PORTLAND, Oregon – Updates to the 2016 Associated Press Stylebook announced today at the American Copy Editors Society’s national conference were a mix of simple grammatical changes and more complex subjective changes.
The newest edition of the AP Stylebook will include web and internet as lowercase nouns.
“This change reflects the natural evolution of our language and simply recognizes what the majority of people already accept and use,” said ACES President Teresa Schmedding.
The additional changes focus on cultural sensitivity when using terms such as “mistress” and “child prostitute.” With respect to the former, a “mistress” is often viewed as a woman who is having an extramarital sexual relationship with one man who is providing financial support. Writers and editors must be cognizant of the implications of such a word.
Likewise, when using the phrase “child prostitute,” AP suggests that a child does not have the emotional development to willingly engage in such action. There is a strong possibility that something else is happening such as abuse, exploitation or molestation.
“The issue here is whether we are negating the horrors of what is actually happening,” Schmedding said. “We need to be careful of the image we are creating.”
In both instances, AP Stylebook suggests the best practice is to find alternate phrasing that more accurately conveys the situation at hand with careful thought and consideration given to those portrayed in such a manner.