The Associated Press has just published a new edition of its style manual. Like the 2004 edition, it is called Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. But this one is spiral bound, with the year 2006 on its cover. It sells for $13.75 plus shipping.
If your 2004 edition is in good condition and you are on a book budget, you probably don’t need this new volume. I will tell you about the new entries of interest to business writers.
These new entries are simple listings to show how to render the word or phrase:
–air bag (two words)
–census (lowercase unless referring to the U.S. Census Bureau)
–Central Asia (defined as including Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan)
–home schooling, home-schooled, home-schooler
–hot spot (two words)
–inbox (one word)
–K-9 (a simple listing–no explanation)
–mecca (lowercase for uses other than the actual city)
–Myanmar (name of the country, language, and inhabitants; you can also use “Myanmar people”)
–retarded (“mentally retarded” is preferred)
–Rhodes scholar (lowercase the words scholar and scholarship)
–sergeant-at-arms (a simple listing–no explanation)
–SEAL, SEALs (for the U.S. Navy special operations force)
–Shiite, Shiites (spelling for the branch of Islam)
–Taser (trademark for electronic device or stun gun)
–20-something (a simple listing)
–USA (no periods)
Among the updated company listings are these, which come with brief details of their histories: AT&T, Chevron Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Shell Oil Company, and US Airways.
Here are other updates:
disc, disk. This entry is updated but not different. Disk is used only for computer-related references, such as hard disk, and medical conditions. Other uses are disc.
earthquake. This listing adds two recent earthquakes: in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, and in South Asia, on October 8, 2005. It also gives the URL for the best source of earthquake information.
gay. This word is now preferred over homosexual except in clinical contexts and references to sexual activity.
Hawaiians. Use this term for members of the indigenous ethnic group; for people who live in Hawaii use “Hawaii resident” or “islander.”
transgender, transexual. AP recommends using the gender pronoun (he/she) preferred by the individual. If the preference is not known, use the pronoun that fits the way the individual lives publicly.
There are also updates in the sports section and the sections on media law and filing stories, but those are probably not of interest to business writers. I know I never consult them.
Finally, these entries have been removed from the new edition: blog, COBOL, FORTRAN, sex changes, Venator Group, and Woolworth’s. Also, the Metric Conversion Chart is gone. It’s no surprise that we no longer need to know how to render COBOL and Woolworth’s (I drank cokes at the soda fountain there as a girl), but I wonder about leaving out the conversion chart. I guess we don’t need to worry, since AP provides a link for a megaconverter in the new volume.
Those are the differences. You decide if the spiral binding and bright new cover are worth $13.75.