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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 is crafted with the assistance of Global Press Journal reporters and editors, who live and work in the communities they cover.

abortion

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use precise descriptions of quality of care, medical complications and/or legal context when describing abortions in general or in reference to a specific patient’s medical procedure. Do not use the adjective unsafe to describe abortion under any circumstance. Do not use back alley to describe abortion under any circumstance.

Do not use the terms pro-life or pro-choice in any instance to define abortion-related movements, policies or perspectives. They are political terms that are not globally applied and have additional political implications related to capital punishment and euthanasia. Do not use anti-abortion as a synonym for pro-life, and do not use abortion-rights as a synonym for pro-choice. Instead, use precise language to describe a person’s position on this complex issue, with an emphasis on dignity, and use words that do not convey judgment or political affiliation. Describe the source’s personal circumstances where appropriate, and always include the cultural and legal context of the location.

Rationale:

Precise descriptions promote reader clarity and source dignity.

accent marks

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Always use accent marks to accurately spell names of people and places, using any necessary or preferred characters that websites can reproduce.

Rationale:

An accent mark is a part of a complete, correctly spelled name.

al-/Al-

Rule:

Use Al-, capitalized, with the names of companies, public institutions and family names, such as Al-Jazeera or Al-Saud. Use al-, lowercase, with common nouns and with groups that have names that are capitalized but do not fall into the above categories, such as al-Shabaab or al-Qaeda.

Rationale:

Precise use of capitalization in these instances indicates a specific meaning in Arabic. A word’s meaning can change based on whether the article is capitalized.

albinism

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use albino to refer to people who have the medical condition of albinism. Instead, when relevant, state that the person has albinism.

Rationale:

Using a source’s medical condition or biological variation as a label violates the dignity of that source.

ancestry

Rule:

Use the term ancestry to refer to the physical bloodline or lineage of a person or group. Use ancestry in place of ethnicity, which this style guide bans.

Rationale:

When relevant, references to a person’s ancestry are more precise than other commonly used words, such as ethnicity or culture.

Animism

Rule:

Animism should be capitalized, because it is a specific religious system.

Do not use Animism as a catchall word to describe paganism, Voodoo or other belief systems.

Rationale:

Precise references promote reader clarity and source dignity.

anonymous sources

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Global Press Journal reporters pursue information on the record in every case. When on-the-record interviews and information are not possible, Global Press Journal grants anonymity to sources when naming them would likely result in danger, retribution or undue stigma. Reasons for granting anonymity are made clear to the reader. Public figures, particularly politicians, are not likely to be granted anonymity on statements or issues directly related to their public position.

Rationale:

Global Press Journal grants anonymity to sources who have demonstrated that conditions apply to warrant anonymity. Consult local laws for rules regarding anonymity.

Arab/Arab World

Rule:

Do not use Arab or Arab World as a general reference. Instead, specify nationality/nation or other more specific descriptors.

Rationale:

Precise descriptions promote reader clarity and source dignity.

armed groups

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use the term armed group, or use the specific name of the group with a description of the mandate of the group, so that readers understand the context in which the group has chosen to take up arms. When referring to a single person, use the word member and define their relationship to the group. Do not use “soldier” to describe a member of an armed group.

Do not use rebel, radical, guerilla, militant or terror group to describe organizations that use weapons to defend their expressed interests.

Rationale:

Describing armed groups as rebel, guerilla, militant or terrorist groups carries bias and may be inaccurate.

asylum seeker/asylee

Rule:

Use the term asylum seeker to refer to someone who has formally applied for asylum in a foreign country. Use the term asylee to refer to someone who has received admittance into a foreign country. There are no globally applied standards used to grant asylum. Both terms should be used in accordance with local laws in countries relevant to a story’s news value.

Note that these terms are not interchangeable with refugee or related words. Add context, including sociopolitical realities in a source’s home country and in the country where that source seeks asylum.

Rationale:

Terms related to asylum are often misapplied. Precise, context-rich references are required for accuracy and reader clarity.

attribution

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Global Press style uses the present tense attribution “says” in every case for human sources. Use “according to” for documents or inanimate bodies. Do not attribute information to unspecified groups of people, such as many say, some believe, etc.

Rationale:

Using words other than “says” can imply bias and may inaccurately describe the source’s intentions. Information must be attributed to specific sources to ensure reader clarity.

baby

belief systems

Rule:

Do not conflate religion with belief systems.

Name and describe the specific practices of a religion or belief system when relevant to a story’s news value. A religion is a formal belief system, but not all belief systems are religions.

Rationale:

Precise references promote reader clarity and source dignity.

blue collar/white collar

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use these terms to describe types of jobs. When relevant, provide precise descriptions of jobs, including local context, information about pay and working conditions.

Rationale:

The terms are outdated, imprecise and force readers to make assumptions. Precise descriptions of jobs and working conditions promote reader clarity and source dignity.

captions

Rule:

In captions, only include dates when a specific date is relevant to the understanding of the caption and image. Do not include dates when the action of the image is not time-sensitive or the meaning of the story isn’t likely to change with time.

Rationale:

If the date is not relevant to the story or the image, including it in the caption can disrupt reader clarity.

Ceylon/Ceylonese

This is no longer a deviation from AP Style. AP removed its entry for Ceylon in late 2018.

