Stylebot helps editors at Atmosphere improve credibility and efficiency
“There’s no waiting and there’s no searching; it’s just there. It’s just very quick and efficient.”
Tl;dr Company: Atmosphere Industry: News and entertainment Stylebot platform: Slack Reason for use: Easing style guide access for a growing team Biggest benefit: Increased brand credibility
Like many people working at media organizations today, editors at Atmosphere know they have only a few seconds to catch your attention. And instead of creating content designed to be consumed on your phone, they want you to put your phone down.
Atmosphere produces news, sports and entertainment content that streams on TVs in restaurants, doctors’ offices, gyms and other venues. The content needs to be engaging enough that it gets people to look up from their phones while they’re in brick-and-mortar businesses.
All of Atmosphere’s content is audio-optional, which means the text on screen is very important.
“We’re all about enticing viewers,” said Samantha Rojas, a copy editor at Atmosphere. “You want to keep the viewer interested.”
Rojas used to work in a local TV newsroom, so she’s used to editing short copy quickly for broadcast and digital platforms. She also knows that overlooking even small details in a fast-paced environment can be damaging to an organization’s reputation. She considers it part of her job to protect Atmosphere’s credibility by ensuring the writing that viewers see is accurate, engaging, concise and grammatically correct.
“Credibility is tied to having good grammar,” she said.
After arriving at Atmosphere in June 2022, Rojas was excited to learn that the company was using Stylebot, a modern style guide that writers and editors can access on Slack and Microsoft Teams. Atmosphere has a custom version of Stylebot, so the organization’s style guide is combined with the USC Annenberg Style Guide that powers Stylebot. Right away, Rojas noticed how Stylebot improved her workflow.
“With our style guide, you have to look through the whole thing and scroll and find [an answer], and with Stylebot, you can just type a word,” she said. “I thought it was really helpful.”
Like so many editors, Rojas and her team have very little space to communicate accurate and engaging information on Atmosphere’s news and sports channels. Every word matters in their headlines, chyrons and sidebars of upcoming stories. Because of this limited space, Atmosphere uses a lot of abbreviations, something that was key to their customization of Stylebot.
With Stylebot, Atmosphere editors can quickly find out the organization’s abbreviation for everything from “ambassador” to “turnovers per game.” Rojas noted that Stylebot has helped ensure consistency in their copy.
She also likes that it saves time. Stylebot helps her edit copy faster, and instead of spending her time answering questions about style rules, she tells writers, editors and producers across the organization to ask Stylebot.
“I tell them, ‘If you have a question, you can always ask Stylebot, and Stylebot will tell you instantly,’” she said. “So I feel like we have cut time in meetings.”
Rojas has also noticed that Stylebot is helpful when she gets incorrect suggestions from auto-installed spellcheckers. She doesn’t need to spend time Googling to double-check and wading through search results. With Stylebot, “there’s no waiting and there’s no searching; it’s just there. It’s just very quick and efficient.”
For Rojas, being able to improve both credibility and efficiency with one tool is key. Recalling her days in local TV news, she said, “I wish I would have had Stylebot back then.”