, 27, a former NIU graduate student. Kazmierczak then took his own life. Students killed were Catalina Garcia, Gayle Dubowski, Julianna Gehant, Ryanne Mace and Daniel Parmenter. All classes were canceled until Monday, Feb. 25. Total number of injured is sometimes listed as 21, as three students were injured escaping Cole Hall and one other suffered an “undetermined” injury.
feels A sensory activity. Don’t substitute it for thinks, as in He feels this is wrong.
FieldTurf: Brand name of the artificial turf at Huskie Stadium.
Finance and Facilities. NIU Division headed by Eddie Williams, executive vice president of operations. The name of the division is always
firefighter not fireman.
fiscal year Spell out on first reference: fiscal year 1997. Second reference: FY1996.
Founders Memorial Library No apostrophe in Founders; no the before Founders. On second reference: the library.
football field The dimensions of an NCAA football field are: 120 yards long (including both endzones) by 53.3 yards wide.
This becomes useful when determining volume. Here’s an example:
Let’s say the city has 3,600 tons of road salt, and you want to know
how high that would be if it covered the football field at Huskie Stadium.
1 ton of road salt = about 25 cubic feet (it’s different for different
So, 3,600 tons of salt = 90,000 cubic feet
A football field, including the endzones, is 360 feet long (120 yards)
by 160 feet wide (53.3 yards). That’s 57,600 square feet (360×160)
The formula we now use is: Cubic feet = square feet x height in
So, 90,000 = 57,600 x _____.
90,000 divided by 57,600 = 1.56
So, 3,600 tons of salt would cover the football field at Huskie Stadium
to a depth of about 1 ½ feet.
Frisbee Capitalized. It’s a trade name.
Frisbee golf (“frolf”) Use the generic disc golf.
fundraiser One word, no hyphen.
gambling Don’t use the casino industry’s euphemism, “gaming.” Call it what it is.
gay The preferred adjective that has largely replaced “homosexual” in referring to men who are sexually and affectionally attracted to other men. Related: Avoid using forms of the word admit with regard to a person’s sexual orientation. Less potentially charged words are announce, disclose and say.
Also, the AP Stylebook recommends avoiding the term lifestyle when referring to someone’s sexual orientation. In this context, “lifestyle”
suggests that gays and lesbians — not to mention bisexuals and transgender people — think and act the same way. There is no “gay lifestyle” or “alternative lifestyle” just as there is no “straight lifestyle.”
Gender and Sexuality Resource Center Formerly known as the LGBT and Women’s Resource Center. Director is Molly Holmes.
General Assembly Proper name for the Illinois legislature; it includes both House and Senate.
Gilbert Hall Once an NIU residence hall, closed in 1995 and turned into office space for administrative staff displaced during the remodeling of Altgeld Hall. It’s located across from the music and art buildings. Scheduled to be remodeled back into a residence hall again by fall 2013. Gilbert Hall is named for Newell D. Gilbert, the first dean of what is now NIU. The building opened May 18, 1952, at a cost of $1 million.
Grant Towers North, South Use GTN and GTS on second reference. Grant Towers are scheduled for major renovation starting in 2010, at a projected cost of $40.5 million — $18 million for the northwest “D” tower and $22.5 million for the central building. The four towers were built in the late 1960s.
Greek Always capitalized, whether you’re talking about an ethnic background or the university’s fraternity/sorority system. Greek Row, the Greek system.
grade point average Spell out on first reference. Second reference: GPA.
Grounds. Second reference for the NIU Grounds Department, a division of the Physical Plant. Second reference: Grounds or NIU Grounds.
This is the department that handles snow removal on campus, among many other tasks.
gypsy Ethnic designation for a group of people that originates in eastern Europe. Do not use it to describe crime or scams. Police sometimes use the term “gypsy scam” to describe when people of this ethnicity go door-to-door and trick residents into letting them into their homes, where they then steal stuff. It’s OK to quote police using this term, but the Star itself shouldn’t use it.
Hastert, Dennis retired 14th District U.S. Representative. Republican from Yorkville. Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2006. Retired
in 2008. Hastert pleaded guilty in 2015 to structuring money transactions in a way to evade requirements to report where the money was going. The money, investigators said, went to pay someone he had wronged $3.5 million in hush money. In addition, Hastert was charged with making false statements to federal investigators. As part of a plea deal, Hastert pleaded guilty only to the count of hiding money transactions. Replaced by Democrat Bill Foster in a special election Feb. 5, 2008, then in the general election Nov. 4, 2008.
he or she not he/she, not (s)he, not they when referring to a singular subject. See pronouns entry.
