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Publicity - Associated Press (AP) Guidelines

In general, MCLA uses AP Style when writing College materials. When drafting a press release or any other College communication, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind. When in doubt, please email; someone from the Office of Communications and Marketing can help.

  1. Names. After the first mention of a person’s name, refer to them only by their last name.
  2. Quotes. The proper format for a quote is as follows: “MCLA is awesome,” said (insert name here). Please note that the comma after the quote is placed inside the quotation mark, and use “said” instead of “says.”
  3. Titles. Only capitalize formal title when they precede an individual’s name. If it falls after, use lowercase. (Example: Mayor Tom Bernard signed the proclamation. Or: Tom Bernard, mayor of North Adams, signed the proclamation.)
  4. Numbers. One through nine should be written out. Use figures for numbers 10 and above. (Example: John bought four books, six pencils and 12 binders.) 
    1. For percentages, use numerals with “percent,” not “%”
  5. Months and seasons. When using a month with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec., and spell out when using alone or with just a year. (Hint: The months never abbreviated fall chronologically and are five letters or fewer – March, April, May, June and July. The seasons – winter, spring, summer and fall – never are capitalized.
  6. Dates. Do not use 1st, 2nd or 3rd, etc. when listing a date. (Example: Jan. 1)
  7. Times. Use “a.m.” or “p.m.” 
    1. Use 7 p.m., 7:15 or 7:30 p.m. 
    2. Do not use 7:00 p.m.
  8. States. For a complete listing of AP state abbreviations, go to 
    1. Common abbreviations you may use include:
      1. Massachusetts = Mass.
      2. Vermont = Vt.
      3. New York = N.Y.
      4. Connecticut = Conn.
  9. Street addresses. Street, Avenue and Boulevard are abbreviated only when used with a numbered address. Roads and other related causeways such as court, drive, lane and way are not abbreviated. (Examples: 375 Church St., 17 Bumpy Road)
    1. Another example: MCLA Gallery 51 is in one of the storefronts on Main Street.)
  10. The MCLA name. Please, do not use “the” Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. In addition, please use the full names for various MCLA locations (Examples: MCLA Church Street Center, MCLA Gallery 51). Capitalize "College" on second reference. (Example: MCLA values its students, so the College is always adding new programs to fit their interests and professional goals.)
  11. Referencing grade levels: Please do not use "freshmen" or "freshman." Opt for the gender-neutral "first-year student" instead to keep language inclusive.
  12. Class years. It's MCLA's editorial practice to write the class year after a person's name: John Doe '88, Jane Deer '19. For brevity's sake, try to avoid "a member of the class of..." or other phrasing around class years.
  13. Do not use the following in a press release:
    1. Italics 
    2. The “&” symbol