AP: Spell out state names in stories

If you write your press releases in AP style, get ready to start spelling out “Massachusetts” a lot more often.

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The names of the 50 U.S. states should be spelled out when used in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, village or military base. No state name is necessary if it is the same as the dateline. This also applies to newspapers cited in a story. For example, a story datelined Providence, R.I., would reference the Providence Journal, not the Providence (R.I.) Journal. See datelines.

State names will still be abbreviated in datelines and alongside party affiliations next to the names of office holders.

Most of the Twitter response to the change was some ribbing about how journalists have made such an effort to remember the AP’s abbreviations, which differ from postal abbreviations, and now they largely won’t be using them.

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