Media Writing and Editing
|Abbreviations for a COMPANY|| - abbreviate and capitalize company, corporation, incorporated, limited and brothers (Co., Corp, Inc.,Ltd. or Bros) when used after the name of a corporate entity. example: Gateway Inc. builds computers. |
- do not capitalize or abbreviate when used by themselves. Example: She works for a company.
|Abbrevitations for DEGREES||- generally avoid abbreviations for academic degrees. use instead a phrase such as: Edward Huston, who was a doctorate in history, have the lecture. |
- use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, a master's, doctor's degree.
- use abbrevs such as B.A., M.A., Ph.D. only when identifying many individauls by degree on first reference
|DO NOT ABBREVIATE||assistant, association, attorny, building, district, government, president, professor, superintendent or the days of the week, or use the ampersand (&) in place of and in news stories.|
|Abbreviations for INITIALS|| -organizations so widely known by abbrevitions: CIA, FBI, NASA, YMCA. |
- for other organizations usetheir full names on first reference. On second reference use abbreviations or acronyms only if they would be clear or familiar to most readers.
|Abbreviations for JUNIOR/SENIOR||abbreviate and capitalize junior and senior after an individuals name: John James Jr.|
|Abbreviations for MPH/MPG:|| - abbreviation mph (no periods) is acceptable in all references for miles per hour. |
- abbreviation mpg is acceptable only on second reference.
|8 STATES that are never abbreviated:||Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.|
|Abbreviations for the STATES||Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kan., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.M., N.Y., N.C., N.D., Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.|
|Abbreviations for TITLES|| - when used before a full name outside direct quotations you can abbreviate: Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep., Rev., Sen., and certain military types. |
- Spell out all EXCEPT Dr. when used before a name in direct quotations.
|Abbreviations for U.N./U.S.||- spell out United Nations and United States when used as nouns. Use U.N. and U.S. only as adjectives.|
|ADDRESSES||always use figures for an address number: 9 Morningside Circle|
|Address for DIRECTIONS|| abbrevitate compass points used to indicate directionale nds of a street or quadrants of a city in a numbered address: 52 W. 43rd St., 600 K St. |
-do not abbrev if the address number is omited: East 42nd Street
|Address for STREETS||-spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names; |
- use figures with two letters for 10th and above
- 7 Fifth Ave., 100 21st St.
- Use abbreviatoins Ave., Blvd. and St. only with a numbered address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. spell out and capitalize Avenue, Boulvard and Street when part of a formal street name without a number: Pennsylvania Avenue.
|Capitalization for ACADAMEIC DEPARTMENTS||- us lowercase when mentioning an academic department except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives: the department of history, the history department, the department of English, the English department.|
|Capitalization for AWARDS/EVENTS/HOLIDAYS/WARS|| -capitalize awards (Medal of Honor, Nobel Prize)|
- historic events (Camp David Peace Treaty)
-periods (the Great Depression, Prohibition)
-holidays (Christmas Eve, Mother's Day)
-wars (the Civil War, Gulf War)
|Capitalization for BIBLE/GOD|| -capitalize Bible (no quotation marks) to refer to the Old and New testaments and God to refer to any monotheistic deity. |
-lowercase prounouns referring to the deity (he, his, thee).
|Capitalization for BRAND NAMES|| -captilalize brand names: Buick, Ford, Mustang. |
- lowercase generic terms: a car.
-Use brand names only if they are essential to a story.
|Capitalization for BUILDINGS/ROOMS||-capitalize the proper names of buildings, including the two word building if it is an integral part of the proper name: the Empire State Building.|
-Also capitlaize the names of specially designated rooms: Blue Room, Oval Office.
-Use figures for the rooms and capitlze room when used with a figure: Room 2, Room 211.
|Capitalization for CAPITOL||capitalize U.S. Capitol and the Capitol when referring to the building in Washington, D.C. or to the capitol of a specific state.|
|capitalization for CONGRESS|| -capitalize U.S. Congress and Congress when referring to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. |
-Lowercase congressional unless it is part of a proper name: congressional salaries, the Congressional Record.
|Capitalization for CONSTITUTION||- capitalize referneces to the U.S. Constitution, with or without the U.S. modifier. |
-lowercase constitutional in all uses.
-Also capitalize Bill of Rights, First Amendment (all all other amendments to the Constitution)
-When reffering to the constitutions of states or other countries, capitalize only when used with the name of the state or country: French Constitution, Montana Constitution
|Capitalization for DIRECTIONS/REGIONS||- lowercase north, south, northeast, etc when they indicate a compass direction|
-capitalize when they designate georgraphical regions, including widely know sections of cities: the Atlantic Coast states, Deep South, Sun Belt, Midwest. He drove west. The cold front is moving east. The North was victorious. She has a Southern accent. He grew up on the East Side of New York.
|DO NOT CAPITALIZE|| - administration|
-seasons of the year (summer, fall, spring)
-years in school (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior)
-lowercase common noun elements of all names in plural uses: the Democratic and Republican parties, Main and State streets, lake Erie and Ontario.
|Capitalization for EARTH||-generally lowercase earth; capitalize when used as the proper name of the planet.|
|Capitalization for GOVERNMENT||-capitalize city, country, state and federal when part of a formal name: Dade County, Federal Trade Commission.|
-also capitalize city council, country commission, city hall, police department, legislature, assembly and all other names for governmental agencies when part of a proper name: Boston City Council, Los Angeles Police Department.
-Retain capitalization if the reference is to a specific city council, legislature, police department, etc but the context does not require the specific name: The City Council met last night. Generally, lowercase elsewhere: the council approved the ordinance.