Rule:

Do not use the term Ceylon to refer to the country of Sri Lanka, and do not use the term Ceylonese to describe the people of Sri Lanka. References to Ceylon Tea should only be used to describe the Ceylon Tea brand.

Rationale:

This is a colonial term that does not acknowledge that the country gained independence in 1948.

chairman | chairwoman | chairperson

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

In cases of gendered, official titles such as chairman, use the formal title adopted by the person currently holding the position even when the gender noted in it does not appear to match the gender of the person holding it.

Rationale:

Precise references to source titles ensure source dignity and reader clarity.

Chinese-administered Kashmir

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use Chinese-administered Kashmir to refer to the areas in the disputed region of Kashmir where public services are provided by the Chinese government — Aksai Chin and the Shaksgam Valley. Note that both areas are also claimed by India.

Always add historical context, recent legal developments and details of the ongoing conflict, noting where relevant that the Kashmir region is disputed by some Kashmiri people and by India, Pakistan and China.

Rationale:

Using precise, neutral terms to describe disputed territories and complex geopolitical situations promotes reader clarity.

civil war

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not capitalize the term civil war on its own. When referring to a specific civil war, use and capitalize the full name, if a full name is commonly recognized locally, and identify the country, parties involved and the years when the war occurred.

Rationale:

Precise references to conflicts and civil wars ensure reader clarity.

climate change

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use this phrase to describe, in general terms, multiple phenomena caused by the increase of heat-trapping gases in the earth’s atmosphere, including increased temperature trends caused by global warming. Use precise references to describe climate-related impacts such as extreme weather events, changing rainfall patterns. agricultural changes and sea level rise.

Do not use the phrase to describe a single phenomena of a changing climate. Do not conflate global warming and climate change.

Do not use climate crisis, climate emergency or other politically charged terms to describe scientifically verified changes in climate.

Rationale:

Precise references to scientific phenomena ensure accuracy and reader clarity.

Colombo

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not refer to Colombo as the capital of Sri Lanka. It is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is the name of both a city and a district in Sri Lanka.

Rationale:

Precise references promote reader clarity.

Congo (Republic of Congo), Democratic Republic of Congo

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use DRC as the abbreviation for Democratic Republic of Congo on second reference; the dateline counts as the first reference. For stories published in English, do not use “the DRC,” except in quotes. For stories published in French, use “la RDC” because of the grammar requirements of the language. When referring to the Republic of Congo, a different country, use the country’s full name on second reference.

Rationale:

Using DRC on second reference is precise and prioritizes reader clarity.

contested land areas

Rule:

Use precise references to describe contested land areas in a way that does not demonstrate a preference for one side, including in a dateline. Always add context to inform the reader that an area is contested.

Rationale:

Many maps are not updated to reflect local disputes and conditions. Common narratives regarding contested areas often don’t fully recognize local realities.

continental references

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use continental references as adjectives to generally describe people, practice, language or culture, including art. Be precise and use specific descriptions.

Rationale:

Precise references promote reader clarity and source dignity.

corn, maize

Rule:

Use interchangeably, based on the regional preference of residents of the location in the dateline.

Rationale:

The staple crop is referred to differently depending on the region.

coup

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use this word to describe actions by the military, political leadership or other actors, national or foreign, to replace a government’s leadership, whether carried out by force, nonviolently or by legal actions.

Rationale:

Timely use of this word ensures reader clarity by providing accurate and foundational news coverage of politically complex scenarios.

cultural genocide

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use the term cultural genocide to describe a scenario in which a specific culture is systematically targeted for destruction by denying the people who practice that culture access to it. Global Press Journal reporters may name a genocide or cultural genocide while it is in progress, without confirmation from an international body if facts have been verified on the ground.

As with the word genocide, the phrase cultural genocide should be used carefully and with significant forethought and verification.

Cultural genocide should not be used as a synonym for a disenfranchised culture. It may be part of a physical genocide, but it is not always so. Cultural genocide should not be used to refer to a naturally fading or dying culture.

Rationale:

Local reporters are uniquely positioned to identify, define and report on instances of cultural genocide in a timely manner. Precise language is required when describing instances of a forcible loss of culture to ensure reader clarity and source dignity.

culture

Rule:

Use the word culture when referring to customary beliefs, but be as precise as possible when only a single facet of a culture, such as religion, is relevant. Do not use culture to refer to countries, races or other large groups of people who have similarities but may not share a specific cultural element.

Rationale:

Culture refers to the customary beliefs and practices of a specific group of people. Culture includes, but is not limited to, religion, nonreligious traditions or a language shared by that group.

currency

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Always use local currency to value goods and services referred to in a story. Follow each reference to local currency with the U.S.-dollar equivalent in parentheses, using $ and not the word dollar, rounding up or down where necessary for clarity.

Do not capitalize the name of any currency. Specify the name of the country and currency on first reference, such as Nepalese rupees, followed by an abbreviation in parentheses. On second reference, the abbreviation alone is acceptable.

If a country accepts foreign currency as a legal tender, add context to explain.

Rationale:

Including both local and global currency promotes reader clarity.

dateline

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

A Global Press Journal dateline reflects the place of a story’s primary news value and indicates that the reporter was physically present there to gather information. Datelines must include a community name and a country name. References to general land areas, such as lakes or deserts, are not acceptable in datelines. Datelines may include state or province names when reader clarity would benefit.