Health Services NIU’s medical clinic
Health Enhancement An office within NIU Student Affairs. There is no NIU office called “Health Enhancement Services”
highway Never abbreviated.
historic, historical An event is historic if it is especially important or stands out in history. Anything that happened in the
past is historical. The board made a historic decision. She researched historical events of the 19th century.
Hoey, Brad director, Campus Communications and Divisional Operations .
Holmes Student Center Namesake is Leslie Holmes, NIU president from 1949-67. First reference: spell it out.
Second reference: the student center, but HSC when followed by a room. Example: First reference: The Holmes Student Center’s Diversions Lounge. Second reference: HSC’s Diversion’s Lounge
The Holmes Student Center opened in 1962.
Student Center rooms and capacites are listed here.
home page Two words.
hopefully Often misused, as in, “Hopefully we can go to the game.”
A correct use would be, “He gazed hopefully at the door.”
Hultgren, Randy. 14th District congressman. R-Winfield. Elected in November 2010, defeating incumbent Bill Foster, D-Batavia.
Huskies, Huskie The NIU sports mascot. Never “Husky.”
Huskie Bus Line When referring to one of the buses, call it a Huskie Bus.
Huskie Soccer Field All three words capitalized, always.
Huskie Stadium: Where NIU plays its football games. The playing surface itself was given the name Brigham Field in 2003, after former
Athletics Director Robert Brigham. That name is largely honorary and should not be used in game stories. Just call the whole place Huskie Stadium.
Huskie Student Patrol A group of students, paid by NIU Public Safety, who patrol parking lots and other areas of the west campus at night,
on foot. Second reference: the Student Patrol
Illinois Abbreviated Ill. Never IL unless followed by a ZIP code.
Illinois Board of Higher Education Second reference: IBHE.
imply, infer Writers and speakers imply. Readers and listeners infer.
injuries are suffered, not sustained or received.
instructor See faculty
Internet Capitalize it.
its, it’s It’s means it is. It does NOT show possession.
The team got its first win. It’s a great day for a game.
jail It’s not the same as prison.
Jails are operated by counties and are for people awaiting trial or people sentenced to less than a year for misdemeanors. Prisons, also called penitentiaries, are run by either the state or the federal government. That’s where felons go after they are sentenced by a court.
janitor The preferred term is custodian
Johnson, Christine State Senator, 35th District (which includes DeKalb and Sycamore), 2011-present. Republican from Lee. She was DeKalb County Treasurer when State Sen. Brad Burzynski retired in January 2011. The Republican Party appointed Johnson to fill the remaining two years of Burzynski’s term. She was sworn in as senator on Feb. 14, 2011. Seat is up for election again in 2012.
journalism area NIU does not have a journalism department.
It’s the journalism area of the communication department. There is, however, a separate journalism major.
Judicial Affairs Former title for the office now called the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct. Changed in 2010. The office is on the second floor of the Campus Life Building. Director is Jeanne Meyers.
Kazmierczak, Steven Cole Hall gunman, Feb. 14, 2008. Former NIU student. Was a University of Illinois graduate student at the time of the shootings. Took his own life after fatally shooting five other students.
Kill, Jerry NIU head football coach, 2008-2010. Previously head coach at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Resigned in December 2010, to accept head coaching job at University of Minnesota. Kill’s record during his three seasons at NIU was 23-16, including 10-3 in 2010. The Huskies went to Bowl games all three seasons. Kill’s 2010 team played in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl, but he did not coach the team because he already had accepted the Minnesota position. Kill’s final base salary at NIU was $346,812 a year.
King Memorial Commons Spell out on first reference. Second reference: the MLK Commons.
Kishwaukee Community Hospital DeKalb’s hospital. New facility opened in fall 2007. The old one was next door.
Kwanzaa African festival held Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.
laptop computer Laptop is one word. Second reference: laptop.
Plural: laptop computers (first reference) or laptops (second ref.)
Latino Resource Center
La Tourette, John 10th NIU president, 1986-2000. Came to NIU in 1979 as provost and vice president for academic affairs. Native of New
Jersey. Undergrad, graduate and doctoral degrees in economics from Rutgers University. Retired in 2000.
