AP Stylebook

From Academic Kids

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A slightly outdated edition of the Stylebook

The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, usually simply called the AP Stylebook and nicknamed the "journalist's bible," is the primary guide of style and usage for most newspapers and newsmagazines in the United States. As of 2005, Norm Goldstein has been the editor for several years. The book is updated annually, usually in June. The 2004 edition included a summary of the changes as part of the front matter. The book has more than 400 pages in its 2004 edition.

The book covers a variety of topics, including:

  • Grammar, punctuation, and spelling. For example, AP style does not use a serial comma before the last item in a list — that is, AP writes "red, white and blue," not "red, white, and blue."
  • Style on questions such as whether to convert foreign times to local times (generally not) and when to put "Dr." in front of a person's name (only for certain medical titles, although it may be used if the subject matter is relevant to the topic).
  • Quick background information on a wide variety of topics, such as the Public Broadcasting Service ("not a network, but an association of public television stations organized to buy and distribute programs selected by a vote of the members") and the state of Hawaii ("comprises 132 islands about 2,400 miles southwest of San Francisco.")
  • A sports section, which includes terminology and how to present league standings.
  • A business section, which includes terminology such as the fact that f.o.b. is acceptable on first reference for free on board.
  • A briefing on American media law.
  • Material specific to working with AP, such as how to file photo captions.

AP also offers a subscription-based online version of the stylebook, which is updated with style changes as they are made and supports the addition of local style entries.

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