AP-Style Guide Writing Tips The Associated Press (AP) is the backbone of the world's information system serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television and online customers with coverage in all media and news in all formats. Reporters write their news in AP style format. Having your news release written in this format puts you one step closer to having your news published. All news releases should be written in AP style. In your release, make sure you follow these guidelines: 1. Numbers. Spell out numbers 1-9, numerals are used for 10 and above. Ages, addresses and phone numbers are always numerals. For money figures, always use the dollar sign. Ex. $33.7 million, and do not spell out ‘dollars.’ Additionally: “Collective nouns,” appear as plurals, ‘team,’ ‘family,’ ‘company’ among them, but should be treated as a singular noun. Incorrect: ‘The band is releasing their new CD.” Correct: “The band is releasing its new CD.” 2. Punctuation in quotes. Punctuation marks usually go inside of quotation marks. Incorrect: “PRBrandBuilder is the best”. Correct: “PRBrandBuilder is the best.” 3. Commas. Do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series Incorrect: Please pass the chips, salsa, and queso. Correct: Please pass the chips, salsa and queso. Additionally: Put a comma before the conjunction if an element of the series requires a conjunction. Incorrect: I had orange juice, toast and ham and eggs for breakfast. Correct: I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast. 4. Its vs. It’s. ‘Its’ is the possessive form. ‘It’s’ is a contraction meaning it is. 5. Specific address abbreviations. Street (St.), Avenue (Ave.), Road (Rd.) Correct: PRBrandBuilder is located at 13 Glenwood Ave. Also Correct: PRBrandBuilder is located on Glenwood Avenue. 6. States. In text, states are only abbreviated if a city is before them. These eight states are never abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. Use the abbreviations below for states. Only use postal code abbreviations (in parentheses below) with full addresses, including ZIP codes. Ala. (AL) Conn. (CT) Ind. (IN) Mass. (MA) Mont. (MT) N.M. (NM) Ore. (OR) Tenn. (TN) Wis. (WI) Ariz. (AZ) Del. (DE) Kan. (KS) Mich. (MI) Neb. (NE) N.Y. (NY) Pa. (PA) Vt. (VT) Wyo. (WY) Ark. (AR) Fla. (FL) Ky. (KY) Minn. (MN) Nev. (NV) N.C. (NC) R.I. (RI) Va. (VA) Calif. (CA) Ga. (GA) La. (LA) Miss. (MS) N.H. (NH) N. D. (ND) S.C. (SC) Wash. (WA) Colo. (CO) Ill. (IL) Md. (MD) Mo. (MO) N.J. (NJ) Okla. (OK) S.D. (SD) W. Va. (WV) PRBrandBuilder! AP-Style Guide Writing Tips 7. Job titles. Lowercase and spell out titles in constructions that set them off from a name by commas Correct: David Smith, president and chief executive officer of Company XYZ. Incorrect: David Smith, President and CEO of Company XYZ. 8. Times. Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes (11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m.). Avoid redundancies as 10 a.m. this morning. The construction 4 o’clock is acceptable, but time listings with a.m. or p.m. are preferred. 9. Months. When a month is used with a specific date in text, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone or with a year alone. Examples: January 1972 was a cold month. Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month. 10. E-mail. Short for electronic mail. Requires a hyphen. Also e-book, e-commerce and e-business. PRBrandBuilder!
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