AP Style Blog

by John Daniszewski, vice president for standards on June 13, 2018

AP policy on reporting suicides, spelled out in the AP Stylebook, is “to not go into detail on the methods used.” There has been a robust discussion in our newsrooms about what this means — how far do we go in discussing methods of suicide by celebrities? Are we depriving readers of essential information on a story if we are too opaque? We tend to be news purists in the AP. Our instinct is to publish all the news for our audience to absorb, use and act upon. But reporting on suicide, like reporting on sexual abuse, [more...]

by Lauren Easton, director of media relations on April 17, 2018

The 2018 AP Stylebook will include a new chapter on polls and surveys, adding details to help journalists report responsibly on public opinion research heading into the U.S. midterm elections. The new chapter, available immediately to AP Stylebook Online subscribers, leads with longstanding guidance that the mere existence of a poll is not enough to make news. It adds that “poll results that seek to preview the outcome of an election must never be the lead, headline or single subject of any story.” Deputy Managing [more...]

by John Daniszewski, vice president for standards on Nov. 21, 2017

With the raft of accusations of sexual misconduct by powerful men showing no signs of abating, here are some guidelines that may prove useful. “Sexual harassment” has a particular legal meaning. It is, per Webster’s New World College Dictionary, “inappropriate, unwelcome, and, typically, persistent behavior, as by an employer or co-worker, that is sexual in nature, specifically when actionable under federal or state statutes.” While that definition is broad, encompassing many kinds of misbehavior, the word “ [more...]

by John Daniszewski, vice president for standards on Sept. 6, 2017

With the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in the news, members of the public, TV commentators and politicians are commonly referring to the program’s beneficiaries as “Dreamers.” This is a framing that tends to elicit positive feelings for the young beneficiaries and their quest for legal protection to live in the United States. AP policy is to use “Dreamers” only in direct quotes or with quote marks for the purpose of explaining the term, such as, “They are commonly referred to as ‘Dreamers,’ based [more...]

by John Daniszewski, vice president for standards on Aug. 16, 2017

UPDATED Aug. 16: We are adding “anti-Semitism” to the definition of “alt-right”; noting that the antifa movement that has been recently in the news actually has antecedents back to the 1930s; and adding some guidance on spelling and punctuation on the recently coined term “alt-left.” The post below includes these updates. The events in Charlottesville are an opportunity to take another look at our terminology around “alt-right” and the way that we describe the various racist, neo-Nazi, white nationalist and white [more...]

by Lauren Easton, director of media relations on June 26, 2017

With a new data journalism chapter in the 2017 AP Stylebook, journalists across all beats are able to obtain guidance on acquiring, evaluating, reproducing and reporting on data. Interactive Newsroom Technology Editor Troy Thibodeaux, who oversaw the chapter, explains why data skills are essential for every reporter. Interactive Newsroom Technology Editor Troy Thibodeaux. (AP Photo) What is the role of data journalism today? How has it evolved? Data journalism has evolved from a rarefied skill set that only [more...]

by Lauren Easton, director of media relations on March 24, 2017

During a panel at the American Copy Editors Society national conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Friday, it was announced that the 2017 AP Stylebook will include guidance on the limited use of “they” as a singular pronoun. The addition is immediately available to AP Stylebook Online subscribers and will be included in the new print edition of the Stylebook when it is published on May 31. Key passages from the new entry include: They, them, their — In most cases, a plural pronoun should agree in number with the [more...]

by John Daniszewski, vice president for standards on Nov. 28, 2016

Recent developments have put the so-called “alt-right” movement in the news. They highlight the need for clarity around use of the term and around some related terms, such as “white nationalism” and “white supremacism.” Let’s tackle them. The “alt-right” or “alternative right” is a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States in addition to, or over, other traditional [more...]

by Lauren Easton, director of media relations on April 2, 2016

During a panel at the American Copy Editors Society national conference in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, it was announced that the 2016 AP Stylebook will lowercase the words ‘internet’ and ‘web.’ The changes will take effect when the new print edition of the Stylebook is published on June 1. Previewing the new edition at the ACES conference, Standards Editor Thomas Kent highlighted a few of the added entries, including the shortest Stylebook item, ‘L,’ now acceptable when referring to the Chicago Transit Authority [more...]

by Paul Colford, former vice president of media relations on Sept. 22, 2015

The AP Stylebook editors today informed AP staff about a change to the entry on global warming. In addition, they described what goes into keeping the Stylebook up-to-date, including their outreach to experts. AP science writer Seth Borenstein was among those who provided guidance during the discussion that resulted in today’s change, which adds two sentences to the global warming entry. Here is the staff memo from Stylebook editors Sally Jacobsen, Dave Minthorn and Paula Froke: We have reviewed our entry on global [more...]

by Erin Madigan White, former senior media relations manager on Dec. 16, 2014

As food editor, J.M. Hirsch keeps The Associated Press’ global coverage of cooking and eating relevant, accessible and authoritative. He’s also the expert behind the popular food chapter of the AP Stylebook. Here, he explains what coverage AP served up to Lifestyles subscribers for the holidays and what to watch for in the new year. What are the highlights of AP’s holiday coverage? For AP’s food team, the holidays start in July. That’s when we start dreaming up delicious things for an entire season of holidays. From [more...]

by Erin Madigan White, former senior media relations manager on Aug. 22, 2013

The Associated Press will henceforth use Pvt. Chelsea E. Manning and female pronouns for the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning, in accordance with her wishes to live as a woman. Manning announced her wishes last Thursday after being sentenced to 35 years in Fort Leavenworth military prison and a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Army for revealing U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks, the anti-establishment website. Manning’s statement was reiterated, with additional detail, in a blog posting ( [more...]

by Paul Colford. former vice president of media relations on April 2, 2013

The AP Stylebook today is making some changes in how we describe people living in a country illegally. Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains the thinking behind the decision: The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term 「illegal immigrant」 or the use of 「illegal」 to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that 「illegal」 should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally. Why did we make the change? The discussions on this topic have been [more...]

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From the Pronunciation Guide

Jamal Khashoggi

khahr-SHOHK’-jee

Washington Post columnist killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

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From the Topical Guides

2018 Midterm Elections Topical Guide

Editors: A style guide for the 2018 elections, based on the AP Stylebook and common usage in AP stories: POLITICAL TITLES, TERMINOLOGY, INSTITUTIONS AND KEY EVENTS "alt-right" A political grouping...


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