New AP Stylebook includes new criminal justice chapter


The Associated Press has released The Associated Press Stylebook, 57th Edition, which includes guidance that is new as of May 29, such as a new chapter on criminal justice, plus additions and changes made throughout the year on AP Stylebook Online. 

The full changeover to Merriam-Webster as the Stylebook’s official dictionary also officially took effect yesterday.

The new criminal justice chapter provides extensive guidance and best practices for covering public safety and criminal justice and emphasizes the need for accountability journalism, including looking for warning signs that might have been missed, law enforcement response, weapons issues, and what might be done to prevent similar crimes in the future.

The chapter also includes more than 50 individual entries covering specific terms, including many that are new to the Stylebook or significantly revised. They include:

  • Notable changes to guidance on weapons that now says the terms assault weapon or assault weapons may be used in headlines and on first reference in stories. Previous guidance advised avoiding the terms, but now limited use is allowed with specifics included whenever possible.
  • A new entry on juvenile, minor, noting the numerous problems with these terms, including racial connotations, inconsistent definitions and the dehumanizing effect for both victims and suspects.
  • New guidance on prison, jail, prisoner, inmate, incarcerated person, advising to, when possible, use person-first language to describe someone who is incarcerated or someone in prison.
  • A new entry on sex work, prostitution, noting the various issues with these terms and others like them, and giving guidance on usage, including other possible terms.

The chapter was primarily written by a team of AP criminal justice reporters and editors, who attended trainings by Poynter and others and consulted with the Marshall Project among additional research.

In addition, The Associated Press receives support from the Public Welfare Foundation for reporting focused on criminal justice, including the research and work associated with creating the new chapter on criminal justice. 

At more than 500 pages, the AP Stylebook is widely used as a writing and editing reference in newsrooms, classrooms and corporate offices worldwide. Updated regularly since its initial publication in 1953, the AP Stylebook is a must-have reference for writers, editors, students and professionals. It provides fundamental guidelines for spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style. It is the definitive resource for journalists.

The AP Stylebook is available in spiral-bound print — now published biennially — and online in several digital formats.

AP Stylebook Online has become the primary way professional writers and editors access this definitive resource. It is regularly updated to reflect changes to news writing in real-time.

AP Stylebook Online includes all Stylebook listings, plus an Ask the Editor feature with extensive archives, and Topical Guides about news events. Users can add their own entries, make notes and receive notifications throughout the year when AP’s editors add or update listings.

The new Stylebook print edition costs $27.95 for AP member news organizations and college bookstores and $34.95 retail. AP Stylebook Online prices are $30 for individual subscribers for one year, $24 for a single user at news organizations that are AP members. Prices for Stylebook Online site licenses are based on the number of users, starting at $240 for 10 users for a year.

The new print edition and digital subscriptions can be ordered online at

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About AP:

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. More than half the world’s population sees AP journalism every day. Online:


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