A Plugin For News Publishers To Format Dates/Times “Correctly”

The AP Stylebook has been setting the standards for news writing since 1953. I wonder if the creators of WordPress (the good folks at Automattic) ever imagined how many publishers would be using their platform.

Are you a publisher who follows the AP Style Guide? Do you wish the dates and times in comments, posts and pages followed the AP style guide much like most major news websites out there? You’re in luck. There’s a free WordPress plugin called AP Style Dates and Times plugin.

Familiar to many news-driven publishers, this plugin will do simple things like add the periods in a.m. and p.m; Remove the extra zeros when articles are published at the top of the hour, e.g. 2:00pm becomes 2 p.m. 12:00pm becomes noon, 12:00am becomes midnight. It also offers a few other AP style date and time changes particular to certain publishers.

You will need to have your developer change a few lines of code in your theme to utilize this plugin. Their developer notes state, “to use this plugin, you have to edit your template files, replacing WordPress’ default date and time tags with the new ones [provided]“.

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With that said, your style is up to you. Many publishers choose to post their times and dates differently:

  • Chicago Tribune: By [authors] Tribune reporters 10:06 p.m. CST, December 16, 2011
  • Wall Street Journal: DECEMBER 16, 2011, 6:18 PM ET
  • Washington Post: By [author], Published: December 16
  • New York Times: By [author] Published: December 17, 2011
  • USA Today: By [author], USA TODAY, Updated 18m ago
  • New York Post: Posted: 3:27 AM, December 16, 2011
  • Chicago Sun Times: BY [author] Staff Reporter December 16, 2011 11:35PM

So as you can see here, according to this plugin, the only publisher following the Associated Press Style Guide is the Chicago Tribune, however if it’s a guide you strictly adhere to in print, there’s officially a plugin now that will help you do the same online.


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