Use all capital letters and an em dash to introduce a story.

When reporting from a contested area, use the most accurate descriptor, to ensure that readers understand whether people in that area are governed by a sovereign entity.

Rationale:

Readers have a right to transparent information about the location where reporting was conducted.

dates

Rule:

Use the Gregorian calendar as a default for dates. When a precise date can only be expressed by using a non-Gregorian calendar, use that reference and provide an estimated conversion.

Rationale:

The Gregorian calendar is widely used, but when specificity is required, a non-Gregorian calendar can be more precise.

developing world/emerging economy/Global South

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use the terms developing world, emerging economy or Global South to describe any country or region. Instead, include economic data relevant to a story’s news value.

Rationale:

The terms are geographically imprecise, do not have widely-accepted definitions and are generally used as sanitized synonyms for poverty. Using generalized terms to imply poverty across large land areas and countries that have little else in common reflects bias and defines complex communities by foreign standards of wealth.

disabilities

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not describe a source as the subject of a disease or disorder, but rather as a person with a disease or disorder.

Do not use imprecise terms, including disabled person or the disabled, unless part of a formal name or preferred by a source. Do not use differently abled or handi-capable, and do not refer to people without a disability as normal or able-bodied.

In countries where medical experts are scarce, physical or cognitive disability might be assumed by local people to be connected to religion or the spiritual realm. Do not repeat unproven beliefs in a way that misleads readers.

Rationale:

Precise medical diagnoses and descriptions are always required to ensure dignity and accuracy.

Dominican Republic

Rule:

For stories published in English, use Dominican Republic, or DR on second reference. Do not use “the” to precede the name of the country except in quotes. For stories published in Spanish, use “la RD” because of the grammar requirements of the language.

Rationale:

Precise references serve reader clarity.

education systems

Rule:

Do not assume that all countries use the same systems of education. Primary, secondary, tertiary, high school and college may have different age or grade levels associated with them in different countries. Describe school-aged sources with age and contextual equivalents.

Rationale:

It is inaccurate to define all education systems using standards from a single region or country.

embryo

emerging economy/market

ethnic/ethnicity

Rule:

Do not use the word ethnic to reference or categorize people in any circumstance.

Instead, choose a context-rich description that clearly and accurately defines the shared characteristic relevant to the story, whether religion, cultural practice, language, race or other trait. Allow sources to self-identify. The term is acceptable in a quote.

Rationale:

The words ethnic and ethnicity, and phrases related to them, are imprecise and often misused. Related phrases, such as ethnic tensions, are often used to generalize complex circumstances including conflict, genocide and racial issues. Readers are not served when a story fails to precisely illuminate those complexities.

European Union/E.U.

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use E.U. as an abbreviation for European Union, with periods, in headlines and on second reference.

Rationale:

Consistent references to global entities ensure reader clarity.

ex-convict

fair trade

Rule:

Do not use the term fair trade to imply that a product was created fairly or equitably. Instead, precisely describe the certification process along with conditions and wages along the supply chain, with an emphasis on the product’s community of origin.

Rationale:

The phrase carries a general assumption of equity along a product chain that is not necessarily fair or accurate.

femicide/feminicide

Rule:

Do not use feminicide in English versions of stories that reference “feminicidio.” In English versions of stories, use the term femicide only when referring to a crime specified in a country’s criminal code. In Spanish versions of stories, use the term “feminicidio,” if that is the formal legal charge listed in that country’s criminal code.

Do not use these terms as a general reference to violence against women that results in death. Instead, precisely describe the verified circumstances that led to death.

These terms are acceptable to use when in a quote or as part of a formal name.

Rationale:

Because the definitions of these words are different in English and Spanish, a direct translation is not accurate. Adherence to linguistic norms promotes source dignity and reader clarity.

fetus/baby/embryo

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use the words embryo, fetus and baby according to their medical definitions. As global political usage differs, Global Press uses the following medical definitions: An embryo is aged from two weeks to eight weeks; a fetus is aged from nine weeks to birth; a baby is a born infant.

Allow sources to identify their unborn offspring in the term of their choice.

Rationale:

The terms fetus, embryo and baby have precise medical definitions and should not be used interchangeably. Precise terms ensure source dignity and reader clarity.

first reference/second reference

football/soccer

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use football to refer to the sport played at the FIFA World Cup. Do not use soccer. Use American football to refer to the game Americans play in the Super Bowl. Use context to note the distinction.

Rationale:

Both sports use the same name, so a distinction is necessary when writing for a global audience.

foreign

Rule:

Use the word foreign in reference to specific things that do not originate in the country of a story’s dateline. Do not use foreign to describe people.

Rationale:

The word foreign is relative to the reporter, not to the reader. People should be referred to as people as often as possible to prevent bias.

gay, lesbian, homosexual, transgender, transsexual, queer

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

All references to a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity must be specifically relevant to the story’s news angle. Seek explicit permission from sources before publishing details about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity if publication of those details could result in social or legal persecution. Anonymity is acceptable for sources who fear persecution.

Ensure that all relevant terms, including those related to medical procedures, are used accurately according to local definitions, with descriptive context added for global readers.

Do not use phrases that refer to a gay or alternative lifestyle.

