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AP Stylebook Update

Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 12:24 PM

Rounding up recent AP Stylebook news and style updates.

There have been several recent changes to AP style guidelines. Poynter.org and the Columbia Journalism Review have summed up some of these changes, which have gone into effect but won't appear in the print stylebook until its next edition is released. Most of these updates have arisen in response to major pop culture movements and world events.

A New AP Stylebook Chapter

Per Lauren Easton, director of media relations for the AP, a new chapter updating the AP's polling guidance has been added to the stylebook. It's available in the online edition and will be included in the 2018 print edition. Per Easton, "The update reflects the latest in polling science and the idea that some cutting-edge methodologies that incorporate opt-in online surveys may, after thorough review, be suitable for publication. Journalists are still encouraged to use probability-based surveys to accurately assess the public's opinion."

Merrill Perlman of the Columbia Journalism Review writes in a recent CJR.org piece,: "According to the lead stylebook editor, Paula Froke, some online polls where people choose to participate might be considered reliable, though they would need to be rigorously vetted."

The Royal Wedding

Kristen Hare of Poynter.org recently discussed how the AP Stylebook was handling the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Widespread media coverage of the royal wedding (lowercase) prompted the AP to issue a definitive style guide earlier this month, which can be viewed here. The style guide includes a glossary of key terms and guidelines for capitalizing official titles, as well as a reference list of key people associated with the bride and groom.

#MeToo and Mass Shootings

The stylebook has also made style updates for journalists covering the #MeToo movement in various industries. Perlman reports that the AP favors "sexual misconduct" over "sexual harassment" in vague references but encourages reporters to be specific about the misbehavior in question. Moreover, she reports, the AP has instructed writers to use the terms "victim" and "survivor" sparingly when discussing people who have faced sexual misconduct or mass shootings.

Hurricane and Storm Nomenclature

Perlman also discusses a change in how the AP handles storms. Hurricanes and typhoons receive official names from government weather agencies, but reporters shouldn't use names for other types of storms given by private weather groups or for wildfires.

Other Updates

This week, Taylor Batchford of Poynter.org summed up other recent Stylebook updates, including the AP's ruling on the plural form of "emoji" (also "emoji"). Read more about those updates here.

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