A memo went out today from Tom Kent, deputy managing editor for standards and production at the Associated Press, to AP staff around the world. “Colleagues,” it declared, “After more than 80 years, we’re planning to retire the storied term ‘Associated Press Writer.’” Instead, as of October 26, AP bylines will read simply “Associated Press.”
These days, the byline on an AP story may rightfully belong to a text reporter, a photographer, a videographer or a radio reporter. For instance, photographer Aijaz Rahi bylined our coverage of a recent plane crash in India. Videographer Rich Matthews had his byline on Gulf oil spill stories. Some of our staffers have extensive multimedia skills and work with several platforms every day. Saying simply “Associated Press” focuses on the important thing: that the material is from an Associated Press journalist.
The memo explains that the new byline will be more versatile and “platform-neutral.” Many newspapers and websites have already made this change, but now AP’s formal policy solidifies it.
(“Writers.” Ha! So 1920s!)Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner