September 24, 2020
/ by Rocky Parker
See the original post on Beyond Bylines.
It's hard to believe it's only been a few months since our last AP Style roundup. So much has happened since then.
Let's recap some of the recent AP Style rule reminders. And with the presidential election quickly approaching, we'll review some of the writing rules on that topic as well.
We reviewed AP Style rules regarding election lingo in a previous post. If you're covering the election, make sure you're familiar with these guidelines:
The @APStylebook Twitter held a chat on Aug. 19 to cover its new chapter on digital security for journalists. Here are a few takeaways:
Doxxing is “the malicious publication of information such as home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.”
Password security is crucial for journalists, whether for email or social media accounts, as they offer access to sources. Passwords should include a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols – and should differ for each account. AP also recommends using a password manager tool to help you keep track.
Journalists should always use secure Wi-Fi connections, whether via the office network or VPN software. Although phones are difficult to intercept, mobile carriers do have access to your location. Try using a “Faraday pouch” for your phone when meeting with sensitive sources.
Postal Service should be capitalized later on in a story referencing the U.S. Postal Service. As a standalone, “the service” should be lowercase.
As a generic reference to the agency or an individual post office, “post office” should be lowercase. The shorthand USPS should be avoided.
To align with other racial and ethnic identifiers like Latino and Asian American, AP Style was updated in June to capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic, or cultural sense. After much debate, AP came to the decision that white should continue to be lowercase.
The term "people of color" is acceptable in broad references to people of races other than white in the U.S. However, the term can be viewed as lumping people together into one group, so be specific when possible and do not use the term "person of color" for an individual. Along similar lines, the term "minority" can be used as a broad reference, but be specific when possible and do not use it as a singular noun.
Indigenous is capitalized when referring to the original inhabitants of a place.
Latino and Latina are acceptable terms when describing men and women with ancestors from a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America. Latinx is a gender-neutral term and should only be used in quotes or when someone specifically requests it – and make sure to explain it.
Keep in mind, you should often avoid identifying someone by their race, as it draws unnecessary attention to their race or ethnicity, which can be viewed as bigotry. Only note a person’s race or ethnicity if it’s relevant to the specific story and that relevance is made clear.
The term racist should not be used to describe a person, but rather a specific policy, action, or statement. If you determine that racist isn’t the right term, words like xenophobic, bigoted, biased, and nativist could be more appropriate.
Anti-racism should have a hyphen.
Read more guidelines for race-related coverage in this topical guide.
Rather than using terms like senior citizen, seniors, and the elderly, phrases like older adult and older person are generally preferred.
They are best used in general phrases rather than referring to specific individuals. If you can be specific, do it: "a community program for women over 65," for example.
Although it can be argued that the term is redundant, preheat is correct. The guidance was updated as many recipes use the term and some ovens have a preheat setting.
PB&J is acceptable in all references.
While BLT is acceptable on the first reference, if you add avocado, don’t use BLAT – write it out.
Babysit, babysitting, babysat, and babysitter should be written as one word, no hyphen needed.
However, day care is two words.
In our last AP Style review, we discussed some gender-neutral language. Here are a few more reminders:
AP Style doesn’t use the spelling "okay." Correct uses are OK, OK’d, OK’ing, and OKs.
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