03 November 2005

Famous Non-Hawaiian Prompts AP Style Change

Heavy news coverage of Hawai‘i's most famous current sports personality has finally prompted the AP to conform its stylebook to reflect the meaning of the term "Hawaiian" as it is used in Hawai‘i rather than the meaning assigned to it in Webster's. Nelson Daranciang of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports:
Outside the state, few people know that all Hawaii residents are not Hawaiians. [My personal stylebook recommends rephrasing that as "not all X residents are Xians"--J.] For years, "The Associated Press Stylebook" and libel manual, a guide commonly used by newspapers around the country, said there was no difference.

That has changed.

The AP has informed its member organizations of an update to the stylebook on the use of the term "Hawaiian." From now on, Hawaiians will be used only to describe members of the ethnic group indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. "Hawaii resident" or "islander" describes anyone who lives in the state.

Previously, "Hawaiians" could be used to describe residents of Hawaii....

AP Honolulu Bureau Chief Dave Briscoe said, "We've actually been trying to get a change for years."

He said the use of "Hawaiian" becomes an issue whenever a prominent person from Hawaii makes national or international news. He said the bureau has had to change Hawaiian to Hawaii resident in stories originating on the mainland describing teenage golfer Michelle Wie.

Wie is an American of Korean ancestry. She is also a Hawaii resident.

Briscoe said he had difficulty persuading AP to make the change, because the organization bases much of its stylebook on dictionary definitions. According to Webster's New World Dictionary, Hawaiian is a native or inhabitant of Hawaii.
I remember having a go-round on this point in the comment thread of a Language Hat post a while back.

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