HomeAsian AmericansAP Stylebook expands AsAm terms and revises entry on disabilities

AP Stylebook expands AsAm terms and revises entry on disabilities


From Stop AAPI Hate

By Shruti Rajkumar, AsAmNews Intern

AP Stylebook Editor Paula Froke announced Friday recent updates to the Associated Press Stylebook, the grammar and usage guide used by newsrooms around the United States. The update included an expansion of Asian American terms and revisions to the entry on disabilities. 

According to Poynter, definitions for the terms Asian, Pacific Islander, AAPI, Stop AAPI Hate, and anti-Asian sentiment have all been added to the Stylebook. Additionally, the Stylebook now also adds that “Pacific Islanders should not be described as Asian Americans, Asians or of Asian descent; and that Asian should not be used as shorthand for Asian American when possible.”

Michelle Ye Hee Lee, the president of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and a Washington Post reporter, said that the AAJA is pleased and grateful to see terms pertaining to the AAPI community included in the AP Stylebook, reports Poynter.

“It is crucial that media outlets use thoughtful and intentional language that accurately describes the AAPI community and the AAPI experience,” she said. “We hope that these efforts to improve media coverage of AAPI communities help bring more visibility to the experiences of our communities and our journalists.”

According to the AAJA website, in coverage guidance of the Atlanta shooting and anti-Asian hate incidents released in March, the organization urged newsrooms and communication professionals to “Be specific and descriptive when referring to anti-Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander harassment and violence. AAJA stated “rather than using euphemisms like ‘anti-Asian sentiment,’ assess whether it is more accurate to use terms like ‘anti-Asian bias,’ ‘anti-Asian incident,’ ‘anti-Asian rhetoric,’ ‘anti-Asian violence,’ or ‘assault against Asians.’”

Among the recent changes to the AP Stylebook are revisions and expansions to the entries for disabilities, which includes guidance to use care and precision when writing about disabilities and people with disabilities, reports Poynter.

“I’m so pleased that the Associated Press has expanded its guidance on language choices related to disability,” said Kristin Gilger, director of The National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University, according to Poynter. “It’s not just a matter of being respectful or inclusive, although those things are important, it’s also a matter of living up to our responsibility to report accurately on the nearly 20 percent of Americans who live with some kind of disability.”

The AP Stylebook has been updated continuously, such as in 2019 with its revision entry on racism and in 2020 with the endorsement of capitalizing the “B” in Black when referring to race, reports Poynter.

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