Use “transgender” rather than “transgendered” or “a transgender” when referring to sources.

Only use the word transsexual if a source identifies this way.

Rationale:

Terms related to gender identity and sexual orientation vary by location. Sources must be afforded dignity, regardless of the legal and social realities of their home locations, and must have a reasonable expectation that their personal security will be respected.

generational descriptors

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use words and phrases such as millennial, baby boomer or Generation X to describe people born in certain years.

Rationale:

These words and phrases are not globally understood or equally applied, and they force readers to make assumptions about the people so described.

genocide

Rule:

Only use the word genocide to describe a scenario in which a specific group of people are systematically targeted for death based on a characteristic the people in that group share. The definition of genocide is not linked to the number of people killed or at risk.

Mere intent to destroy a group is not a sufficient condition for use of the word genocide. Rather, the word genocide can be accurately used when physical destruction is happening and when there is intent to continue. This scenario might include widespread killings of members of that specific group with impunity, or the forcible prevention of pregnancy and/or childbirth among members of that group.

When entities in that area or scenario agree on the fact that a certain group of people are targeted for physical death, use the word genocide as a descriptor, with an emphasis on precision and accuracy.

Use the word genocide with great care and forethought, ensuring that local people in the area or scenario to which the word is applied have been thoroughly consulted.

Rationale:

Local reporters are uniquely positioned to identify, define and report on instances of genocide in a timely manner.

geographic references

Rule:

Use precise place names, even when a location is not widely known, always adding geographic markers that specify distances from capital cities or relevant landmarks.

Do not use continental or otherwise broad geographic references for people, politics, economies or culture. More precise terms are available in every instance.

For places where location names and boundaries are disputed, that dispute should be noted in the story.

Rationale:

Precise references ensure reader clarity.

ghetto

Rule:

Do not use the word ghetto to describe an area, except when in quotes or as part of a proper noun. Instead, precisely describe the conditions of a location in relation to a story’s news value..

Rationale:

Using words that do not have precise or consistent usage forces readers to make assumptions and can deprive sources of dignity.

Global Press

Rule:

Use Global Press to refer to the nonprofit organization as a whole. Use Global Press Institute to refer to the organization’s training program. Use Global Press Journal to refer to the organization’s publication. Only refer to a news product as that of Global Press Journal, not of Global Press.

Rationale:

Entities that carry multiple brands should be referred to with precision.

global warming

Rule:

Use this phrase to describe the increase in average global temperatures.

Do not conflate global warming and climate change.

Rationale:

Precise descriptions of scientific phenomena promote reader clarity.

government bodies/institutional names

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

For names and bodies presented in English, spell the name exactly as the organization spells it. For names not in English but that use the Roman alphabet, use the original language version of the name, followed by a brief description of that body’s function. If the body has its own English name in addition to a local language name, use the English name to ensure reader clarity and use the local language name in the story version in that language. Only translate names in a non-Roman alphabet, indicating that the name was translated by the publication.

Rationale:

Referring to bodies and institutions precisely and accurately promotes reader clarity.

hate crime

Rule:

Use the term hate crime to describe a crime committed against a person or group only if there has been a formal legal charge. When a country’s legal code includes a specific definition for the term hate crime, include details of that definition.

Rationale:

Misuse of this term can inflame tensions and create violent situations. Precise references ensure reader clarity.

headline

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Always capitalize the first word in a headline. Always capitalize nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Do not capitalize the indefinite or definite article, unless they are the first word in a headline. Always capitalize words consisting of four or more letters. Do not capitalize words consisting of three letters or fewer if the words are conjunctions or prepositions.

Rationale:

Capitalization of key words in a headline enhances reader clarity.

Hispanic

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use the term Hispanic. Use precise terms to describe people of Spanish-speaking ancestry. Allow sources to self-identify. The term is acceptable in quotes.

Rationale:

This word is a general term that forces readers to make assumptions. Precise descriptions promote reader clarity and source dignity.

historical references

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Capitalize historical references to definitively singular events that are commonly referred to as proper nouns, such as World War II. Do not capitalize references to civil wars, revolutions and other events that are not singular, regardless of location. Treat references to specific countries and locations as adjectives, such as the American revolution.

Rationale:

Consistency in referring to historical events ensures equitable news coverage.

homicide/murder/manslaughter

Rule:

Examine specific legal contexts to ensure that these terms and other related words and phrases are used accurately, based on the story’s dateline. Add contextual information for reader clarity.

Rationale:

International legal contexts and definitions differ.

Indian-administered Kashmir

This is a deviation from AP Style. This entry was updated after India revoked Article 370 and Article 35 A of the Indian constitution on August 5, 2019, which split the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories, but did not change the disputed status of the Kashmir region as recognized by the United Nations. Global Press will continue to use the word administered to describe areas in the disputed Kashmir region administered by India or other countries.

Rule:

Use Indian-administered Kashmir to refer to the area in the disputed Kashmir region where public services are provided by the Indian government. When reporting from this area, do not use India or Kashmir in the dateline.

Example: SRINAGAR, INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR

Do not refer to Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Aksai Chin and the Shaksgam Valley as Indian-administered. These areas are claimed by India but administered by other countries. Do not use Indian-administered Kashmir to refer to an area that can be described with more precision.

