How to Format a Press Release Dateline With AP Style

AP style[1], from the Associated Press, is one form of style used for journalism, including press releases. Mastering this style can help you get more media pickups because your work will look more professional.

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The dateline is the section of a news story or press release that indicates where and when the news being reported has taken took place.

A proper dateline[2] is important because it is the first thing that a reader, and any journalist considering picking up your story, will see. They want real news, not something weeks out of date.

AP style rules

There are several important rules to follow. According to the AP Stylebook, a proper dateline should contain “a city name, entirely in capital letters, followed in most cases by the name of the state, county, or territory where the city is located.”

Some large metropolitan areas do not require the state. These include:
  • ATLANTA
  • BOSTON
  • CHICAGO
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • SAN DIEGO
  • WASHINGTON
If they do require a state, it is important to use the correct AP style state abbreviation:
  • KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Missouri)
  • PORTLAND, Ore. (Oregon)
  • PORTLAND, Maine

The AP abbreviations are not the same as postal ones and are not always consistent. Here is a quick list you can refer to http://apstylebook.blogspot.com/2009/06/state-names.html[3]

Important ones to remember include:
  • Calif. (usually CA)
  • Colo. (CO)
  • Conn. (CT)
  • Fla. (FL)

There are also eight state names that are never abbreviated, even if they are accompanied by a city name.

They are:
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Utah
Dates

The dates should always use Arabic numerals, without the st, nd, rd or th. (Ex: 2, 3, 25, not 2nd, 3rd, 25th).

The names of months should always be capitalized and spelled out when being used alone, or with the year alone. January, January 2018

When a month is used with a specific date, only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. should be abbreviated. Jan. 31

When a phrase lists only a month and year, they do not need to be separated by commas. However, when you list a month, date, and year, the year should be separated by a comma. Jan. 31, 2018

  • Jan. 31, 2018 (BOSTON)
  • Jan. 7, 2018 – BOSTON
  • Jan. 7, BOSTON

Because content tends to stay visible on the Internet long after it is published, it is best to include the year so there is no possible confusion about when the press release or news story was published.

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References

  1. ^ AP style (www.newswire.com)
  2. ^ dateline (www.newswire.com)
  3. ^ http://apstylebook.blogspot.com/2009/06/state-names.html (apstylebook.blogspot.com)

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