AP Stylebook update: Multiple emoji are emoji

What’s the plural of emoji, and how should they be quoted in news stories? Guidance for emoji (yes, that’s the plural usage) and a new entry on marijuana are among 200 new and updated entries to the 2018 Associated Press Stylebook, released Wednesday.

Here’s the entry for emoji:

“A symbol, such as a cartoon face, hand gesture, animal or other object, that might be used instead of a word or as an illustration in text messages or on social media. See emoticon.”

The quotations in the news entry includes guidelines for quoting emoji, GIFs and other imagery:

“Treat the visual material as context or gestures when important to include, describing by paraphrasing: Chavis sparked a flurry of responses against the airline after tweeting a GIF of large crowds at the gate, with the message “#missinghoneymoon” and an emoji string of a worried smiley, a ring, an hourglass and an umbrella propped on a beach.

Be aware that some GIFs, emoji or other images may contain hidden meanings and nuances requiring consideration and more than just a simple description of the image posted.

Do not use parentheses to describe an emoji within a direct quote, to avoid confusing readers by making it seem as if the person being quoted wrote out the description in text.”

A new entry adds terminology and usage details for marijuana and medical marijuana. Here are the highlights:

“Marijuana is the dried flower of the cannabis plant, used as a drug for recreational or medical purposes. Cannabis is the usual term outside North America; it and pot are also acceptable … Slang terms such as weed, reefer, ganja or 420 are acceptable in limited, colloquial cases or in quotations.

When cannabis is used for medical purposes, it is generally known as medical marijuana. The term usually refers to the dried flowers that are smoked, vaporized or incorporated into food known as edibles.”

The terms biracial and multiracial are now acceptable:

“Acceptable, when clearly relevant, to describe people with more than one racial heritage. Usually more useful when describing large, diverse groups of people than individuals. Avoid mixed-race, which can carry negative connotations, unless a story subject prefers the term. Be specific if possible, and then use biracial for people of two heritages or multiracial for those of two or more on subsequent references if needed.”

In other updates, sentences can now begin with a numeral-and-letter combination, such as the term 3D. A new entry explains distinctions between act, amendment, bill, law, measure, ordinance, resolution, rule and statute, and a new chapter expands previous guidance on polls and surveys. Other new entries include fetus and unborn baby, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, HIPAA, coworking and gig economy.

The AP previously announced style updates at the annual American Copy Editors Society conference in April. Additions included designations between the terms survivor and victim, storm names, and guidelines on using the terms sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.

The print stylebook is available for about $23. AP Stylebook editor Paula Froke will answer questions about the new book in a Twitter chat at 2:30 p.m. EST Wednesday using #APStyleChat.

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    Taylor Blatchford

    Taylor Blatchford is the 2018 Google News Initiative Fellow at The Poynter Institute. She recently graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor's degree in investigative and international journalism.

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