July 26, 2019


The Associated Press (AP) style is how journalists write stories. AP style has its own set of rules for everything from abbreviations to formal titles. It is meant to keep writing easy to read, concise and free of bias and is the standard writing style for newspapers, magazines and public relations firms. While the reason for using AP style in news stories makes obvious sense, why exactly is it important in public relations?

PR Writing - New AP Rules for 2019

When looking to accumulate media coverage of a news release, blog post, social media post and any other publication, writing in AP style ensures the opportunity to catch the attention of any news source. If the writing style of your publication matches theirs, it will be much more likely to gain media attention. Having this universal guide to a commonly used communication writing style allows for much easier use of one publication on multiple platforms. Using this style in PR writing helps to communicate your message to other journalists in a clear manner.

The Associated Press Stylebook is considered the standard reference for these guidelines which PR professionals and other journalists abide by when writing. With the goal of having information provided in a clear and neutral manner, AP style writing has evolved many rules over the years to accommodate the ever-changing society. With the updated 2019 version of the AP Stylebook now released, there are some new and exciting changes that are important to look for when flipping through your copy:

There is a new entry entirely dedicated to race-related coverage. New discussion of the use of the term “racist” and the label of “racism” are discussed in this new chapter. For example: avoid using racist to label a person. Use it to describe their words or actions.

Hyphens have been deleted from many words. Among them include babysit, babysitting, babysat, babysitter, bestseller and bestselling.

Percent Sign
AP style now uses the % sign when paired with a numeral, no space included (in most cases). The word “percentage” rather than “percent” should be used when not paired with a number.

Deepfake is now a noun or adjective referring to “a manipulated video or other digital representation produced by sophisticated machine-learning techniques that yield seemingly realistic, but fabricated, images and sounds.”

An entirely new chapter all about health, science and environmental reporting will be included in the 2019 edition. It covers how to choose stories, evaluating studies, dealing with numbers and more.

~ Abigail Denny