In April, the American Copy Editors Society announced the 2016 updates to their AP StyleBook. All up there are 250 changes, and some are more significant than others.
For those outside the United States, the AP StyleBook is THE go-to for writers, marketers and journalists. It stops us using Oxford commas and standardizes terminology for clarity. It’s like the Australian Government’s Style Manual and the News Limited Style had a baby. Except the AP StyleBook is older. Oh, and it’s used by a lot more writers.
Changes to the 2016 AP StyleBook
As mentioned, there are 250 changes. Don’t worry, we’re not going through them all. I actually can’t find a conclusive list.
Lowercase for web and internet
This was the big one and understandably didn’t cause a stir. We’ve all been using house style guides to over-ride the AP rule for years. As of June 1 (then the new edition is released), we can officially use lowercase letters for web and internet. World Wide Web is still capitalized though. As it’s just catching up with expectations I don’t feel the need to elaborate further.
Media is another catch up for the AP Stylebook. Plural or singular? Many don’t know that media is actually plural. Now we can acceptably use it for both.
This one made me giggle and shake my head. When we’ve entered a world that accepts male and female aren’t the only options, we still only can use spokeswoman and spokesman. Now we don’t need to make assumptions on the gender of who is speaking. We have spokesperson as an option. While some traditionalists may argue this one, it helps when interviews are done online or via telephone and we can’t conclusively identify the interviewee’s gender.
A few updates clarify existing phrases. Accident versus crash, claimed versus said, and alleged victim. Unintentional bias can slip into the context, so these changes help clarify meaning.
The UBER Effect
The rise of the sharing economy has brought forth a new set of terminology. AP recommends using ride booking versus ride sharing. As Mignon Fogerty said, it does make sense because you are paying for the service.
Blogs have featured more changes, but these are the ones that caught my attention the most. It’s only a few weeks until the 2016 edition comes out. Personally, I’m tired of working from an outdated print copy so my next task is to finally subscribe to the AP StyleBook Online.