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Posted on 06.05.2014

“What Fresh Hell is This?” An Overview of Updates to AP Stylebook 2014

The AP Stylebook 2014 is here! I previously shared a rant about AP's decision to allow the use of "over" rather than "more than" to indicate greater numerical value. So I'll consider enough to have been said on that.

But, as always, there are other interesting changes that accompany this year's release of the AP's style guide.

One that may actually come as a relief to some is that state names will now be spelled out AP Stylebook 2014in the body of press releases and news stories. For editors who've found changing "TN" to "Tenn." over and over again a tad tiresome, that solves that! Spelling it out for consistency and clarity is okay with me, but note one exception: state names should continue to be abbreviated in most datelines - and that's with the "Tenn." style abbreviation, by the way. "TN" is still a U.S. postal code appropriate for mailing addresses.

What's an exception to even that rule? (Yes, this is a test.)

It's the cities AP has designated that stand alone in datelines, such as Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Miami, New York and Seattle, just to choose a few. Consult your AP Stylebook for the others - if you don't know them. (For shame!)

Other changes for 2014 include:

  • The "District" in "District of Columbia" can now be capitalized on second reference with AP's blessing. Many communicators inside the beltway already conformed to this "new" guidance.
  • AP is looking out for the delicate sensibilities of those more mature adults, urging the same caution be used about the word "elderly" as is used for racial and ethnic terms when referring to an individual - unless it's clearly relevant to the story. AP advises using age when available and appropriate rather than characterizing an individual as elderly.
  • A new religion chapter contains more than 200 terms.
  • Hip new entries like selfie, bitcoin and LGBT bring AP firmly into 2014.

And in case you didn't know, AP will soon have an app for that! According to the organization's May 28 announcement, "AP Stylebook Mobile is a universal iOS app that contains all the content from the spiral-bound book, with the ability to search, add personalized listings or notes and mark your favorite listings for easy reference. The 2014 app is expected to be available soon."


Dana Coleman is a Vice President at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Dana’s blogs here. Connect with Dana at Dana@lovell.com or @lovelldc

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