AP Stylebook: Now with digital security tips for journalists

Plus, there’s a coronavirus entry in the latest edition

May 27, 2020

Journalists longing for their newsroom’s tattered copy of the AP Stylebook, or just, you know, their newsrooms, might be happy to know that when they do eventually return, a brand new stylebook could be waiting.

It’ll have to last for two years, though. As the Associated Press previously announced, the stylebook will now be published every other year.

“The shift to printing a Stylebook every other year comes as more users subscribe to AP Stylebook Online, which is updated continually throughout the year with new and revised entries,” a press release says.

This year’s edition — the AP’s 55th — is out today and includes more than 200 new and revised entries; a new chapter on digital security for journalists, helping journalists “secure their devices, online accounts and reporting material to protect their work and sources and avoid online harassment;” and a new entry on the coronavirus. The AP also has a topical guide for the global pandemic.

AP Stylebook editor Paula Froke will talk about the new edition at 2:30 p.m. today in a Twitter chat.

Here are a few tips from the new coronavirus entry:

  • “Referring to simply the coronavirus is acceptable on first reference in stories about COVID-19. While the phrasing incorrectly implies there is only one coronavirus, it is clear in this context. Also acceptable on first reference: the new coronavirus or the new virus for the virus; COVID-19 for the disease caused by the virus.”
  • “Do not shorten to COVID, even in headlines, unless part of a quotation or proper name.”
  • “In stories, do not refer simply to coronavirus without the article the. Not: She is concerned about coronavirus. Omitting the is acceptable in headlines and in uses such as: He said coronavirus concerns are increasing.”

Kristen Hare covers the business and people of local news for Poynter.org and is the editor of Locally. You can subscribe to her weekly newsletter here. Kristen can be reached at khare@poynter.org or on Twitter at @kristenhare.