Associated Press launches Spanish-language stylebook

By Alejandro Martínez

The Associated Press launched today its first Spanish-language stylebook, an effort that seeks to create a uniform journalistic style in Latin America and the United States.

The stylebook will be available only online and will go on sale on Nov. 19, the news agency said.

Alejandro Manrique, the AP’s deputy regional editor for Latin America and the Caribbean, told the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas that the stylebook is directed to journalists in the American continent but could also be used as a reference guide for academics, Spanish-language students and the general public. Its use will be obligatory for AP staff.

“What we’re proposing is a universal usage of Spanish for journalistic editing and writing. That is to say, we’re using terms that are neutral for all Spanish-speaking countries. That means we’re avoiding regionalisms,” he said.

According to an AP press release, the stylebook will also include a section on social media standards in the newsroom and some chapters on sports, fashion, arts and entertainment terminology.

Manrique added that the online stylebook will also include correct translations of certain terms in English, audio recordings with the pronunciation of difficult words, some acceptable Americanisms – like “emoticon,” “tuitear,” “parquear,” “chicano” and “elegible” – and other new words that the Spanish Royal Academy, the official institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language, will add on its March 2013 edition.

A team of AP editors in Spanish-speaking countries put the manual together. Manrique said the stylebook will include around 4,000 words and will adopt more terms in future editions. A group of media outlets who contract the AP’s services are already testing the product.

Despite advances in the professionalization of journalism in the American continent, a universal, Spanish-language journalistic style has never been adopted. Manrique said the stylebook seeks to create a universal language that can be understood by Spanish speakers around the world.

“We’re not trying to homogenize the culture. We’re trying to have preferred words in journalistic writing and editing that a global audience can understand,” he said.

Other efforts to create reference guides on journalistic style in Spanish include the Urgent Spanish Foundation and the online stylebook published by journalism website Clases de Periodismo.

The stylebook will cost $26 a year for a single user and $210 a year for a 10-user license. For more information visit the AP stylebook’s website or its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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