Always add historical context, recent legal developments and details of the ongoing conflict, noting where relevant that the Kashmir region is disputed by some Kashmiri people and by India, Pakistan and China.

Rationale:

Using precise, neutral terms to describe disputed territories and complex geopolitical situations promotes reader clarity.

indigenous/native

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use the verified formal name of an individual, group or tribe on first reference. Do not use indigenous or native in place of a verified formal name of a group. Only use the terms when the provenance of a person, group or plant has been verified. Sources should always be allowed to self-identify, but descriptions of people should be as precise as possible. The term is acceptable in quotes.

Rationale:

Precise references promote reader clarity and source dignity.

inmate/ex-convict/prisoner

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use the terms inmate or prisoner when referring to a specific person in prison. Only use “inmates” or “prisoners” as general terms to refer to a population of people who reside in a correctional facility.

Do not refer to people who previously served time in jail or prison as “ex-convicts” or “formerly incarcerated.” Include precise details when describing a person’s criminal history.

Rationale:

People should be referred to as people as often as possible to prevent bias.

internally displaced person

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use this term to refer to people who are forcibly displaced within the borders of their own country. Do not conflate refugee and internally displaced person. IDP or IDPs is acceptable on second reference.

Rationale:

Internally displaced person has a specific definition that is not jargon. Precise references are required for reader clarity and source dignity.

International Labour Organization

intersex

Rule:

Do not assume that people with biological variations related to anatomy should be grouped by default with the LGBT community. Sources should always be allowed to self-identify.

Use intersex only as a clinical reference and only when relevant to a story’s news value.

Rationale:

It is not accurate to assume that a source seeks affiliation with a larger group. Precise references ensure source dignity and reader clarity.

Jammu and Kashmir, Union territory of

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir to refer to one of the two administrative units created by the Indian government in August of 2019. Only refer to the state of Jammu and Kashmir in historical references prior to August 5, 2019. Note that the borders of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir are different than the former borders of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and some parts are disputed by Pakistan.

Rationale:

Using precise, neutral terms to describe disputed territories and complex geopolitical situations promotes reader clarity.

juvenile

Rule:

Do not use the word juvenile or the phrase juvenile delinquent to refer to a person, except in specific legal contexts. Note that the age of consent varies by country. Include context, noting local legal definitions when relevant.

Rationale:

Sources of every age must be referred to with dignity. Precise terms are necessary for reader clarity.

Kashmir

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use this name only when referring to the entire region of Kashmir that lies between the borders of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Tibet and India. Do not use Kashmir to describe specific areas within the region that are claimed or administered by different countries.

Always add historical context, recent legal developments and details of the ongoing conflict, noting where relevant that the Kashmir region is disputed by some Kashmiri people and by India, Pakistan and China.

Rationale:

Precise references to complex geopolitical situations ensures accuracy and reader clarity. Imprecise or inaccurate geographic references reveal bias, inflame tensions, deprive readers of clarity and local sources of dignified news coverage.

Latina/Latino/Latinx

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Only use Latina, Latino or Latinx when a source self-identifies as such. Specify a person’s nationality when possible and relevant.

Do not use Latina, Latino or Latinx interchangeably with nationalities, regions, cultures or the term Hispanic, which is banned by this guide. Always use “Latin American” as a gender-neutral option and for plural references.

Rationale:

Precise references promote reader clarity and afford sources opportunities to describe themselves in distinct ways.

LGBT/Q/I/A

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use LGBT or another similar acronym as a default reference for a community, because such acronyms are not identically defined around the world.

Instead, describe sources in precise terms, based on each source’s self-identification. That self-identification might include an acronym such as LGBT or another similar acronym.

Do not assume that a source seeks affiliation with a larger group.

Do not use this acronym as default style to describe groups, people or concepts related to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues. Instead, describe the specific group in precise terms.

Rationale:

Terms related to gender identity and sexual orientation vary by location. Sources must be afforded dignity, regardless of the legal and social realities of their home locations, and must have a reasonable expectation that their personal security will be respected.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

Rule:

Do not use Tamil Tigers to refer to this armed group. Instead, use the full formal name. LTTE is acceptable on second reference.

Rationale:

Some shortened versions or nicknames of such organizations can reveal bias. Precise references promote reader clarity.

Line of Control

Rule:

Use the capitalized term Line of Control to refer to the informal border that separates the disputed region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Do not refer to this informal border as an international border.

Rationale:

The legal framework regarding this informal border is frequently misunderstood. Precise references to complex geopolitical situations ensures accuracy and reader clarity.

mafia

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Only use this word to describe an organized crime syndicate that self-identifies as such.

Rationale:

Globally, there are multiple groups that identify as mafia, but not all organized crime groups do so.

Mai Mai

Rule:

Use this general term, capitalized and not hyphenated, to refer to nongovernmental, armed groups operating in Democratic Republic of Congo. When referring to a specific Mai Mai group, use that group’s individual name, which generally indicates its leader. Add context for reader clarity. Do not use the word rebel to describe these groups.

Rationale:

This umbrella term is a general reference to armed groups, but each group has its own identity and should be specified. These groups operate in a complex geopolitical environment. Using general language when referring to Mai Mai groups is imprecise and can create chaos and confusion.

medical conditions

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use a person’s medical condition or biological variation as a primary descriptor. Use phrases such as people with albinism or person with living with AIDS. Use simple verbs such as is or has to indicate that a person, for example, is diabetic or has cancer.

