# How to adjust BibLaTeX APA style to correctly format newspaper or website references per APA style

I am using the BibLaTeX APA style to cite and generate a bibliography for a university assignment. However, I am finding problems in the way newspapers and websites are appearing in the bibliography when compared to APA website references and APA newspaper references.

Example code is:

\documentclass[12pt,a4paper]{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} % Required for inputting international characters
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc} % Output font encoding for international characters
\usepackage[american]{babel}
\usepackage[autostyle=true]{csquotes} % Required to generate language-dependent quotes in the bibliography
\usepackage[style=apa, backend=biber]{biblatex}
%\usepackage[backend=biber,style=authoryear,citestyle=apa]{biblatex}
\addbibresource{bib_test_lib.bib} % The filename of the bibliography
\begin{document}

Add citations for bibliography to appear \parencite{thomasWhyDidAirbus2019, wallHowAirbusA3802019}.

Also over-rode addinfo2 macro to stop [newspaper], [magazine] etc. being appended to the title field - \textbackslash renewbibmacro*{addinfo2}\{\}.
\printbibliography[title=References]

Should be (with incorrect indentations):
\section*{References should be}
\noindent Thomas, D. (2019, February 14). Why did the Airbus A380 fail? \emph{BBC News.} https:/\slash www.bbc.com\slash news\slash business-47225789

\noindent Wall, R., \& Michaels, D. (2019, February 19). How Airbus’s A380 Went From Wonder to Blunder; World’s largest passenger plane was hurt by misjudged market trends, internal dysfunction and production problems. \emph{Wall Street Journal (Online)}.

\end{document}


The bibliography file content (generated from Zotero) is:


@article{thomasWhyDidAirbus2019,
title = {Why Did the {{Airbus A380}} Fail?},
author = {Thomas, Daniel},
date = {2019-02-14},
journaltitle = {BBC News},
urldate = {2020-08-20},
abstract = {It was billed as the future of air travel, but airlines increasingly saw the jet as too big and inefficient.},
entrysubtype = {newspaper},
langid = {british}
}

@online{wallHowAirbusA3802019,
title = {How {{Airbus}}'s {{A380 Went From Wonder}} to {{Blunder}}; {{World}}'s Largest Passenger Plane Was Hurt by Misjudged Market Trends, Internal Dysfunction and Production Problems},
author = {Wall, Robert and Michaels, Daniel},
date = {2019-02-19},
journaltitle = {Wall Street Journal (Online)},
file = {D\:\\Users\\Michael\\Zotero\\storage\\BEVIACL9\\18.html}
}


The generated bibliography entries appear as (with incorrect indentations):

Thomas, D. (2019). Why did the Airbus A380 fail? BBC News: Business. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47225789

Wall, R., & Michaels, D. (2019, February 19). How Airbus's A380 Went From Wonder to Blunder; World's largest passenger plane was hurt by misjudged market trends, internal dysfunction and production problems.

Where the bibliography should appear as:

Thomas, D. (2019, February 14). Why did the Airbus A380 fail? BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47225789

Wall, R., & Michaels, D. (2019, February 19). How Airbus's A380 Went From Wonder to Blunder; World's largest passenger plane was hurt by misjudged market trends, internal dysfunction and production problems. Wall Street Journal (Online).

The 'Thomas' reference, which is tagged as a newspaper, should have a long date field after the author. The 'Wall' reference is missing the website title.

I would be satisfied if I could change the newspaper entry to use the long date format (that way I could reclassify the above webpage as a newspaper), but I am getting lost looking through the apa.bbx file to find out what is going on here.

I'm using Windows 10, MiKTeX Console 4.01, TeXstudio 2.12.22, and updated all packages on 21 AUG 20 prior to asking the question.

PS Is this worth an issue report on CTAN, as the APA style package isn't matching the APA style examples on their website?

