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The Global Press Style Guide

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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.

Example:

The gallery is devoted both to the presentation of contemporary art and to the preservation of Zimbabwe’s visual heritage. It’s also home to a collection of paintings, masks, images and sculptures, both ancient and modern, from across the continent. Read this full story from Zimbabwe here.

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.

Example:

With a record voter turnout of more than 70%, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the ZANU-PF leader who became the head of state in November after he led a coup against longtime President Robert Mugabe, defeated Nelson Chamisa, the 40-year-old head of the main opposition party, MDC Alliance.

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.