Rationale:

Using a source’s medical condition or biological variation as a label violates the dignity of that source.

metric conversions

Rule:

When using units of measurement, include both the metric and U.S. customary equivalents. Measurement standards in the story’s dateline determine which unit is followed by its equivalent in parentheses.

Rationale:

Include conversions to ensure clarity for all global readers.

militant group

modern

Rule:

Do not use the word modern to describe a person, place or entity that is presumed to be sophisticated or technologically advanced. The word modern refers to time, not innovation.

Do not use as a general reference to the present day or recent past. Instead, use specific time references.

Rationale:

Precise descriptions of people, places, entities and time serve reader clarity and prevent bias.

modern slavery

Rule:

Do not use the term modern slavery to refer to methods of institutional slavery occurring in the present day. Instead, precisely describe the method of slavery, noting that indentured servitude, bonded labor and forced sex work all have unique definitions and consequences. Do not refer to people working in a form of slavery as victims or survivors. Precisely describe the local legal context in which the situation is occurring.

Rationale:

Precise, context-rich references promote reader clarity and source dignity.

Mongolian Datelines

Rule:

Add province (aimag) names to datelines from Mongolia for stories that do not originate in the capital. The province name should follow the city or town (soum) name and precede the country name.

Example: MURUN, KHUVSGUL PROVINCE, MONGOLIA

Stories reported from the capital should only include the city and country, as the capital does not belong to any province.

Example: ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA

Rationale:

Mongolia is divided into 21 aimags, or provinces, which are administrative subdivisions. Provinces are further divided into 330 soums, which often have duplicative names across provinces, making a reference only to a soum and the country insufficient to pinpoint the location of news value.

Precise references promote reader clarity.

Mongolian Names

Rule:

Refer to human sources by first name on second reference. Do not abbreviate the surname to a single letter, as is often done locally.

Rationale:

In Mongolian naming conventions, the second name, or surname, is the father’s name. So a reference to a source by surname, would be a reference to the source’s father, not the source. The country does not have a practice or a culture of referring to one another by family names.

Precise, culturally appropriate references promote source dignity and reader clarity.

movie ratings

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use the local rating system in the country specified in the dateline. Do not default to ratings of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Rationale:

Movie rating systems are not universally accepted or applied.

names

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not translate names and other proper nouns that use the Roman alphabet. Follow the name with an appositive to describe the proper noun, if necessary.

Names written or presented in non-Roman alphabets must be translated for reader clarity. Use a common English version of the name, if one exists. In all other cases, work with a translator to ensure an acceptable transliteration, alerting readers that a transliteration has been used.

Rationale:

Presenting names in original languages ensures accuracy. Translating names to and from non-Roman alphabets ensures reader clarity.

naming conventions

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

On first reference, present names in an order that reflects local conventions, according to source preference.

In cases where a name is presented in an order that does not follow the order of first or given name followed by family name or surname, add an explanation for reader clarity.

When a source has multiple or compound surnames, respect source preference for the name used on second reference.

Rationale:

Source names should be presented in such a way that sources recognize themselves in stories and are referenced with dignity, and in keeping with how they are known in their communities.

Native American tribes/tribal nations/First Nations

Rule:

Use precise names when referring to sovereign or formally constituted nations. These terms are not necessarily interchangeable.

Rationale:

Precision is required when referring to tribal nations because of the wide variety of cultures and languages among those groups. As sovereign or formally constituted nations, each group or tribe is most accurately referred to by its specific name.

Native American/American Indian Reservation

Rule:

Use the word reservation when it is part of a proper noun or when specifically referring to land governed by a sovereign tribal nation.

In the United States, such land should be described as within the U.S. or within the borders of a specific U.S. state, to ensure that readers understand the sovereign nature of the tribe’s governance.

Rationale:

It’s misleading and imprecise to refer to an American Indian reservation without noting that it is sovereign land, governed by a tribal nation.

Native American/American Indian/Alaska Native

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

All three terms are acceptable, according to source preference, when describing an individual or group.

Rationale:

There is no standard general reference to people with this ancestry. Allowing sources to choose ensures dignified representation.

Nepali/Nepalese

Rule:

Use Nepali in reference to the language and Nepalese in reference to the people, culture and currency.

Rationale:

Precise references are required for reader clarity and source dignity.

Old World

Rule:

Do not use this term to refer to the Eastern Hemisphere, whether geography, language or culture. Instead, specify the relevant country, context or culture.

Rationale:

Precise references are required for reader clarity.

Pakistani-administered Kashmir

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use Pakistani-administered Kashmir to refer to the area in the disputed Kashmir region where public services are provided by the Pakistani government, consisting of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Note that both areas are also claimed by India.

Always add historical context, recent legal developments and details of the ongoing conflict, noting where relevant that the Kashmir region is disputed by some Kashmiri people and by India, Pakistan and China.

Rationale:

Using precise, neutral terms to describe disputed territories and complex geopolitical situations promotes reader clarity.

people of color

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use this term to describe or categorize non-white people. Use precise terms to describe people according to a story’s news value. Allow sources to self-identify. The term is acceptable in quotes.

