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The Associated Press Stylebook added an entry for “illegitimate child,” Poynter’s Mallary Jean Tenore reported Feb. 13.

However, the AP recommends journalists don’t use it for sensitivity reasons.  Instead, journalists should write descriptively saying things like “whose parents were not married,” when necessary or relevant. If they have to use the term, it should be in quotes.

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Poynter’s Tenore noted that the AP’s deputy standards editor explained “It doesn’t come up very often in our news copy, but it’s a term that’s stigmatizing, and unfairly so…We try to be sensitive to issues like this, so it seemed logical to take it into the Stylebook.”

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AP Stylebook: Don’t Use Phrase ‘Illegitimate Child’

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