How to Do a Footnote Using the Associated Press Style

Associated Press style is one of the most commonly used writing style guides in the United States, used primarily by journalists. While the Associated Press Style guide gives guidance on how to cite sources used within articles, it does not indicate guidelines for using footnotes, since footnotes do not typically appear with newspaper and magazine articles. Other commonly-used writing styles, such as Chicago Style and the Modern Language Association Style, also issue guidelines for citing sources that can be used both in footnotes and in reference pages. As the Associated Press style is used mainly for news writing and information pieces, the rules for citing sources are very different than those demanded by other American writing styles.

Do not use footnotes to reference information. Associated Press style does not allow for bibliographies or works cited pages, or for citations via footnotes. An information report employing Associated Press style needs to communicate solid information to its readers and information must be clearly referenced within the article.

Use an in-text citation such as, "According to the Mayo Clinic's citation guidelines, writers must ask permission to reprint entire articles from the website." Attribute your information directly to its source in the body of your article.

Do not use footnotes to add anecdotes or extra information to your article. Associated Press style does not include footnotes in this case, either.

Use the same method of citation regardless of your source. Books and journal articles, for example, should both be cited in this method.


Since the Associated Press is mainly concerned with news articles and short reports, sources must be cited in the text in order to lend it newsworthy and credible. Other styles are designed for prose or academic writing and thus often rely heavily on books, journal, newspaper or magazine articles for their information.

Check with the person who has given you the assignment; if writing a news article or an informational article, Associated Press style may be required. In this case, use in-text citations. However, if you are writing an academic paper, Associated Press style is generally not used; teachers often ask for MLA style or Chicago Style. Do not confuse AP style -- Associated Press style -- with APA style, which is the American Psychological Association style. The two are very different and ask for very different methods of citing information referenced from another source.

Things You'll Need

  • AP Style Manual
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