Copy Editors, Take Note: 2010 AP Stylebook Arrives, With Changes

By: E&P Staff

It’s the copy editor’s bible, the one book they reach for when questions of style, or usage, or even spelling arise. And the new edition of the Associated Press Stylebook has a few surprises in store.

The rise of social media has given way to a separate section of the Stylebook for the first time, in which — as AP noted some months back — “website” has been officially classified as one word, lower case. The Social Media Guidelines section also features AP policies on using Facebook and Twitter, and how journalists can use information obtained on those sites in their work.

The AP’s change from “Web site” to “website” was based on “increasingly common usage both in print and online,” according to a release. “Web,” however, remains a capitalized proper noun when used as a shortened form of World Wide Web.
 
“In making the change, the Stylebook team considered responses from our staff as well as readers and users of the Stylebook,” Darrell Christian, AP’s editor-at-large, said in a statement. “It was clear that ‘website’ has become the widely accepted usage.”

Also included are dozens of separate entries on such terms as app, blogs, click-throughs, friend and unfriend (no hyphen in the latter), metadata, RSS, search engine optimization, smart phone (two words, lower case), trending, widget and wiki. 
 
For those who enjoy a good thorough dateline, the latest Stylebook has changes to some cities that previously have appeared alone in stories, without country identification. Country names have been restored to Bogota, Colombia; Copenhagen, Denmark; Frankfurt and Hamburg, Germany; Kabul, Afghanistan, and Oslo, Norway. The province was restored for Ottawa, Ontario, in Canada. According to the AP, the changes were based “on editors’ judgment that these cities get higher reader recognition when paired with their countries in news stories.”
 
In the isn’t-this-confusing category, the new Stylebook also makes the distinction between Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the discount retailer’s corporate name, and Walmart, for the actual stores.
 
Other new entries: “Great Recession,” referring to the 2007-08 economic downturn that was the worst recession since the Great Depression; tea party, for the conservative political movement (no caps); Blu-ray; Breathalyzer; International Space Station; “mic” as the shortened form for microphone; Taser; and Ultimate Fighting, among others.
 
First produced in 1953, the Stylebook began as a stapled collection of rules totaling 60 pages. Today, it weighs in at more than 450 pages. The Stylebook’s official Twitter account has more than 44,000 followers.
 
The new, spiral-bound print edition and online subscriptions can be ordered here. The Stylebook is also available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

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