By: Kerri Goldsmith, Social Media Chair 

Kara Winton, APR, CPRC

Some things never change. However, other things like the AP Stylebook always do. At the chapter’s August luncheon meeting, Kara Winton, APR, CPRC, shared some recent updates and common mistakes when it comes to writing in AP style.

Why is it important to use the AP style guidelines? The Associated Press Stylebook is considered “the journalist’s bible”. Writing for the journalistic world is different than standard marketing or advertising communications. You’ll enhance your credibility and let journalists know you draft serious copy. Writing in the format they prefer also increases the likelihood your news release will be published as closely as possible to the version you submitted.

New in 2011, in addition to expanded food and social media sections are recommendations for spelling, punctuation and capitalization of the following terms:

  • email
  • cellphone/smartphone
  • bed-and-breakfast
  • 911 call
  • ecosystem/ecotourism
  • iPad

During an interactive session, Winton invited attendees to identify some of the most common AP style mistakes in some sample news releases. Here are just a few of them that should be avoided:

  • Abbreviation of the states is NOT in the post office format. It should be Fla. Instead of FL.
  • Telephone numbers should be hyphenated 239-123-4567 rather than with parentheses.
  • Do not capitalize the “southwest” when using the location southwest Florida.
  • Website in AP style, is all one word, not two.
  • The numbers one through nine are spelled out; numbers 10 and above are used as numerals.
  • Use a.m. and p.m.; not AM/PM or am/pm.

The AP Stylebook is updated each year, and the 2011 spiral-bound edition was released in May. You can also purchase an online subscription or edition for your smartphone to receive more frequent updates. AP Stylebook is even on Twitter as @APStylebook. For some laughs, read tweets from @FakeAPStyle.