Follow the Rules 

Rosie Right

It's an event for many media writers when the AP updates its stylebook. We in Style's editorial room, have just received our copies of the 2001 edition and will have to adjust our spelling and punctuation accordingly.

Here are a few of the changes that we have found so far:

In the entry for Chinese names the editor has added a sentence that tells us:

"Use the new [Pinyin, official Chinese spelling system] spelling for Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlat, but keep the traditional American spelling for such historical figures as Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek."

AP has taken note of the move of the Boeing Co. from Seattle to Chicago.

AP enters the political arena by its changes in the Irish Republican Army entry.

Old entry: "An outlawed paramilitary group committed to overthrowing Northern Ireland and its links with Britain. Its formal name is Provisional IRA, but its members claim direct descent from the old IRA that won independence from the rest of Ireland in a 1919-21 rebellion…"

The new entry says: "An outlawed paramilitary group committed to overthrowing Northern Ireland and its links with Britain. Its formal name is Provisional IRA It was founded in 1969 with the aim of abolishing Northern Ireland as a predominatly British Protestant state. Its members claim direct lineage to the old IRA, which wrested the predominantly Catholic rest of Ireland from British control following a 1919-21 rebellion."

Western — In the old book AP dictated, "Capitalize for the film or book genre." In 2001, AP now tells us, "Capitalize for the film or book genre, but lowercase the style of music better known as country. "

Some new entries:

Aborigine —"… referring to Australian indigenous people"

Jaws of Life — "Trademark name for the tool used to pry open parts of a vehicle to free those trapped inside."

Kwanzaa — the festival that is "based on African festivals from Dec. 26 through Jan.1 ... ." (At last a ruling — the media has been writing this word for years, sometimes with one a and sometimes with two.)

Judging from these entries, it doesn't seem that AP is on the cutting edge, and Rosie does not know how often we will be using Sun Yat-sen, but when a question arises it is always comforting to find the answer in the Stylebook.

Let Rosie hear from you by telephone (358-0825, ext. 322), letter (1707 Summit Ave., Suite 201, Richmond, Va. 23230), or e-mail repps@styleweekly.com.


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