The AP Stylebook, 56th Edition, was published in June 2022 with more than 300 new and modified entries.
This edition of the AP Stylebook features a new chapter on inclusive storytelling, emphasizing that such efforts are essential to accuracy and fairness and giving guidance on how to achieve those goals. We note that inclusive storytelling seeks to truly represent all people around the globe, giving voice and visibility to those who have been missing or misrepresented in traditional narratives of both history and daily journalism.
Among the chapter’s focuses: recognizing and overcoming unconscious biases; being sensitive about specific words and phrases; reaching beyond your usual sources and story ideas; including the necessary context and background; avoiding tokenism; and making content accessible.
Behind the Stylebook scenes: who we are, how we do it, why we do it. Also, an expanded list of contributors both inside and outside the AP, and an expanded bibliography with more online resources and other stylebooks.
Pronouns: As much as possible, AP now uses they/them/their as a way of accurately describing and representing a person who uses those pronouns for themself. This is an expansion on our more limited 2017 guidance.
Disabilities: Additions and revisions to updates made on AP Stylebook Online in 2021; the feedback we requested on those changes helped shape this version. Revisions include: If individual or group preferences can’t be determined, use a mix of identity-first language and person-first language. As always, we recommend referring to a person’s disability only when relevant to the story; being specific about what the disability is; and asking a person’s preference about language. In addition to overview guidance, we added or revised 35 disabilities-related entries throughout the book.
Those revised entries include guidance that the uppercase Deaf is acceptable, if used by a person or group, in descriptions such as the cultural Deaf community, Deaf education, Deaf culture, etc. We use lowercase deaf for the audiological condition and for people with that condition.
Immigration, migration: Greatly expanded and revised, including discussion of language such as crisis and guidance to avoid imagery conjuring war or natural disaster such as onslaught, tidal wave, flood, inundation, invasion, army, march, sneak and stealth. Explanation of the terms migrant vs. immigrant. A detailed rundown on agencies dealing with immigration and migration. Also, 20 new or revised individual entries, including refugees, asylum-seekers, “catch and release,” explusions, deportations, pushbacks, birthright citizenship, sanctuaries, “Dreamers” and more.
Race-related coverage: Revised guidance to not use Black(s) or white(s) as either a singular or plural noun; previously we had said the plural use was acceptable in limited uses. New entries on critical race theory and historically Black colleges and universities, and new guidance on Arab Americans. The Native Americans, American Indians section now notes that the term Natives is acceptable on second reference, and adds entries including Indian Country and tribal affiliation. It changes the preferred spelling to tipi, rather than teepee. And it advises: Do not use the word squaw in any sense, including quotes, to refer to individual Native Americans. The word is acceptable if necessary as a first reference to a place name, but limit its use.
The print book also adds race-related coverage updates made in Stylebook Online after the 55th Edition was published. Those include capitalizing Black; discussion of the terms systemic/structural/institutional racism; and a number of Asian American-related terms. See below for more.
Gender, sex and sexual orientation: A renamed umbrella entry, including more than 25 new or revised entries. They include transgender, nonbinary, gender identity, sexual identity, gender expression, gender-fluid, gender-fluidity, genderqueer, gender dysphoria. We now use LGBTQ instead of LGBT. The deadnaming entry says: Deadname a person very rarely and only if required to understand the news, or if requested by the person.
Female, woman: Revised guidance noting that some people object to the use of female as a descriptor for women because it can be seen as emphasizing biology and reproductive capacity over gender identity. It can also sometimes carry misogynistic tones that may vary in severity by race, class and other factors.
Religion chapter: Thoroughly updated and expanded, with 30 new entries including African Methodist Episcopal Church; Sikhi, Sikhism; humanism, humanist; “nones.”
We now say that Roman Catholic, which refers to the Latin branch of Catholicism, is not the appropriate first reference when referring to the pope, the Vatican or the universal church. Catholic Church should be used instead, since it encompasses believers belonging to the Latin (Roman) and Eastern churches. Given the majority of Catholics belong to the Latin (Roman) rite, it is acceptable to use Roman Catholic Church on first reference if the context is clearly referring to the Latin rite. For example: the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
Social media and web-based reporting chapter: New chapter name, with updates throughout, such as how to guard against the misinformation that can easily be mistaken for fact on online platforms. Includes some detail that previously was in the internet entry.
Polls and surveys chapter: Adds more detail on survey weighting and exit polling, and makes other updates and edits throughout.
Coronavirus: Updates in that entry, along with separate entries including anti-vaxxer (don’t use the term); antiviral, antivirus; epidemic, pandemic, endemic; superspreader; vaccine, vaccination. Many other terms are in the Coronavirus Topical Guide on Stylebook Online.
Cryptocurrency, blockchain, bitcoin, NFT, Web3: Renamed entry combines formerly separate entries, adds NFT and Web3 and updates throughout. We now use lowercase bitcoin on all references.
Terrorism: New guidance saying to describe specific actions that are being perpetrated, and attribute the use of the word terrorism or terrorist to authorities or others except when talking about significant historical events widely acknowledged as terrorist actions.
Marijuana, cannabis: Renamed entry now says those terms can be used interchangeably. We also update to say don’t use inaccurate terms like synthetic marijuana and we give guidance on alternative phrasing. Other updates throughout.
Japanese internment, incarceration: New entry notes that while internment has been applied historically to all these detainments, the broad use of the term is inaccurate. Instead: the incarceration of Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals.
Military terms: New entry cautions not to use the terms military training or decorated broadly. Be specific about the person’s military roles or awards. Don’t use the term soldiers broadly to describe members of the U.S. armed forces; it applies only to members of the Army. Use former Marine rather than ex-Marine for a Marine who has been honorably discharged.
Advice to limit use of community in reference to groups of people, because it implies homogeneity. An entry covering electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. An updated entry noting that spongy moth is the new term for gypsy moth and advising not to use gypsy in any sense. Guidance that the terms pregnant people or people seeking abortions should be confined to stories that specifically address the experiences of people who do not identify as women.
A new entry saying to avoid the terms child-free and childless. We say the terms supervised injection sites, safe injection sites and overdose prevention centers are acceptable.
We have removed most individual listings for companies, airlines and railroads. They remain available on Stylebook Online. We also removed individual listings for a number of cities; that guidance is included in the datelines entry. The Broadcast chapter is now online only (the Food and Fashion chapters were moved to online previously). Most words previously listed only for spelling have been removed from the print book.
2021 updates made on AP Stylebook Online and now in the print book:
A change in style to antisemitism, antisemitic.
In the race-related coverage entry, new entries in addition to those noted above: Indigenous; brown; people of color; BIPOC; slaves, enslaved people; Black Lives Matter; Juneteenth.
Additions to the overview of race-related coverage: Be aware that some words and phrases that seem innocuous to one group can carry negative connotations, even be seen as slurs, to another. And: Do not write in a way that assumes white is the default.
Guidance on the terms riot, unrest, protest, demonstration, uprising, revolt; looting, looters; officer-involved, police-involved; defund.
Revised guidance that although temperatures get higher or lower, phrasing such as warmer temperatures or cold temperatures is also acceptable.
A new Uyghur entry. A change in style to TSA PreCheck. Revised guidance that injuries may be suffered, sustained or received. Guidance to avoid the vague medical jargon trauma in many cases.