La Tourette Hall Science classroom building, formerly known as Faraday West. Renamed in 2010 for former NIU President John La Tourette.
law school It’s the NIU College of Law. Second reference: the law school.
lay, lie Lay means to put or place. Lie means to rest or recline, or to tell an untruth.
LGBT On first reference, spell out as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Second reference: LGBT.
like use like to compare nouns and pronouns; use such as to give examples.
She writes like a professional / She readers writers such as Twain and Tolstoy.
Lowden Hall Most of NIU’s upper administrators, including the president, had their offices here until Altgeld Hall reopened in 2004. Informally, such as in an editorial or column, Lowden Hall was used as a synonym for the NIU administration.
Area shopping malls and their towns include:
- Charlestown Mall, St. Charles
- CherryVale Mall, Cherry Valley (near Rockford)
- Fox Valley Mall, Aurora
- Gurnee Mills, Gurnee
- Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg
Mary M. Bell Field The venue for NIU softball home games
MetroCentre Rockford’s sports and entertainment arena. The full title is the Rockford MetroCentre.
Mid-American Conference NIU’s conference since 1996-97. MAC always is acceptable on first reference. NIU was previously in the MAC,
then left in the 1980s to become an independent, then joined a couple other conferences before returning.
Midwest Capitalized when talking about this region of the country.
Montgomery, Mark NIU men’s basketball coach, 2011-present. Hired to replace the fired Ricardo Patton. Previously, was a top assistant to head coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Montgomery’s starting base salary at NIU was $300,000 a year.
months Abbreviate when using with a number: Dec. 25.
Spell out when it stands alone (this January); or with year only (June 1996).
Don’t abbreviate March, April, May, June, July.
Abbreviations are Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
movies put movie titles in quotation marks: “Jurassic Park”
Do not italicize.
Murer, Cherilyn NIU Board of Trustees, 2007-2009; 2011-present. Term expires January 2017.
Music Building Both words capitalized, always. Also, when referring to a specific concert hall or recital room within the building, that is capitalized, too: the Music Building’s Recital Hall.
Newman Catholic Student Center. Second reference: Newman Center.
It’s the building directly north of the Campus Life Building on Newman Lane.
NIU Never spelled out.
NIU College of Law Second reference: the law school.
nonprofit No hyphen. And never not-for-profit.
northern Illinois northern isn’t capitalized if you’re talking about a geographic direction. But, do capitalize geographic regions: the
West, the East Coast, the Midwest, etc. But lowercase east, west coast if referring to the physical shoreline.
Northern Star Second reference: the Star. Note: “The” is not technically part of the name.
Northern View Community NIU-run apartment complex built in 2006-07 (groundbreaking was Oct. 12, 2006). Financed and built in partnership with Collegiate Development Services of Irving, Texas. Northern View replaces University Family Apartments. It is primarily intended for students with dependents. Do not call it married student housing because not everyone who lives there is married.
This is the correct style. Always capitalize the abbreviation and follow it with a numeral.
Don’t say number one, or number 1, or #1. This is one of few exceptions to the next rule …
Novak, Joe NIU head football coach, 1996-2007. Career record 63-75. Took teams to bowl games in 2004 (Silicon Valley Bowl, beat Troy) and 2006 (San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, lost to TCU). Announced retirement Nov. 26, 2007. Official retirement date June 30, 2008. Replaced by Jerry Kill.
Spell out one through nine. Use numerals for 10 and above. Use commas in 1,000 and above. Some notable exceptions:
Age. A numeral unless it starts a sentence. He is 18 years old. Percentage. A numeral unless it starts a sentence. Simon won 62 percent
of the vote. Dimensions. Use numerals to indicate inches, feet, yards, pounds. The 6-foot-5 forward; he is 6 feet 10 inches tall.
Spell out all numbers if they start a sentence: Ten people attended the meeting.
Big Ten Conference
We’re No. 1.
Numbers that include fractions should be written as decimals when practical and larger than one: 3.5 acres. But use 2 1/2 years, because
years are based on 12 months, not 10. Exception: when it starts a sentence: Two and a half years ago, …
OK, OK’d, OKs never okay
online. Not on-line
palette / palate / pallet
An artist uses a palette.
Everyone has a palate in their mouth.
Warehouses load materials on a pallet.
Part time, part-time Hyphenate only when used as a compound modifier:
She has a part-time job. She works part time.
