Designation style

May 16, 2013 -  By

The way a publication writes and applies grammar and punctuation is called its “style.”

Landscape Management uses the Associated Press Stylebook and we have our own house style, too, which is nothing more than a Word document that lists the idiosyncrasies of the way we write about the industry. For example, we capitalize Green Industry. We say “handheld equipment”—not “hand-held equipment.” We use the term “preemergent herbicide” rather than “preemergence herbicide.” The point of sticking to a style is consistency—to present clarity for readers.

Until now we’ve specifically left professional certifications out of our copy. Why? We’ve treated them like academic degrees, which the AP Stylebook says to include only to establish someone’s credentials. To us, your experiences owning or operating a landscape business are enough to quote you in a news article or to share your best practices in a feature story. A few letters after a name doesn’t guarantee someone’s credibility.

But that’s not the only reason we’d left certifications out of the magazine. There were other, logistical reasons, including the difficulty we’d have verifying certification claims, the many types of certified professionals there are in the Green Industry and the sheer amount of space it would take to explain them each time. After all, until 2010 when the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) rebranded the certification programs to Landscape Industry Certified, there were more than a handful of different designations (CLP, CLT, CTP and the list goes on).

That said, many other business-to-business publications print their industry’s professional designations. When a certified golf course superintendent’s name appears in our sister publication, Golfdom, the initials CGCS follow without question.

Why shouldn’t we do the same? For one, PLANET now lists all certified professionals on its website, eliminating the difficulty of fact checking certification claims. And, when you consider lack of professionalism is a perennial problem in the landscape industry and there’s a seemingly rampant increase in occupational licensure laws in the business community, we feel a duty to acknowledge the voluntary, proactive efforts some professionals make to improve their skills and businesses through certification and biennial recertification.

So, beginning with this issue, you’ll see the designation LIC, which stands for Landscape Industry Certified, following certified managers’ and technicians’ names in the pages of LM. This issue, you’ll see it in the article about Michael Bellantoni Inc.’s 50th anniversary and also in the story where outgoing PLANET President Norman Goldenberg, LIC, is quoted. We’ll also begin denoting the Irrigation Association’s certified professionals, like Chris Le Conte, CIC, CLIA, whose company is profiled in this month’s cover story.

Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I have to update LM’s style guide.

This article is tagged with and posted in 0513, Editor's Note
Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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