Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, usually
called the AP Stylebook, is an English grammar style and usage guide
created by American journalists working for or connected with the
Associated Press over the last century to standardize mass
communications. Although it is sold as a guide for reporters, it has
become the leading reference for most forms of public-facing corporate
communication over the last half-century. The Stylebook offers a basic
reference to grammar, punctuation and principles of reporting,
including many definitions and rules for usage as well as styles for
capitalization, abbreviation, spelling and numerals.
The first publicly available edition of the book was published in 1953
and was updated biennially over the next 20 years. Today the AP
Stylebook is updated annually (usually in June). On September 28, 2009
Associated Press released the first mobile edition of the
Stylebook for the iPhone—the
AP Stylebook app. In 2013, Associated
Press publisher's celebrated the book's 60th anniversary (edition
numbers are no longer used). The first
Basic Books edition was
published in August 1977. Modern editions are released in
several formats, including trade paperback, flat-lying spiral-bound,
an online subscription and an iOS mobile app.
Writers in broadcasting, magazine publishing, marketing departments
and public relations firms traditionally adopt and apply AP grammar
and punctuation styles. Over the last 50 years, the
AP Stylebook has
become a leading style for non-journalistic publishers such as
corporate marketing and public relations departments. Its simplified
grammar, such as dropping the
Oxford comma and using figures for all
numbers above nine, saves scarce print and web space.
4 Revision process
6 External links
The stylebook is organized into sections:
A reference section for reporters covering business and financial news
including general knowledge of accounting, bankruptcy, mergers and
international bureaus. For instance, it includes explanations of five
different chapters of bankruptcy.
Sports Guidelines and Style
Includes terminology, statistics, organization rules and guidelines
commonly referenced by sports reporters. Example: The correct way to
spell and use basketball terminology e.g. half-court pass, field goal
Guide to Punctuation
A specific guide on how to use punctuation in journalistic materials,
this section includes rules regarding hyphens, commas, parentheses and
quotations. Example: In a series use commas to separate items but no
comma before a conjunction e.g. We bought eggs, milk and cheese at the
Briefing on Media Law
An overview of legal issues and ethical expectations for those working
in the journalism industry. Example: The difference between slander
and libel. Slander is spoken; libel is written, to start with.
The simple formula of what to include when writing a photo outline.
A key with editing symbols to assist the journalist with the
proofreading process. Example: When a word is circled it means that
the word should be abbreviated, or that an abbreviation should be
This provides second reference materials for information not included
in the book. Example: Use Webster's New World College Dictionary,
Fourth Edition, Wiley, Hoboken, N.J. as first reference after the AP
Stylebook for spelling, style, usage and foreign geographic names.
For many years the
AP Stylebook was titled The Associated Press
Stylebook and Libel Manual. In 2000, the guide was renamed
Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. Some
editions, such as the 2004 copy, used the shorter title The Associated
Press Stylebook on their covers.
Associated Press organization was first created in 1846.
Throughout much of its history, the AP maintained a style book for
member reporters. By the early 1950s the publication was formalized
AP Stylebook and became the leading professional English
grammar reference by most member and non-member news bureaus
throughout the world. Due to growing demand by non-member journalists
and writers working in public-facing corporate communications, the AP
published their style book for the general public in 1953. The first
publication focused on "where the wire set a specific style"; for
nearly a quarter century it assumed its reader had a "solid grounding
in language and a good reference library" and thus omitted any
guidelines in those broader areas. In 1977, prompted by AP
Executive News Editor Louis Boccardi's request for "more of a
reference work", the organization started expanding the book. That
year's book was produced jointly with competitor United Press
International. In 1989, Norm Goldstein became the AP Stylebook
editor, a job he held until the 2007 edition. After publishing the
final edition under his editorship, Goldstein commented on the future
of the AP Stylebook's section on name references:
I think the difference...now is that there is more information
available on the Internet, and I'm not sure, and at least our
executive editor is not sure, how much of a reference book we ought to
be anymore. I think some of our historical background material like on
previous hurricanes and earthquakes, that kind of encyclopedic
material that's so easily available on the Internet now, might be cut
AP Stylebook editors Paula Froke, Sally Jacobsen and David Minthorn
now lead the Stylebook. In 2009 the Stylebook was released as an
iPhone app which included regular updates and customized features. The
most recent[when?] print edition is the 2017 AP Stylebook, available
spiral-bound directly from AP, and as a perfect-bound paperback sold
by Basic Books.
While nearly two million copies of the
AP Stylebook have been
distributed since 1977, today the
AP Stylebook is developing an
online presence with profiles on social media platforms like Twitter
(@APStylebook)  and Facebook, and is available through an
online subscription model as well as an iOS mobile app.
The stylebook is updated annually by
Associated Press editors, usually
in June, and at this time edits and new entries may be added. In 2008,
200 new entries were added, including words and phrases like
"podcast", "text messaging", "social networking" and
"high-definition". The 2009 edition added the entries "Twitter" and
"texting". This is done to keep the stylebook up to date with
technological and cultural changes.
Associated Press Stylebook 2009,
ISBN 978-0-917360-53-4, "First edition, August 1977; 44th
Edition, 2009." This makes the 2015 edition the 50th. Amazon.com and
other sellers are not reliable sources for edition and release
details, and frequently give conflicting edition information, or are
missing releases (e.g. Amazon.com does not know the 2014 edition
existed). Recent editions no longer provide an edition number,
requiring that it be calculated from an edition that did.
^ Library of Congress Catalog Record for The Associated Press
Stylebook and Libel Manual
^ Mark S. Luckie (February 4, 2008). "= The history of the AP
Stylebook". 10,000 Words. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009.
^ Library of Congress Catalog Record for The Associated Press
Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law
Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law
^ a b c d "School of
Journalism and Mass Communications". University
of South Carolina. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
^ United Press International. "Introduction to the UPI Stylebook".
UPIU. a social media platform for journalism students and
^ "Guard Changes on 'AP Stylebook' Team of Editors".
^ "pr_041305a.html". AP.org. Associated Press. 2011. Archived from the
original on 2011-01-19. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
AP Stylebook (APStylebook) on Twitter". Twitter.com. Retrieved
^ "AP Stylebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
Associated Press Style from The COM Writing Cen