One of the criticisms leveled at TV news sites is the hit-or-miss quality of the writing. Part of the problem, as many in the broadcast industry freely admit, is a discomfort with or lack of knowledge about writing in “print style.”
One tool that can help is a solid style guide, and now Reuters has posted its internal newsroom guide online, for free. Look to the general style guide for help with punctuation, titles, capitalization rules, etc. There’s even a section focused on sports, complete with advice for avoiding cliches (thank you Reuters). Plus, the news organization publishes a section called, Standards and Values.
Why share this with the world? Dean Wright, Global Editor for Ethics, Innovation and News Standards listed a number of reasons in a Reuters blog post.
- Transparency: At a time when trust is an endangered commodity in the financial and media worlds, it’s important that news consumers see the guidelines our journalists follow.
- Service: As we’ve seen over the past decade, the barriers to publishing have dropped so that anyone with an idea and a computer can be a publisher. But it’s also become clear that publishers have a varying standard of truth, fairness and style. Our handbook is a good place for budding journalists to begin.
- Geography: Reuters serves a global audience and the handbook recognises the cultural and political differences that our journalists face in reporting for the world. This is a handbook not just for English-language journalists in the United Kingdom or the United States, but for wherever English is used.
Whether you’re a broadcaster trying to boost the quality of your online work or a student journalist perfecting a classroom project, this appears to be an excellent resource.