Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Deep Academic Trivia

So I'm skimming the AEJMC News, just barely paying attention, and I see a new editor will head our flagship journal: Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. Fine. She's been an associate editor for years. All well and good. But ... at the end, I find some great academic trivia:
The Publications Committee has recommended the journal move to APA style for references as well as create theme issues.
You don't care, do you? Well, dammit, I do. I'm giddy. Downright giddy. I told you this was academically trivial, the kind of stuff only PhDweebs care about, and one thing a bunch of academics will argue over is the best style for references.

JMCQ has a version of, I suppose, Chicago Style. Endnotes in text, references at the end of the article. A reference would then look like this:

Barry A. Hollander, "Tuning out or tuning elsewhere? Partisanship, polarization, and media migration from 1998 to 2006," Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 85 (March 2008): 23-40.

While in APA style, instead of an endnote, there'd be (Hollander, 2008) in the text and the following reference:

Hollander, B.A. (2008). Tuning out or tuning elsewhere? Partisanship, polarization, and media migration from 1998 to 2006. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 85, 23-40. 

I prefer APA style. I prefer seeing there in the text what cites were used rather than having to go back into the endnotes at the end to find out who the author was citing and judging whether it was the right cite. Also I hate having to find out the friggin season (March in the example above) of a citation. I mean, season? Really? Of what possible use is that?

Now I'm from the dominant paradigm, better known as a quantitative researcher. Those from history, law, and, to a lesser degree, critical/cultural backgrounds prefer an endnote style.Does this mean JQ (sorry, JMCQ) will suddenly change its style? Probably not. It's a recommendation. To be honest, I have no idea who has the final say on this kind of thing.

Told you. Trivia. But for some of us, important trivia.

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