Style Guides

The Guardian Style Guide

Online alphabetical guide from one of Britain’s leading newspapers

BBC Radio News Style Guide

This is a version of a guide to usage and style intended for journalists who work in the BBC Radio Newsroom.

Economist Style Guide

This guide is based on the style book which is given to all journalists at The Economist.

Strunk’s The Elements of Style

An old but classic guide. Good on basics not on modern usage.

Copy editing

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips

This is one of the best writing and grammar sites on the web – written in a clear accessible style it gives expert advice on good writing and grammar

Copy Desk

A useful page of links from the American Copy Editors Society

The Slot

Bill Walsh’s copy editors’ site

Writing for the web

Mindy McAdams: Tips for Writing for the Web

A compact list of guidelines for writing and formatting text and links.

Jakob Nielsen: Microcontent: How to Write Headlines, Page Titles, and Subject Lines

Microcontent needs to be pearls of clarity: you get 40-60 characters to explain your macrocontent. Unless the title or subject make it absolutely clear what the page or email is about, users will never open it.

Jakob Nielsen: Inverted Pyramids in Cyberspace

Journalists have long adhered to the inverted pyramid approach: start the article by telling the reader the conclusion (“After long debate, the Assembly voted to increase state taxes by 10 percent”), follow by the most important supporting information, and end by giving the background. This style is known as the inverted pyramid for the simple reason that it turns the traditional pyramid style around. Inverted-pyramid writing is useful for newspapers because readers can stop at any time and will still get the most important parts of the article. On the Web, the inverted pyramid becomes even more important.

John Morkes and Jakob Nielsen: Concise, SCANNABLE, and Objective: How to Write for the Web

Studies of how users read on the Web found that they do not actually read: instead, they scan the text. A study of five different writing styles found that a sample Web site scored 58% higher in measured usability when it was written concisely, 47% higher when the text was scannable, and 27% higher when it was written in an objective style instead of the promotional style used in the control condition and many current Web pages. Combining these three changes into a single site that was concise, scannable, and objective at the same time resulted in 124% higher measured usability.

Constance J. Petersen: Writing for a Web Audience

Studies show Web visitors don’t read; they skip and scan. Will your Web site accommodate them? Also, solid, well-written, grammatically correct Web content is crucial to gaining the user’s trust. Following are 10 tips to help you write for the Web in a way that gains the trust of your readers and supports their style of Web browsing.

Multimedia Journalism

Multiple Journalism

This site presents some very good case studies of some of the most interesting innovations in contemporary journalism.

Teaching online journalism

Mindy McAdam’s teaches online journalism at University of Florida, she is a pioneer in the field and is in high demand as a trainer by industry groups. Her blog is full of interesting material and tips.

Journalist’s toolkit

Is Mindy McAdam’s tutorial site where she archives tutorials and how-to guides on all aspects of online multimedia.


Leigh Sales on Interviewing

“You say to a politician, ‘What did you have for breakfast and they say, ‘Well, for lunch I had a salad sandwich.’