News from AP: Now searchable style archives, quirky fun for fans

By Lauren Edwards

Nerds will love being able to search the AP Stylebook archives. This is a just-introduced new offering that lets you go back as far as 1900.

The Poynter Institute (I call it the Yoda of journalism) shared the news in advance of this Friday’s announcements of upcoming style changes.

If you don’t already know, AP style tells journalists, bloggers, the PR industry and increasingly many other groups when to abbreviate, capitalize, use a hyphen, etc. — those itty bitty writing details that keep organizations’ proofreading and whatnot cleanly consistent.

This level of attention to detail boosts credibility and makes it easy for all contributors, even from far-flung places, to write and edit as a team, especially on deadline. It’s the industry standard for journalism and PR.

To see the AP archives, create a free account at You’ll be able to search PDFs of stylebooks and guides.

Below are excerpts from the 3/28/19 Poynter post. And here’s the direct link to the entire post.

Poynter says:

“This time of year brings joy and pain to grammar lovers as The Associated Press announces changes to the AP Stylebook at the annual conference for ACES: The Society for Editing.

“That’s coming Friday.

“But first, some solace.

“As of Thursday, people who create a free account at can search PDFs of stylebooks and guides going back to 1900. The archives include the 1933 guide for filing editors, the 1939 “Wirephoto: Miracle of Modern Newsgathering,” and the first edition of the modern stylebook from 1953.

‘“We shared a few select snippets from the historical guides at last year’s ACES conference and the reaction was so enthusiastic that we wanted to make them available to as many language lovers as possible,” said Colleen Newvine, AP Stylebook product manager, in an email. “It’s great for us to be able to visit the AP Corporate Archives and see these well-preserved documents, but now anyone else who wants to see how the news business or AP style has evolved can do that, too.”

“Here are some of the guidelines of grammar standards gone by:

“From the 1909 edition:

‘“The use of the word ‘phone’ for telephoned and ‘phoned’ for telephoned and similar abbreviations are prohibited in the Associated Press.”

“From the 1911 Instructions for Correspondents (Image courtesy Associated Press)

That’s it from Poynter. For more from me on AP style, check out these past posts of mine:


If you liked this post, please share it with your team or on social media.

If you aren’t already getting my posts delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning, please sign up here.

Check out my full menu of posts here, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. Almost all are practical tips you can immediately apply to your daily PR work.


Lauren Edwards is a former reporter for the Associated Press. She has been creating, customizing and delivering workshops for science and technology teams since 2000.

WriteCulture is now booking workshops for 2019. Click here to start an exploratory conversation.