My first editorial writing class in college was a tough one. The class was Monday afternoons from noon to 5. By 9 a.m. Monday morning, we had to submit three story ideas that we wanted to write about during the class. The idea could not have been covered in the local newspaper or the campus newspaper. The Yellow Pages (yes, it was that long ago that we still had phone books) became a valuable resource for me – there were thousands of businesses that could serve as a source for a story. I wrote about everything from exterminators to restaurants, telephones to washing machines, among other things.
Another valuable resource for me then that is still valuable today is the AP Stylebook. My hardcopy edition was published in 1980. There are many standards listed in that edition that remain today. But word from AP is that the newest edition being released on May 31 has nearly 200 new and modified entries.
Updates include references to gender, autonomous vehicles, fake news and livestreaming.
Some changes will be easier to accept than others. For the first time, AP now permits journalists to use "they" as a singular pronoun. This one will be a little harder for me and I’d guess for many of us whose journalism studies were in the previous century.