Home » OPINION » Columns » TODD SMITH: New AP Style changes announced at editors conference

TODD SMITH: New AP Style changes announced at editors conference


For the first time, the Associated Press now permits journalists to use “they” as a singular pronoun. The AP announced the style change last week at the American Copy Editors Society conference in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The change follows years of questions among copy editors, reporters and editors about the use of language specifically about people who are non-binary and don’t use gendered pronouns.

The change is in effect online and will be in the print edition of the 2017 AP Stylebook on May 31. The new edition includes 200 new and updated entries.

his, her. AP style used to be to use he when gender is not known. This entry now refers to the entry on they, them, their.

homophobia, homophobic. Acceptable in broad references or in quotations to the concept of fear or hatred of gays, lesbians and bisexuals. In individual cases, be specific about observable actions; avoid descriptions or language that assumes motives. (The previous version of the Stylebook recommended against using these words.)

LGBT. LGBTQ. Acceptable in all references for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and/or queer. In quotations and the formal names of organizations and events, other forms such as LGBTQIA and other variations are also acceptable with the other letters explained.

gender. The editors began the presentation by unveiling a huge new entry on gender including new entries on cisgender, intersex, transgender, and more.

autonomous vehicles. Do not use the term driverless unless there is no person on board who can take control in an emergency. They may be called self-driving cars. Describes cars or truck that can monitor the road and drive for an entire trip without intervention from a human. For vehicles that can do some but not all of the driving, such as some Tesla models, use the terms semi-autonomous or or partially self-driving.

courtesy titles. In general, do not use courtesy titles except in direct quotations. When it is necessary to distinguish between two people who use the same last name, as in married couples or brothers and sisters, use the first and last name. The presenters gave the example that it would still be proper to refer to Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Obama if the courtesy title is needed for clarity.

cyberattack. One word. Often overused. A computer operation carried out over a device or network that causes physical damage or significant and wide-spread disruption.

Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program. Use the acronym DACA sparingly and only on second reference. Do not use DREAMers or dreamers to describe DACA recipients. These are separate programs and the DREAM Act never passed.

fact checks, fake news. Holding politicians and public figures accountable for their words often requires reporting or research to verify facts that affirm or disprove a statement, or that show a gray area. Fact-checking also is essential in debunking fabricated stories or parts of stories done as hoaxes, propaganda, jokes or for other reasons, often spread widely on the internet and mistaken as truth by some news consumers.

Fake news may be used in quotation marks or as shorthand for the modern phenomenon for deliberate falsehoods or fiction masked as news circulating on the internet.

baby bump. Avoid.

esports. As with frequent flyer, the AP consulted people in the esports industry before deciding the recommend spelling should be esports without a hyphen.

Twitter to Sell Ads on Periscope 

Twitter is poised to start generating revenue from Periscope, its livestreaming video service.

The company announced recently it will begin selling pre-roll video ads to run ahead of some Periscope content, which means users will have to sit through a short commercial before they can watch the live video.

Ads will also run before Periscope videos that are no longer live but still on Twitter. Twitter has experimented with this kind of ad before, but now they’re available to run before videos from a bunch of publishers and high-profile creators.

The ads are powered by Amplify, Twitter’s existing pre-roll video ad product, which the company uses to run short commercials ahead of popular video, like NFL or NBA highlights. In those cases, the content creators get roughly 70 percent of the ad revenue, and Twitter keeps 30 percent.

Amplify video ads have been a big part of Twitter’s media and advertising push since layoffs and a restructuring of its sales team last fall. Video ads in general tend to be more lucrative than static ads, and other services like Facebook and Snapchat are also competing for video ad dollars.

Twitter is in need of an advertising boost. It missed Wall Street’s revenue estimates last quarter, and more video ads could help. It’s unclear, though, how much Periscope content there will be to actually monetize. Periscope says that its users created 200 million broadcasts in its first year, but these ads will only run in front of videos from its existing Amplify partners. So not all Periscope video will be eligible for advertisements.

Tarred Mic | North Carolina tops Gonzaga for National Championship!

North Carolina lost last year’s national title game to Villanova on a last second buzzer-beater. But the Tar Heels were the ones dancing in the confetti this year.

Basketball royalty reigned supreme, as North Carolina added to its illustrious history with a 71-65 victory over the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the 2017 national championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The Tar Heels’ victory marked their sixth national title — which ranks third all time behind UCLA and Kentucky – and first since the 2008-09 campaign. It was also the program’s third championship under coach Roy Williams. The Bulldogs (37-2) made their first Final Four but couldn’t eclipse North Carolina (33-7) on the marquee stage. For that, the Golden Mic is gleaming in a sheen of Tar Heel blue!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About For the MBJ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *