The Associated Press Stylebook
or AP Stylebook
, often referred to as the "journalist's bible
", is the first and foremost guide of style and usage for journalists. Developed by the Associated Press
, almost every newspaper
in the United States subscribes to the basic tenets of "AP Style."
The book, which had more than 400 pages in its 2002 edition, covers a variety of topics, including:
- Basic questions about grammar, punctuation and spelling, some of which are unusual. For example, AP says teen-ager always takes a hyphen, an exception to most American dictionary usage; and it frowns on the widespread use of a serial comma before the last item in a list - that is, AP writes "red, white and blue" whereas many Americans write "red, white, and blue".
- Style guides for writing news stories, such as whether to convert foreign times to local times (generally not) and when to put "Dr." in front of a person's name (only for certain medical titles, although it may be used for a non-medical Ph.D. if the subject matter is relevant to the topic).
- Quick background information on a wide variety of topics, such as the Public Broadcasting Service ("not a network, but an association of public television stations organized to buy and distribute programs selected by a vote of the members") and the state of Hawaii ("comprises 132 islands about 2,400 miles southwest of San Francisco.")
- Terminology and other items specific to sports reporting, such as how to present league standings.
- Terminology and other items specific to business reporting, such as the fact that f.o.b. is acceptable on first reference for free on board.
- A briefing on American media law.
- Material specific to working with AP, such as how to file photo captions.