AP Stylebook, Daily Cal style changes since 2016 election

Hannah Cooper/Senior Staff

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The past year has been fraught with changes and a mind-boggling news cycle. As a result of this eventful year, there have been numerous style changes to correspond both to the changing world and to the need for language to remain clear and relevant. Style guides can be seen as part of the larger discourse surrounding issues we face in our day-to-day lives, but they also reflect how far institutionalized language rules still have to go to keep up with the times.

Fact checks and “fake news”

The AP Stylebook now has a section devoted both to defining and explaining the methodology behind conducting a satisfactory fact-check. “Fake news” is defined as the “modern phenomenon of deliberate falsehoods or fiction masked as news circulating on the internet” — only to be used in quotations.


The immigration section has also seen an update, with definitions of “migrant,” “refugee” and “migrant,” as well as details on the DACA program. AP Style suggests not to use the terms “alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented” except when quoting people or government documents using these terms.


The 2017 version of AP Style includes an extensive section on how to define a cyberattack, with specifications on the differences between “cyberattack,” “denial of service” and other forms of online vandalism. AP Style warns against being too lenient with this term, calling it “routinely overused.”


This update includes subentries and guides for how to use terminology including “cisgender,” “intersex” and “gender nonconforming.”The update to writing about gender also includes a guide on how to use the singular “they/them/their” pronoun.


AP Style has also released an update on terminology involving addiction. This includes avoiding words such as “abuse” or “problem” and instead utilizing the work “use” with an appropriate modifier, such as “risky,” “unhealthy,” “excessive” or “heavy.” AP Style also suggests avoiding words such as “alcoholic,” “addict,” “user” and “abuser,” because these words often carry a stigmatized connotation. It is also noted to avoid using “the terms addiction and dependence interchangeably. Addiction usually refers to a disease or disorder; dependence may not involve one.”

Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day

AP Style now includes a direct link from the Columbus Day entry to its new entry on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.


AP Style advises the use of “autonomous vehicles” or “self-driving” rather than “driverless.” “VR” is an acceptable second reference for “virtual reality. “Livestream” and “livestreaming” are each one word and “esports” is now an unhyphenated word

Daily Cal style changes

“Alt-right” is always in quotes. In cases where “alt-right” must be used, reporters should provide specific details about why the term is used, such as quotes from protest attendees or signs. If these details cannot be explicitly provided, a simple modifier should be included, such as “a white nationalist movement.”

Camryn Bell is an assistant night editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @camlabell.