AP Stylebook marks 60th anniversary with new edition, out today

The new print edition of the AP Stylebook, which comes out today, features new entries on a wide range of topics -- weapons, fashion and social media, to name a few.

The Stylebook, which turns 60 this year, has traditionally done a good job reflecting the evolving nature of language.

Some of this year's changes -- such as the updated entries on illegal immigration and the new entry on mental illness -- were in response to ongoing debates about the way journalists use certain terms and phrases in news stories about these topics. AP spokesperson Paul Colford, for instance, has acknowledged that the Newtown school shooting was a factor in the updated entries on mental illnesses. The Stylebook has also made a greater push in recent years to avoid labels, such as "illegal immigrant" and "mentally ill."

Here are some of the notes or changes in this years new print edition:

  • A new, four-page numerals section that says numerals are now the preferred usage for all dimensions and distances. The section provides about 200 examples of when to use numerals and when to spell them out.
  • The social media section has been expanded to include terms such as Google Hangout, circles and flash mob. There's also new information on how to authenticate, reference and attribute user-generated content.
  • The weapons section has new entries on lever-action and bolt-action rifles and explains differences between clip and magazine, revolver and pistol and assault weapon and assault rifle.
  • There are new entries in the food section, such as upside-down cake, madeleine and Grand Marnier, as well as new fashion entries, including froufrou and chichi.

There are about 90 changes to this year's Stylebook -- compared to about 270 from last year. "It’s a little lower than some recent years, mainly because we didn’t add a major new chapter like food, fashion, broadcast or social media," AP Stylebook Product Manager Colleen Newvine said via email.

In addition to deciding on this year's new entries, the three AP Stylebook editors have created style quizzes with automated scoring. The quizzes cost $6.95 for a year of access, or $3.95 when accompanied by a purchase on apstylebook.com.

"We have gotten requests for several years for quizzes so we are offering them in response to our users. We will offer annual subscriptions, and subscribers can take each of the quizzes as many times as they like," Newvine said. "Right now, we have about three dozen quizzes, each with a handful of questions"

The quizzes are geared toward journalists, newsroom managers who want to help familiarize their staff with AP Style, students and others.

"We don’t offer the ability to monitor other people’s grades or to randomize the order of questions," Newvine said, "so they are not intended for classroom use."

The Stylebook editors plan to answer questions during a Twitter chat, using the hashtag #APStyleChat, at 2:30 p.m. EDT today. They'll also host a Google+ Hangout at 2 p.m. EDT on June 12.

In recognition of the Stylebook's 60th anniversary, here are some covers from throughout the years ....

The first AP Stylebook in 1953.
The 1960 cover.


1977 cover
2004 cover
2008 cover
The new 2013 Stylebook.
  • Mallary Jean Tenore

    As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website, Poynter.org, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the site's live chats. I also help handle the site's social media efforts, and teach social media sessions on the side.


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