The same rules apply for full time / full-time
Patton, Ricardo NIU men’s basketball coach, 2007-2011. Formerly head coach at University of Colorado. Fired by NIU in March 2011, after four straight seasons of 20 or more losses. Replaced by Mark Montgomery.
people, persons don’t use persons unless it’s part of a formal title: Bureau of Missing Persons. Otherwise, use people.
Peters, John G. NIU’s 11th president. Hired by Board of Trustees in 2000. Start date was June 1, 2000. Prior to that, was provost and chief
operating officer at University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Holds Ph.D. in political science from University of Illinois (1974).
pickets Workers who march in protests. Not picketers.
Poinsettia Bowl Football bowl game NIU was invited to in 2006. Full name is the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Played Dec. 19, 2006, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. Texas Christian University defeated NIU, 37-7.
political parties Capitalize. The Republican Party. He is a Democrat.
Presidents and heads of state AP Style is to use title, first name and last name on first reference: President George W. Bush, President-elect
Barack Obama. Second reference: last name only. (This AP style is new as of November 2008.)
Presidents Day No apostrophe.
prison See jail. The two terms are not interchangeable.
Pritchard, Robert DeKalb’s state representative. Republican from Hinckley. On first reference, refer to him as state Rep. Robert Pritchard, R-Hinckley. Took office when Rep. David Wirsing died in early 2004. Re-elected November 2004 and November 2008.
professor See faculty
pronouns The Editorial Board in spring 2015 decided that staffers are required to ask sources what pronoun they use to refer to themselves and to use that pronoun when referring to that source in published reports.
radio stations Local broadcast stations are WDEK-FM (2nd reference: WDEK), WNIU-FM WNIJ-FM, WLBK-AM. Note: WNIU and WNIJ are NIU’s two National Public Radio affiliates, both run from the same office on First Street.
NSRadio was a Webcast-only station based within the Northern Star from 2003 to 2007.
Ralph McKinzie Field Venue for NIU baseball home games
recreation center Proper name is Campus Recreation Center, even though the sign on the building says Student Recreation Center. Spell out and capitalize on first reference. Second reference: the Rec center (capital R).
redshirt One word, never capitalized unless it starts a sentence. Can be a noun, verb or adjective. It’s the term used when an NCAA athlete
practices with the team for a season but does not play in games, thus retaining another year of eligibility (players are allowed four years of eligibility). So, the term redshirt freshman refers to a player who is in his/her second year with the team but first year on the active roster.
resident assistant Old title for what’s now known as community adviser. Spell out on first reference. Second
residence halls NIU’s preferred term for dorms. Use it in stories. For the sake of space, it’s OK to say dorms in headlines.
Residence Hall Association RHA on second reference. It’s the student-run organization for people who live in the dorms. It is NOT the same as NIU Housing and Dining, which operates the dorms.
residence hall complex, new The informal name of the new residence halls built in 2011 and opening in 2012, and located between the Grant and Lincoln complexes.Originally, NIU termed this a “first-year residence hall” but that is no longer the case. Returning students will live there, too. Until it has a formal name, call it the new residence hall complex.
Said is for what people say. Stated is for reports. According to is for books or reference material.
seasons Lowercase: spring, summer, fall, winter.
semitrailer the correct term for an 18-wheeler.
Sept. 11 Use 9/11 when when referring to the terrorist attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. You don’t need to use
song titles Put them in quotation marks. “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
spokesman, spokeswoman never spokesperson.
Spring Break Capitalized
state abbreviations Eight are never abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine,
Ohio, Texas and Utah. Otherwise, use AP Stylebook for abbreviations. Do not use postal abbreviations
(for instance, use Ill., not IL).
Stevenson Towers North, South Use STN and STS on second reference.
state lawmakers Refer to them like this:
State Rep. Robert Pritchard, R-Hinckley
Strauss, Marc. Board of Trustees chair, 2009-10. A lawyer by trade. General counsel for First Rockford Group, Rockford.
street Use St., Ave. or Blvd. with numbered addresses only. 423 Main St. Don’t abbreviate road, lane.
Write out the names of streets when you’re not using a numbered address: She walked east on Jones Street.
Student Affairs and Enrollment Management As of summer 2009, official name for the NIU division that was previously called Student Affairs.
Student Association Second reference: the SA.
Student Association Senate Second reference: the senate.