Rationale:

Precise terms promote reader clarity and source dignity.

prisoner

pro-life/pro-choice

pronouns

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use the pronoun preferred by a source.

When use of a nonstandard pronoun is necessary, add context.

Rationale:

Accurate references promote source dignity and reader clarity.

prostitute

pseudonym

Rule:

Do not use pseudonyms for anonymous sources. Instead, use a descriptive reference, a source’s confirmed nickname or initials.

Rationale:

It is imprudent to insert any fictional element into a news story. Use of a pseudonym does not advance reader clarity.

Puerto Rico/Puerto Ricans

This is a deviation from AP Style

Rule:

Use Puerto Rico on first and second reference. While Puerto Rico is a self-governed, unincorporated territory of the United States, references to Puerto Rico as a commonwealth or a territory are not clear and are often rejected by some Puerto Ricans.

Do not refer to Puerto Rico as an island, as it is made up of multiple islands.

Refer to the people of Puerto Rico as Puerto Ricans, only noting the terms of their U.S. citizenship when relevant to the story.

Do not refer to the United States as the mainland. Use the United States or the U.S. government in favor of generic geographic references that may convey bias.

Rationale:

Precise references promote reader clarity and source dignity.

Pygmy

Rule:

Use this word only when relevant to a story’s news value and after confirming with a local source that it is an appropriate reference. Do not assume that people, especially those who live in forests in the central African region and who are short in stature, are Pygmies.

Rationale:

Accurate use of this term ensures source dignity and reader clarity.

quotes

Rule:

Quotes should be presented verbatim, whether they were originally spoken in English or translated into English from another language. Note that verbatim does not necessarily mean word for word when translated. Translators should take care to retain the emotion, style and word choice of quotes to best reflect the speaker.

In general, minor grammatical errors or deviations in quotes should remain as is. Paraphrase quotes that lack clarity because of significant grammatical errors or deviations.

Rationale:

Quotes must be used judiciously to ensure source dignity and reader clarity.

race

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use precise references to a source’s ancestry when relevant to a story’s news value.

Do not conflate race with skin color or nationality. Instead, allow sources to self-identify. Capitalize skin color according to source preference. For general references to groups of people do not default to capitalization, use standard grammar rules for nouns and adjectives.

Rationale:

Precise references to diverse source identities promote reader clarity and source dignity.

racism/racist/racial

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use these terms to describe people. The terms may be used to describe actions or policies that were verifiably motivated by race or racial prejudice. Always provide readers with robust descriptions and necessary context to understand the consequence of the described action or policy.

Rationale:

These terms are labels that are understood differently by people according to their personal circumstances and world views. Use of labels limits a reader’s ability to understand the full scope and consequence of a situation. Relying on precise descriptions rather than labels promotes source dignity and reader clarity.

rebel/rebel group/rebellion

recipes

refugee

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not conflate refugees, who flee to a foreign country to escape danger, and internally displaced people, who are forcibly displaced within the borders of their own country.

Review the relevant legal context for a country’s definition of refugee to ensure the word is used appropriately. When a host country’s definition of refugee differs from the definition in a source’s country of origin, describe the difference.

Rationale:

The term refugee can have varying definitions based on the country. Precise and context-rich references are required for reader clarity and source dignity.

religious references

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not capitalize the names of major events in the lives of historical religious figures in any religion.

Rationale:

Capitalization can indicate bias.

rice/paddy

Rule:

Do not use rice paddy or rice field to refer to the location where rice is grown. A paddy is the plant that produces the grain rice. Only use the term rice to describe the grain once it has been harvested.

Rationale:

Precise references are required for reader clarity.

seasons

Rule:

Refer to seasons according to the geography of a story’s dateline.

Rationale:

Seasons are determined by geography.

sex worker

Rule:

Use the term sex worker to describe someone who performs sex acts in a transactional exchange for goods, services, power or money. Do not use hooker, whore or other labels that convey moral judgment, unless a sex worker self-identifies as such. Add local legal context when relevant.

Rationale:

Precision is required when referring to controversial or potentially illegal scenarios to ensure source safety and dignity.

Sinhala/Sinhalese

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use Sinhala to refer to one of Sri Lanka’s formal languages, which is spoken by people of various ancestral backgrounds. The word Sinhalese refers to the people who make up the largest portion of the Sri Lankan population. The terms are not interchangeable.

Do not use Sinhalese as a general descriptor or as a synonym for Sri Lankan people in general.

Rationale:

In the Sinhala language, the word for both the people and the language is the same. The English language requires a grammatical distinction between the two terms.

Recent anti-Muslim and anti-Tamil sentiments throughout Sri Lanka have prompted the use of the term Sinhalese as a synonym for Sri Lankan. Sri Lanka is home to people of several ancestral origins, each of which must be referred to precisely to ensure reader clarity and source dignity.

slum/slumlord

Rule:

Do not use the word slum to describe an area, except when in quotes or as part of a proper noun. Instead, use words and phrases that precisely describe the conditions of the location.

Do not use slumlord to describe a person who leases or otherwise profits from a property considered to be low-quality.

Rationale:

Using words that do not have precise or consistent usage forces readers to make assumptions and can also deprive sources of dignity.

soldier

Spanish names

spokesman/spokeswoman/spokesperson

street children

Rule:

Do not use the phrase street children or other common variations to describe children who live or work in vulnerable situations. The phrase may be used if it is part of a formal name, such as a policy or an organization.

