For a journalist, one of the most important pieces of gear you could ever have is the AP Stylebook. Each year, the Associated Press updates their Stylebook to accommodate any new things that have popped up in the news over the course of the last year and to revise existing rules for concision and accuracy. This year’s edit has a few big changes worth noting.
Firstly, there is now an entire chapter devoted to religion. There are now 208 entries in the new chapter, according to Sally Jacobsen, the AP Stylebook editor. According to Poynter, AP Religion writer Rachel Zoll and other editors consulted with religious leaders, communication specialists from each religion, and reporters of different faiths to compile the chapter. The goal was to be respectful to the groups themselves as well as clearing up any confusion for journalists who use the Stylebook.
Another big edit involved the way state names are abbreviated. A state’s full name is now used in the body of a story instead of the abbreviation. However, abbreviations will still be used in datelines, lists, and photo captions. The change also pertains to newspapers cited in stories. No longer will you have to put the state in parentheses after the name of the city or town it serves.
Also, a few word choices have changed. For instance, “more than” can be replaced with “over” when writing about a quantity of something.
More words have been added as well, including “selfie,” “LGBT,” “bitcoin,” and “polar vortex.” “Selfie” even made it on the cover of the Stylebook. Using (sic) is also now permitted.
The way we write the news seems to evolve every year. It’s one of the constants in the journalism world. As long as more words created, more strange occurrences happen, and different groups of people make the news, the AP Stylebook will change to accommodate everything and everyone.