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  • Writer's pictureCopywriter Kazuo Nakamura

Notation rules for operating media

~ Important points before writing words, sentences, and texts ~

No.001 | A. Copy Basics | A-001

HYO-KI means notation.
The stress you always face when writing
Image: A working woman sitting at a desk and supporting her head with hands.

When writing sentences such as manuscripts, posts, emails, and documents, I think everyone has had the experience of being stressed by the following things and stopping writing many times.

① Do you want to use kanji? Do you want to use hiragana?

② Do you give an okurigana? Would you like to put it on?

③ Do you use a comma (,)? Do you want to use bullets (・)?

④ Do you want to make it full-width? Do you want to make it half-width?

⑤ Do you want to use a double key ("")? Is it a single key ("")?

⑥ Do you want to make a "contact"? Do you want to make it a "contact"?

⑦ Will it be "January 1st"? Is it "1/1"?

⑧ Will it be "1 am"? Is it "AM 1:00"?

Nowadays, input on PCs and smartphones is the mainstream, so there may be many cases where the first converted characters are used unknowingly without thinking too much.

However, such trivial hesitation in writing is a common stress.

In fact, media professionals such as copywriters, writers and editors, and even writers, who are called professionals who work in writing, often get lost in the above.

What are the notation rules that are indispensable to the media?

Writing can be rephrased as "notation", but in paper media centered on the paper publishing and editing industries, guidelines called "notation rules" have been established for a long time to unify the notation and the quality of the medium. I have protected.

The usage such as "notation in a notebook" is not very common, but in the media industry, it is a common sight to exchange such as "how was the notation of this wording?". The notation rule is more important in such a case.

Notation rules are recipes in restaurants
Image: Many dishes lined up on the table.

Generally, there is one notation rule for each company or medium, but it is not uncommon for there to be individual notation rules for each corner, such as in-house, in the editorial department, in magazines, and in the site.

Therefore, like newcomers, transfer groups from other departments, and editors who have changed jobs from other media, even if they have a career, remember the notation rules decided by the department or magazine to which they are assigned or changed jobs. There are many cases where we go.

There are almost always such notation rules in high-quality and conscious web media such as paper media.

For the media, notation rules are very important rules that show not only the unification of letters and tone & manners (ton mana), but also the direction and attitude, so media like recipes in restaurants. Then, it will be treated with great care.

Names of various notation rules

In the subsection, it is written as "notation rule", but depending on the industry, department, and person in charge, you may hear the following names.

  • Notation table

  • Notation guidelines

  • Notation regulation

  • Notation manual

  • Editing rules

  • Editing guidelines

  • Editing regulation

  • Editing manual

  • Editorial rules

  • Editorial guidelines

  • Editorial regulation

  • Editorial manual

In any case, it is ideal that the notation rules are reviewed as the media continues, and are revised and customized as new words and expressions are born.

What is "shaking of notation"?

The operation of notation rules should be prepared in advance when the content is released to the world, such as publication and publication. This is because inconsistencies in notation can occur after publication or publication.

However, in the process of editing and proofreading, problems arise after the content is released, such as after publication or publication, and the notation rules are considered only when the need arises. The case is the reality.

By the way, in the media industry, the fact that the notation has become inconsistent is said to be "the notation is shaking", but in order to eliminate the notation fluctuation, the establishment of notation rules is a very effective measure. is.

Web media with low awareness of notation rules
Image: Many screens floating in the dark.

In contrast to web media, in history, in senior paper media, notation rules are common sense. On the other hand, in the web media, it seems that the notation rules are still not well known, probably because of their short history or because they are not under pressure.

In fact, in the huge e-mail newsletter media where we took up the post of editor-in-chief in the early 2000s, there are no notation rules, and the notation fluctuates frequently regardless of before or after distribution / publication, and we are forced to make corrections many times. I did.

As a countermeasure, we, who are from paper media editing, took the lead in compiling not only the newsletter but also the notation rules for the company's media as a whole.

In this case as well, it can be said that it is a typical case where the notation rules are prepared as needed.

It's been a little less than 20 years ago, but it was still seen as an advanced initiative in the web media industry at that time.

If you are a text artist, you should know the existence of notation rules

For media professionals, notation rules are important not only in terms of efficiency, such as reducing stress and human error that can be confusing, but also in terms of quality, which prevents deterioration of media quality and reliability.

Furthermore, not only media workers, but also all "text artists" who send out to the world through media such as blogs and SNS should be aware of the notation rules.

Fortunately, even in recent web media, the existence of notation rules like paper media seems to be more recognized than before, and I am happy as a paper editor.


What is the specific content of the notation rule?

As the name suggests, the notation rule is "a rule of writing", but what kind of image is it?

As for the format and appearance of documents, it is common to put them together in a list of paper and data. In some cases, it is often managed and shared among related parties, such as updating booklets and booklets, and nowadays in the cloud.

As a data format , table data files such as Excel and Google spreadsheets may be suitable for sharing and management.

The following items are typical examples of the contents.

  • Japanese notation

  • Kana notation

  • Numeric notation

  • English notation

  • Full-width notation

  • Symbols, punctuation marks, signatures

  • Date and time notation

  • Price notation

  • Annotation notation

  • Proprietary noun notation

  • Quotation

  • Tonmana (masu / da, etc.)

  • Paraphrase notation

  • Forbidden wording

There is not enough space to mention each item, so I will omit it in the subsection this time, but in the future, in this blog, I will individually discuss practical items that are frequently used in the writing scene. I'm thinking of taking it up.

Notation rules sold as "books"

In this way, it is indispensable to develop notation rules in managing the media, and it is ideal to customize it according to the times and trends.

As a typical index , official materials such as " Jōyō kanji table " and " How to add okurigana " are issued by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, but there are some points that do not match the general media and trends, so if possible, in the media or edit It is desirable to maintain it independently within the department.

However, it seems that the reality is that we are overwhelmed by daily work such as content planning, preparation, and production, and it is difficult to develop notation rules.

In such a case, I would like to refer to books related to notation rules.

Books with these notation rules, published by major newspapers and publishers, are known as the first guidebooks for new editors and are used not only in the media industry but also in other industries.

Called "walking notation table"

Even so, in the actual field, the unique notation rules depending on the department in charge and the media are complicated and the items are diverse, and these books are not always valid as they are.

Also, editing, proofreading, and writing while comparing these books with each other can be a daunting task if you are not accustomed to them, so it is best to steadily remember them.

I also gained experience steadily, and the notation became bloody, and from some day it was called "walking notation table", but even if it is not so extreme, I would like to refer to these books. It will be a total.

Will AI replace the writing industry?
Image: Many colorful programming languages on the screen.

I've talked about notation rules, but it's not just important to follow them. More than that, it is important to choose the best notation for the reader according to the context, line spacing, and context.

It has long been said that AI such as automatic proofreading and text generation will replace writing-related work, but copywriters and editors are still in order to create rich expressions that go beyond the subtleties of context. I can't stop believing that we need the power of human beings.

Basics when writing

At the end of the sentence, I will end the subsection with the basic items that we consider when writing.

Unify. Align. Match.


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