When Ohio State switched to AP as its primary editorial style last year one of the main factors driving the change was the fact that it is perhaps the most current style. AP updates and changes pretty regularly based on trends, new words entering the lexicon and, in some cases, common sense prevailing.
Two weeks ago, AP made a shift that falls in the latter category, moving away from its rule of abbreviating state names in the body of stories (which seemed, well, odd). Here is AP’s explanation:
“Effective May 1, the AP will spell out state names in the body of stories. Datelines will continue to use abbreviations. Currently, most state names are abbreviated in stories. The change is being made to be consistent in our style for domestic and international stories. International stories have long spelled out state names in the body of stories. State abbreviations will continue to be used in lists, agate, tabular material, nonpublishable editor’s notes and credit lines. They will also be used in short-form identification of political party affiliation. Photo captions will continue to use abbreviations, too. This change will improve consistency and efficiency for domestic and international stories, eliminating the need to spell out all state names in international copy, and to abbreviate them in domestic copy.”
This change is welcome as far as I’m concerned. It always seemed counterintuitive to abbreviate states in running text, so it warmed the heart of this word nerd to see the shift.