If you have an online subscription to the AP Stylebook, you probably just got this e-mail. I haven’t found it posted anywhere else online yet, so I thought I’d do it here:
New entries have been added to the AP Stylebook Online. As an online subscriber, you can receive these updates whenever the Associated Press makes them. Every time you log into AP Stylebook Online, you can easily find recent updates by clicking on “New Entries” or “Recent Changes” in the left navigation bar.
Editor’s Note: New entries on al-Shabab, foodborne, ground zero, NPR, Sudan, video recording and videotape have been added to the AP Stylebook Online.
al-Shabab: The preferred spelling for the Somali militant group
NPR: Acceptable in all references to National Public Radio. Producer and distributor of noncommercial news, talk and entertainment programming. Headquarters is in Washington, D.C.
Sudan: Use Sudan or Southern Sudan when referring to the governments. But it’s south Sudan and north Sudan when referring to locations.
video recording: Precise term for digital audio and visual recording. Digital has largely replaced videotaping.
videotape (n. and v.): Largely replaced by digital recording. The terms apply only if tape is used.
“Ground zero” is the most interesting entry. [EDIT: It's not a new change. See tweet below.] The addition must be in response to the erroneously named “Ground Zero Mosque” (see Poynter’s column on why that’s bad for journalism and good for SEO). But it’s still unclear whether the lowercase “ground zero” makes the term generic, not referring to the World Trade Center site specifically.
I have a tweet into AP Stylebook and will update this blog post if there is a response. Or maybe I should use old-fashioned e-mail. Or older-fashioned phone calls.
EDIT, 8/27/10, 4:30 p.m.:
Two responses from @apstylebook:
@suzanneyada The term ground zero was inadvertently listed as a new entry. It isn’t new and our style hasn’t changed.
@suzanneyada It’s lowercase based on our primary reference, Webster’s New World College Dictionary.
I’m still not quite satisfied. To me it just makes sense to capitalize Ground Zero in reference to the World Trade Center site, and the rest can be done dictionary-style.
But I can see Bob Collin’s argument that Hiroshima and Nagasaki are far more deserving of the capitalization. Still, in modern context, when people talk about Ground Zero, it’s generally assumed that it’s in reference to Sept. 11.
So what do you think? Is there another term out there that is comparable?