March 19, 2020
/ by Rocky Parker
See the original post on Beyond Bylines.
It's time for our next quarterly AP Style roundup.
With COVID-19 absolutely dominating the news cycle and probably factoring into your writing in one way or another, it's important to know the style guide rules around it.
We also have reminders on 2020 election terminology, health and fitness, and the #MeToo movement.
Let's get started.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause a variety of illnesses, including the common cold and SARS.
The outbreak that began in 2019 in Wuhan, China, is caused by a virus called 2019-nCoV. “nCoV” stands for novel coronavirus.
In February, the World Health Organization (WHO) proposed a new name for the disease: COVID-19 (short for coronavirus disease 2019). The new name was proposed in an effort to avoid stigma. COVID-19 is acceptable on first reference, but it should be explained later in the story.
On March 11, WHO determined that the virus is now a global pandemic, meaning it has spread worldwide.
Symptoms can include fever, dry coughing, and breathing trouble.
First reference should be the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is acceptable for the second reference.
Related: Check out Pew Research Center's field guide to reporting on polls and our six-month calendar of upcoming election events to help plan your coverage.
Terms like alcoholic, addict, abuser, junkie, and drunk generally should be avoided. Use phrases like “she is addicted” or “they used drugs.”
Those terms are acceptable if included in quotations or names of organizations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
Whether you’re referring to the age of a person, animal, or object, always use figures: the building is 100 years old.
If the age is used as an adjective before a noun or as a substitute for a noun, include hyphens: the 29-year-old mother; a group of 10-year-olds.
This is an exception to the rule to spell out numbers less than 10. Always use the figure when referencing age.
Age should be included for someone commenting only if their age is relevant to the information they are providing.
Here are a few of the helpful tips that were shared during a chat on Jan. 29.
As many people are currently working from home and practicing social distancing, here are a few streaming home workout ideas.
Since it was initiated and spread via social media, AP Style is to always include the hashtag when referencing the #MeToo movement.
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