The AP Stylebook is a work in progress. Its print version is updated once a year, and its online version is updated continuously as style and language conventions change. However, the key thing to remember is that the AP Stylebook (and others like it) governs the rules of professional media writing. This benefits both you and the diverse audience members who will read your writing and make important decisions on the accuracy and strength of the information you convey in it.
Next, we review some of the highlights of AP style. If you cannot find a listing in the AP Stylebook for a particular word or phrase, consult Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Use abbreviations and acronyms sparingly. If an abbreviation or acronym helps conserve space and simplify information, it may be warranted, but unless the reader would quickly recognize it, do not use it. For example, most people know that the abbreviation “CIA” stands for the Central Intelligence Agency. However, many readers will not know that “UFCWIU” stands for the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union.
The AP Stylebook contains guidance on how to use a particular abbreviation or acronym within individual alphabetized entries. For example, to find out whether it is acceptable to use the acronym “SWAT” for “Special Weapons and Tactics,” consult “SWAT.”