Tuesday, March 14, 2006

AP style updates

I have been behind, and while I was dallying elsewhere, AP dropped two style updates into my e-mail, on its entry for gay and Myanmar.

First the easy one. Add Myanmar to your stylebook and stop using Burma (if you ever did). Never mind that the CIA World Factbook still calls it Burma.

The gay entry has been revamped. The old one:
Acceptable as a popular synonym for both male and female homosexuals (n. and adj.), although it is generally associated with males, while lesbian is the more common term for female homosexuals. Avoid references to gay, homosexual or alternative "lifestyle."

Now becomes:
Used to describe men and women attracted to the same sex, though lesbian is the more common term for women. Preferred over homosexual except in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity. Include sexual orientation only when it is pertinent to a story, and avoid references to "sexual preference" or to a gay or alternative "lifestyle."

The lesbian/lesbianism entry (lowercase in references to homosexual women, except in names of organizations) has been deleted. The sex changes entry now points to transgender (it was the other way around), but the wording has not changed -- basically, use the pronoun preferred by the person.

The gay community is pleased. Story from Washingtonblade.

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At 3/15/06, 4:03 PM, Blogger fev said...

The AP's Burma/Myanmar entry is especially interesting in light of the Cambodia entry (still there for 2005):

"Cambodia. Use this rather than 'Kampuchea' in datelines since the country continues to be known more widely by this name."

The People's Republic of Kampuchea changed its name back to Cambodia in 1989, according to a Bangkok-dated story from ... the Associated Press.

At 3/23/06, 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Burma" has its place. I wrote a story on tinnitus recently, and mentioned Roger Miller.

At 9/22/06, 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would argue Burma is more appropriate than Myanmar as the use of Myanmar denotes an acceptance of the military regimes right to adopt the name. The elected government chooses to use Burma rather than Myanmar.


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