Column: Coming soon to a newspaper near you


The Associated Press released last month the list of changes and new entries for the 2015 edition of its stylebook.

As the default style guide newspaper, magazine and TV writers adhere to the in U.S., there’s a high probability you’ll be seeing some of these changes soon.

Here are some of the more noteworthy updates:

  • BLT is now acceptable on first reference for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Which senior editor at the Associated Press has been sticking to his guns on this until 2015 – and how long does it take him to order lunch?
  • The stylebook finally has an entry for “meme.” YTMND launched in 2001, guys. With this and the BLT thing … you’re not exactly on the bleeding edge of the culture, AP.
  • You’ll be seeing “animal welfare activist” instead of “animal rights activist” from now on.
  • Kathmandu will now be spelled Kathmandu instead of, you know, however else we were spelling it.
  • This one I really like: There is now an entry chiding sportswriters for all the terrible clichés they use. I’m just going to excerpt it in its entirety:

“A team losing a game is not a ‘disaster.’ Home runs are homers, not ‘dingers,’ ‘jacks’ or ‘bombs.’ A player scored 10 straight points, not 10 ‘unanswered’ points. If a football team scores two touchdowns and the opponent doesn’t come back, say it ‘never trailed’ rather than ‘never looked back.’ In short, avoid hackneyed words and phrases, redundancies and exaggerations.”

  • That being said, they’ve added “parking the bus” as an acceptable description of a team packing its defense to protect a lead.
  • On a more serious note, the stylebook now advises against using the phrase “execution-style” to describe killings.
  • “Favorite” is now a verb – as in clicking that star button on Twitter and then never looking at the tweet again.
  • “Craft brewery” is now the preferred term instead of “microbrewery.”
  • Last one: Ulan Bator is out. Ulaanbaatar is in. Should make your upcoming trip to Mongolia a lot smoother.

Those are the big ones. Nothing so controversial this year as in 2014, when they decided “more than” and “over” could be used interchangeably. I’m still waiting on a response to my angry letter on that one…

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