Super Bowl Two words. It’s the NFL championship game between winners of the American Football Conference and National Football Conference.
tax terms The levy is the total amount of money a governing body asks for. The rate is the percentage taxpayers pay – from property value in this case. And the assessment is what the city says your property is worth, and the amount your taxes are based on. Once a levy is approved, the rate and/or assessments are adjusted so that the amount collected will equal the levy.
temperatures Use numerals for all except zero. the 60s, no apostrophe. 5 below zero (unless it begins a sentence). Remember that temperatures get higher or lower, not warmer or colder.
telephone numbers When an area code is used, don’t use parentheses:
time When talking about an event, give details in this order:
time, date, place.
The concert will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Duke Ellington Ballroom
of the Holmes Student Center.
4 p.m., 9 a.m., noon (not 12 p.m.), midnight (not 12 a.m.), 9 a.m. to 12:30
p.m., 1 to 3 p.m.
Time references If you’re writing about something that occurred within the past seven days, or will occur within the next seven days, use the day: The president will visit NIU on Tuesday.
If more than seven days in the past of future, use the date: The president will speak at NIU on Sept. 23. Do not use tomorrow or yesterday. But do use today.
Titles: Capitalize a person’s title if it’s used before his or her name: NIU Provost J. Carroll Moody. But don’t capitalize it after the
name: J. Carroll Moody, NIU provost.
Generally, use the title before the name if it’s three words or less: NIU Athletic Director Cary Groth.
Use the title after the name if it’s more than three words: John Doe, DeKalb Township supervisor of assessments; Mary Doe, vice president
of community and social services.
theater. Not theatre, unless it’s part of a formal title.
The theater was too crowded.
The NIU School of Theatre and Dance …
today Use if describing something happening the day the paper is published
tollway Any section of several Illinois Interstate highways leading to Chicago which charge a toll. I-88 is the tollway that reaches DeKalb.
Eventually it becomes the Eisenhower Expressway. The terms I-88 and tollway may be used interchangeable, depending on context. The tollways’ governing body is the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Second reference: Illinois Tollway.
tomorrow Don’t use as a time reference.
Use the name of the day
Turner, Michael Former NIU football running back, and NIU’s all-time leading rusher. Has played for San Diego Chargers and Atlanta Falcons.
Twitter Social networking phenomenon. To send an entry is to tweet. An entry itself also is called a tweet. Both are lowercase.
University Health Service Second reference: the health center.
University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago.
They are two different schools. Second reference: UC and UIC.
University of Illinois U of I on second reference if you’re talking
about the Champaign-Urbana campus. For the University of Illinois at Chicago,
University Police Police force employed by NIU. Second reference:
University Council: the UC or the council
on second reference.
Veterans Day No apostrophe.
Van Buer, Frank DeKalb mayor, 2005-08. Elected April 2005. Defeated incumbent Greg Sparrow. Died of pancreatic cancer July 23, 2008, at age
VIN Acceptable first reference for vehicle identification number.
Never VIN number (that’s redundant).
Walmart, Wal-Mart Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the company’s official name. Use Walmart when referring to the retail stores (reflects AP style change in 2009)
Web page, website: Each term is two words. A Web page is part of a website. If you’re talking about a company’s Web presence, it’s a
website, not a Web page. For instance, the Northern Star maintains a website.
(Note: AP Style used to be Web site, but it changed to website in 2010.)
Winter Break Capitalized
wintertime One word. Rarely needed. Usually you can just say winter and it means the same thing.
Wisconsin Abbreviated Wis., not Wisc., not WI (unless followed by a ZIP code)
Wolfe, Garrett Former NIU football running back, drafted by the Chicago Bears in Round 3, April 2007. Has played for Bears since 2007.
Women’s Resource Center Second reference, if context allows: the center.
World Wide Web Three words, all capitalized. Second reference: the Web.
yesterday, tomorrow. Don’t use as a time reference.. Always use the day of the week. If today is Thursday, and
a meeting happened yesterday, you say the meeting happened Wednesday.
Yordon Center Full name is the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Academic and Athletic Performance Center. Call it
the Yordon Center on all references. North end-zone facility at Huskie Stadium. Built in 2006-07, largely through private donations. The Yordons gave $2.5 million to get the naming rights. Scheduled to open in fall 2007. Second reference: AAPC … although this may gradually change to the Yordon Center.