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About the Global Press Style Guide

The Global Press Style Guide is a living document that establishes rules for referring to the people and places around the world where Global Press Journal reporters work. Each entry was crafted with the assistance of Global Press Journal reporters and editors, who live and work in the communities they cover.

The Global Press Style Guide is not intended to replace the widely used Associated Press Stylebook, but it augments AP style in key ways by providing guidance for word choice regarding people, places and issues on which the AP’s book is silent. Other entries in this guide intentionally deviate from AP style. Thorough rationales are provided for all entries.

Each entry is crafted with the specific intention of promoting dignity and precision in the practice of international journalism.

Dignity: People must be treated with dignity, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances. This guide provides concrete suggestions to achieve this goal and to do so in a manner that strengthens the bedrock of quality journalism.

This style guide includes rules regarding labels that should not be used, with an emphasis on barring those words and terms that distill a person’s humanity to something that has happened to them (for example, the terms victim and survivor). It also bars words that require readers to make assumptions about what those words might mean (such as terrorist or rebel). Even though this guide bars the uses of specific words or terms, these words or terms may be used by sources in quotations.

It’s not possible to write a style rule for every scenario in which a person might legitimately be given a label. Indeed, it is sometimes most economical or clearest to simply refer to voters, migrants, benefit recipients or other groups by using labels. But in most cases, careful writing can be utilized to refer to people as people and not as a distillation of their circumstances.

Precision: To ensure equitable, unbiased global coverage, this guide demands that precise language be used to describe all people and places. As such, this guide bans some commonly used words and phrases, including “ethnic” and “Global South,” in favor of terms that provide accuracy in context. Clarity for readers and dignity for sources are prioritized when journalists use precise words and phrases. This clarity allows readers to understand complex global realities.

News outlets must also be diligent in their translation processes when reporting from around the world. Global Press uses a sociolinguistic approach, which prioritizes the translation of meaning over the translation of words alone. Human translation is required to ensure that the words are imbued with their original intent. Any use of translation, whether during the reporting or editing process, must be noted to readers in the spirit of transparency. Local-language versions of stories should always be made available in the country where reporting took place, to ensure that local sources have the opportunity to recognize themselves in stories. This also ensures that the news organization can be held to account for any inaccuracies.

Global Press assumes that all journalists are committed to using words correctly and that they are making efforts to be precise and accurate in every instance.

References

Global Press Journal follows these three authoritative language references, in order. Each source supersedes the next.

  1. Global Press Style Guide
  2. Associated Press Stylebook
  3. Merriam Webster Dictionary

When a question of spelling, style, word choice or practice is not answered by one of these authoritative sources, the chief copy editor will seek the consensus of the relevant editors and reporters before creating an entry. The Global Press Style Guide will expand with specific style entries as the Global Press coverage area expands. Each entry highlights principles that are the core of Global Press newsgathering practices and that inform editorial choices. New entries will be immediately updated on www.globalpressjournal.com/styleguide.