• issues should not be reported to ctan. If you think there is an issue report it to the author of the style: github.com/plk/biblatex-apa/issues. But imho your entries looks odd, the online has no url, but the article has, so you should perhaps sanitize them first. – Ulrike Fischer Aug 21 '20 at 7:59
• The online entry is a bit weird because the URL I have is for a database entry, rather than to the source website. I kept it as is so that the absence of the website title, which should be there per APA style, could be demonstrated. – Michael Aug 22 '20 at 6:59

As Ulrike Fischer says in the comments, bugs in packages should be reported to the author/developer/maintainer and not to CTAN. Usually the CTAN page or the documentation tells you where to report bugs. For biblatex-apa the best way to report bugs is via https://github.com/plk/biblatex-apa/issues.

In case of biblatex-apa deviations from APA requirements should be seen as bugs and reported as such.

Like Ulrike I don't quite understand why wallHowAirbusA3802019 is an @online entry. First of all, it appeared in an online news medium not unlike BBC News (for which you used @article, which fits much better) and secondly, the entry in question doesn't even have a url field. (I'd say that in general an @online entry should at least have a url, doi or eprint field.)

The structural similarities between your two entries suggest they should use the same general setup: I'd make both @articles.

As discussed in Show date in bibliography when quoting from an online newspaper (APA) and https://github.com/plk/biblatex-apa/issues/116 at the moment the best way to give a non-academic newspaper/journal reference is by adding the nonacademic keyword. This will change in future versions of biblatex-apa: You can then use the more natural entrysubtype = {nonacademic}, instead of keywords = {nonacademic},.

For the URL access date the APA manual says https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/elements-list-entry#retrieval

Retrieval Dates

Include a retrieval date only if the work is unarchived and designed to change over time. Most references do not include retrieval dates. Examples of some that do are in Chapter 10 of the Publication Manual and on the reference examples page.

this doesn't appear to be a criterion that can be automated, so currently the stance of biblatex-apa is to print the urldate if it is present and ask the author of the .bib file to remove urldate if it is not appropriate according to APA rules.

If you'd like a more portable .bib file where urldate is always given, you can define a new opt-in option apashowurldate that needs to be present to show the access date, otherwise it is ignored. (The additional example below is based on https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/examples/webpage-website-references)

\listfiles
\documentclass[12pt,a4paper]{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[american]{babel}
\usepackage[autostyle=true]{csquotes}
\usepackage[style=apa, backend=biber]{biblatex}

\newtoggle{apa:showurldate}
\DeclareEntryOption[boolean]{apashowurldate}[true]{%
\settoggle{apa:showurldate}{#1}}

\renewbibmacro*{url+urldate}{%
\ifthenelse{\iffieldundef{url}\OR\NOT\iffieldundef{doi}}
{}
{\ifboolexpr{not togl {apa:showurldate} or test {\iffieldundef{urlyear}}}
{}
{\bibstring{retrieved}%
\printurldate
\setunit{\urldatecomma}%
\bibstring{from}%
\iffieldundef{url}{}{\printfield{url}\renewcommand*{\finentrypunct}{\relax}}}}

\begin{filecontents}{\jobname.bib}
@article{thomasWhyDidAirbus2019,
title           = {Why Did the {Airbus A380} Fail?},
author          = {Thomas, Daniel},
date            = {2019-02-14},
journaltitle    = {BBC News},
urldate         = {2020-08-20},
abstract        = {It was billed as the future of air travel,
but airlines increasingly saw the jet as too big and inefficient.},
langid          = {british},
}
@article{wallHowAirbusA3802019,
title        = {How {Airbus's A380} Went From Wonder to Blunder;
World's Largest Passenger Plane Was Hurt by Misjudged Market Trends,
Internal Dysfunction and Production Problems},
author       = {Wall, Robert and Michaels, Daniel},
date         = {2019-02-19},
journaltitle = {Wall Street Journal (Online)},
}
@online{popclock,
author    = {{U.S. Census Bureau}},
title     = {{U.S.} and world population clock},
url       = {https://www.census.gov/popclock/},
urldate   = {2020-01-09},
options   = {apashowurldate},
}
\end{filecontents}

\begin{document}
Add citations for bibliography to appear
\autocite{thomasWhyDidAirbus2019, wallHowAirbusA3802019,popclock}.

\printbibliography

Should be (with incorrect indentations):
\section*{References should be}
\noindent Thomas, D. (2019, February 14).
Why did the Airbus A380 fail? \emph{BBC News.}