Rationale:

This phrase is imprecise and forces readers to make assumptions. Precise descriptions are necessary for reader clarity and source dignity.

survivor

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use the word survivor to describe a person. Instead, use specific context and descriptions to refer to actions or situations.

Rationale:

This word is a general label that lacks precision and forces readers to make assumptions. Use of specific descriptions prioritizes source dignity.

terror, act of

Rule:

Use this phrase when referring to coercive actions, whether violent or nonviolent, designed to create fear for the purpose of political or ideological manipulation. Add context, including details about the perpetrators, their goals and their relationships with existing authorities and other groups.

Rationale:

Use of this phrase ensures reader clarity by providing accurate and foundational news coverage of politically or ideologically complex scenarios.

terrorist

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use the word terrorist to describe a person or people. Instead, specifically describe an action and include context such as ideology, methodology and affiliation. Do not include graphic or unnecessary detail.

Rationale:

Use of this term reveals bias based on a news outlet’s location, affiliation or ideology.

third gender/third sex

Rule:

Use third gender or third sex when appropriate in the local context to refer to non-binary gender identity and related issues.

Do not use interchangeably with transgender, transsexual or other related terms. In local-language story versions, use appropriate pronouns related to third gender and third sex when those pronouns exist.

Rationale:

Vocabulary related to gender identity differs globally. Accurately reflecting source preference and local legal context ensures source dignity and reader clarity.

tribe(s)

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use the word tribe when referring to a specific group of people who collectively self-identify as such. Always include the tribe’s name, along with descriptive context related to the tribe’s area, culture and geopolitical conditions. Do not refer to a tribe as belonging to a country.

Rationale:

Precisely referring to tribes ensures that people and contexts are described accurately. Imprecise words and phrases, such as ethnic and ethnic group, foster confusion, deprive sources of adequate affiliation and jeopardize reader clarity.

Tseltal

Rule:

References to the Tseltal language must be treated differently in English and Spanish versions of stories. In English, capitalize the name of the language. In Spanish, do not capitalize the name of the language. Use the letter s, rather than z, in spelling the name in both English and Spanish.

Rationale:

The Tseltal alphabet does not contain the letter z. Adherence to linguistic norms, including spelling, promotes source dignity and reader clarity.

Tsotsil

Rule:

References to the Tsotsil language must be treated differently in English and Spanish versions of stories. In English, capitalize the name of the language. In Spanish, do not capitalize the name of the language. Use the letter s, rather than z, in spelling the name in both English and Spanish.

Rationale:

The Tsotsil alphabet does not contain the letter z. Adherence to linguistic norms, including spelling, promotes source dignity and reader clarity.

United Nations/U.N.

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use U.N. as an abbreviation for United Nations, with periods, in headlines and on second reference.

Rationale:

Consistent references to global entities ensure reader clarity.

United States/U.S.

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use U.S. as an abbreviation for United States, with periods, in headlines and on second reference.

Rationale:

Consistent references ensure reader clarity.

victim

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use the word victim to describe a person. Instead, use specific context and descriptions to refer to actions or situations.

Rationale:

This word is a general label that lacks precision and forces readers to make assumptions. Use of specific descriptions prioritizes source dignity.

Voodoo

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use this name, capitalized, to describe this specific religion. Do not use this name as a general reference to witchcraft or other practices. Do not assume that people whose practices have similarities to Voodoo necessarily adhere to this religion.

Rationale:

Voodoo is a religion with specific practices. It should be referred to precisely and with the same deference used when referring to other religions.

witch/witchcraft/witch doctor

Rule:

Use the words witch or witchcraft in reference to this specific belief system. Use respectful language when referring to the people and practices related to this belief system. Do not use the word witch to describe a person who does not self-identify as such. It is acceptable to use these words in quotes only when the story also provides local context.

Do not use the word witch interchangeably with the terms traditional healer or herbalist.

Rationale:

Witchcraft is a belief system with elements and specific practices that incorporate multiple religions. Referring to witches, witchcraft and witch doctors with precision ensures source dignity and reader clarity.

working class

Rule:

Do not use this phrase to reference people who have certain types of jobs or who earn a certain range of income. Instead, include precise details when relevant, such as specific descriptions of jobs and earnings as well as local context.

Rationale:

This phrase forces readers to make assumptions. Precise descriptions of jobs and working conditions promote reader clarity and source dignity.

Zimbabwean dollar (ZWL)/bond notes/RTGS dollar

Rule:

Use Zimbabwean dollars (ZWL) for all references to Zimbabwean currency after June 24, 2019.

Source references to the paper form of ZWL, often called bond notes, or to the electronic form of ZWL, often called RTGS dollars, may be used in quotes if essential to the story.

If monetary amounts are referenced as bond notes or RTGS dollars, rename the currency as ZWL. Then, convert ZWL to USD using the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s official rate for that day.

Always provide context about the country’s recent transition to a single currency system and the changes that led to the creation of multiple forms of one currency.

Rationale:

Zimbabwe is transitioning from a multi-currency system to a single currency system. The period between 2016 and 2019 saw multiple local currencies introduced, named, renamed and circulated. Consistent references to the country’s currency are necessary to ensure reader clarity. Providing references to USD offers global context and reader clarity.