Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Style updates from AP
The latest style rulings from The Associated Press touch on the sensitive topics of race and ethnicity. Here they are:


A person of Asian birth or descent who lives in the U.S. When possible, refer to a person's country of origin. For example: Filipino-American or Indian-American. Follow the person's preference.


Sometimes used by Mexican-Americans in the Southwest. Not interchangeable with Mexican-American. Use only if a person's preference.


Often the preferred term for a person from — or whose ancestors were from — a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America. Latina is the feminine form. Follow the person's preference. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Brazilian or Mexican-American. See Hispanic, nationalities and races, and race entries.

I like how AP advises specificity. It's more precise and detailed to write and edit in that way. Those details are sometimes hard to get, however.
posted by Andy Bechtel at 11:04 AM | Permalink |


  • At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Vicki Krueger

    Andy, I saw those entries come across the wire and wondered why AP is updating right now. You think it's part of their usual tweaking and review process?

    Also, check out these stylebooks and reference guides from the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists. and

    I've got more at copy editing resources like this at if you and your students are interested.

    Oh, and Poynter/NewsU is offering a Webinar next with Keith Woods on covering race in the presidential race. Check it out at

    Vicki K.

  • At 10:44 AM, Blogger Andy Bechtel

    Thanks for the links, Vicki.

    The style updates from AP are typically more random than this batch, so perhaps there's a larger plan involved here.