It is Southern Illinois.

By Gus Bode

Dear Editor:The Associated Press Stylebook says that recognized geographic areas are capitalized. The specific section is directions and regions, and the rule is, “In general, lowercase north, south, northeast, northern, etc., when they indicated compass direction; capitalize these words when they designate regions.”

The only area of debate may be whether Southern Illinois is a designated region (the “pride” issue). It is certainly questionable whether we are the area below Interstate 64, below I-70 or constitute 17, 23 or 27 counties. However, agreement about the exact boundaries doesn’t affect regional designation legitimacy. Examples of capitalizing specific regions include:Texas Panhandle, South Florida, Eastern Seaboard, Northern liberal and Midwest. Some are more geographically vague than Southern Illinois.

I hope this explanation from the School of Journalism’s editing teacher helps clarify the issue.


Professor, School of Journalism