Associated Press Revises Guidance on Homicide, Murder, Weapons Terms


The Associated Press, the leading U.S. wire service, has updated entries on homicide, murder, manslaughter and weapons in its widely used Stylebook, reports the Jim Romenesko blog. AP says the new homicide entry emphasizes that murder is the formal charge, and that journalists should be specific about how the victim was killed, not just saying that the charge was “murdering.” The AP says also that a homicide should not be described as murder unless a person has been convicted of that charge. Journalists are instructed to say that a victim was killed or slain until there has been a conviction.

AP says its new weapons section combines information on assault rifles and assault weapons into one entry. AP editors say: “While similar in design and appearance, these military-style guns have different firing capabilities, as underlined in several examples.” AP says that “magazines” and “clips” are not synonymous, and it explains the difference between pistol and revolver, and various kinds of rifles.

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