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The history of the AP Stylebook

Monday, February 04, 2008

An ode to every journalist's best friend: the AP Stylebook... The first AP Stylebook was produced in 1953 and had 62 pages, according to the Associated Press. The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, as it is formally know, is edited by longtime AP editor Norm Goldstein and is updated annually. The 2007 edition includes new words like BlackBerry, hip-hop (in 2007?) and Katmandu and in the spirit of new media is available online. What do you use yours for?


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Anonymous Erica Smith Says:    
Thank goodness they finally simplfied that whole fund-raiser/fundraising (fundraiser? fund-raising?) debate. That one always tripped me up. And the state abbreviation for Wisconsin. And, sometimes, international datelines.

The tagline on the cover of my college stylebook (1995 version) always bugged me: "Used by more than 1,000,000 journalists." On the stylebook cover "1 million" should be AP style.

February 13, 2008 11:34 PM

Anonymous Colleen Newvine Says:    
Thanks so much for the AP Stylebook shout out. It's often called the journalists' bible and we're proud so many reporters, editors, public relations pros and other kinds of words people find it valuable.

A few things your readers might find interesting:
-- AP releases a new edition of the Stylebook each spring, and the 2008 book represented one of the most comprehensive updates ever. Some of the new entries included anti-virus, iPhone and WMD.
-- The 2009 edition will be coming in just a few months.
-- There are actually two versions of the Stylebook -- the spiral-bound one AP sells, and the perfect-bound book that our publishing partner Perseus sells through amazon.com, bricks and mortar bookstores and the like. The content is similar, though AP's includes more filing guidelines. Your images show some of both versions, showing how we've evolved together.
-- Norm Goldstein, our long-time editor, retired after the 2007 book. Now a team including AP Editor at Large Darrell Christian, Deputy Managing Editor Sally Jacobsen and Manager for News Administration David Minthorn lead the Stylebook.
-- The Stylebook continues to evolve as news happens, and subscribers to the AP Stylebook Online have gotten email alerts about new terms relating to the economic crisis, AP's new approach to identifying the president and many more.

Anyone who has questions about the Stylebook is welcome to email me. We love hearing from readers.

January 23, 2009 2:50 PM

Blogger Byliner Says:    
Years ago, the Society of Professional Journalists had coffee mugs and T-shirts with phrases to complete: "You know you're a journalist when ..."

The first phrase on the coffee mug and farther down the list on the T-shirt was: "... you grab the AP Stylebook on your way to church because you believe it's more accurate than the Bible."

When I sent a message in 2000 to Norm Goldstein (no relation) about the phrase, he said: "How can I get one of those?" [a mug or a T-shirt]

I checked with SPJ national headquarters, but no mugs or T-shirts were available. So I sent him my unworn T-shirt; I really wanted to keep the mug.

Norm was thrilled with the T-shirt at AP headquarters and sent me an inscribed copy of the AP Stylebook. Unfortunately, as a copy editor for a daily, I later would pepper him with e-mail messages and examples of AP writers and editors not following the AP Stylebook.

I've always been grateful for the AP Stylebook, and I have almost absorbed it by osmosis. I'm also grateful to Norm and his predecessors — as well as the late Rene Cappon — for their efforts to guide us writers and editors to high standards of writing and editing.

March 31, 2009 7:41 AM

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