-U.S. Defense Department
|Capitalization for HIGHWAYS|| - U.S. Highway 1, U.S. Route 1, U.S. 1, Illinois 34.|
- on second reference only for Interstate: 1-495.
-when a letter is appended to a number, capitalize it but do use a hyphen: Route 1A
|Capitalization for MILITARY||-capitalize names of the U.S. armed forces: the U.S. Army, the Navy, Marine regulations. Use lowercase for the forces of other nations: the French army.|
|Capitalization for NATIONALITIES/RACE:|| -capitalize the proper names of nationalities, races, tribes, etc.: Arab, Caucasian, Eskimo.|
-however, lowercase black,white, mulatto.
-Do not use the word colored.
|Capitalization for PLURALS|| -To form the plural of a number, add s (no apostrophe): 1920s. |
-To form the plural of a single letter add 's.
-To form the plural of multiple letters, add only s.
|Capitalization for POLITICAL PARTIES|| - capitalize both the name of a political party and the word party: the Democratic Party|
-also capitalize Communist, Conservative, Republican, Socialist
|Capitalization for PROPER NOUNS|| -Mary, Boston, the Columbia River. |
-lowercase common nouns when they stand in subsquent reference: the party, the river, the city.
|Capitalization for SATAN||capitalize Satan but lowercase devil and satanic.|
|Capitalization for TITLES||-capitalize formal titles when used immeditately before a name: Mayor, Chariman, former President Bill. |
-lowercase formal titles used after a name, alone or in constrcutions that set them off from a name by commas.
-Use lowercase at all times for terms that are job despcriptions rather than formal titels:astronaunt John Clenn, movie star Tom Hanks, peanut farmer Jimmy Carter.
-do not capitalize of abbreviate professor when uesd before a name.
|NUMERALS||-spell out whole numbers below 10|
-use figures for 10 and above.
-exceptions: figures are used for all ages, betting odds, dates, dimensions, percentages, speeds, times, and weights.
-spell out a number at the beginning of a senetence, except for a calendar year. Avoid beginning a sentence with a large number or a calendar year.
|AGES|| - use figures for all ages|
-hyphenate ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as a substitutes for a noun: a-5-year-old-boy, the 5-year-old, but the boy is 5 years old. The boy,7, has a sister, 10. The woman is in her 30s (no apostrophe).
|CENTS|| -spell out the word cents and lowercase, using numerals for amounts less then a dollar: 5 cents, 12 cents. |
-Use the $ sign and decimal sytem for larger amounts: $1.01
|DECADES/CENTURIES|| -use arabic figures to indicate decades of history.|
-use an apostrophe to indicate numbers that are left out
-show the plural by adding the letter s: the 1890s, the '90s, the Gay '90s, the mid-1930s. Lowercase century and spell out numebrs less than 10: the first century, the 21st century.
-use figures and $ sign in all except casual references or amounts withou ta figure: The book cost $4. Dollars are flowing overseas.
-for amounts of more than $1 million, use the $ sign and umerals up to two decimal places: He is worth $4.35 million. He proposed a $300 million budget.
|ELECTION RETURNS/VOTE TABULATIONS||- for electrion returns, use the word to (not a hyphen) in separating different totals listed together: Al Gore won the popular vote from George Bush 50,996,115 to 50,432,333. |
-for results that involve few than 1,000 votes on each side, use hyphen: Bush defeated Gore in the electoral vote 271-255.
-Spell out numbers below 10 in other phrases related to voting: the five-vote majority.
|FRACTIONS|| -spell out amounts less than one, using hyphens between the wrods: two-thirds, four-fifths, seven-sixteenths. |
-for percise amounts larger than one, convert to decimals whever practical: 1.25, 3.5
|MEASUREMENT/DIMENSIONS|| -use figures and spell out inches, feet, yards, etc. |
-hyphenate adjectival forms before nouns: He is 5 feet 6 inches tall or the 5-foot-6-inch man.
-the rug is 9 feet by 12 feet or the 9-by-12 foot rug.
|MILLION/BILLION|| -do not go beyond two decimals: 7.51 million people. $2.56 billion. |
-decimals are preferred when practical: 1.5 million, not 1.1/2 million.
-do NOT drop the word million or billion in the first figure of a rnage. He is worth from $2 million to $4 million...not $2 to $4 billion.
|NUMBER||-use No. as the abbrev for number in conjunction with a ifgure to indicate position ranking: No.1 woman No.3 choice.|
|ODDS|| -use figures and hyphen for betting odds: The odds were 5-4. |
-he won despite 3-2 odds agaisnt him, the odds were 3-to-2.
-spell out the numbers when a setence starts with odds: Three-to-two were the odds on success.
|PERCENTAGES|| -Use figures: 1 percent, 2.56 percent. |
-for amounts less than 1 percent, percede the decimal point wiht a zero: The cost of living rose 0.6 percent. THe word percent should be spelled out never use the % symbol.
|RATIOS||- use figures and a hyphen for ratios: the ratio was 2-to-1, a ratio of 2-to-1, 2-1 ratio.|
|SCORES|| -use figures for all scores, placing a hyphen between the totals of the winning and losing teams: The Reds defeated the Red Sox 4-1. The Giants scored a 12-6 victory over the Cardinals. |
-The golfer had a 5 on the last hole but finished with a 2-under-par score.
|TEMPERATURES|| -use figures for all temperatures except zero and spell out degrees.|
-the high Wednesday was 5 degrees.
-use a words, not a minus sign, to indicate temperatures below zero: minus 10 degrees.
|WEIGHTS|| - use figures for all weights|
- the police seize 2 pounds of marijuana and 13 ounces of cocaine.
|Commas for AGE||an individuals age is set off by commas: Phil Taylor, 11, is here.|
|Commas for CITY/STATE||place a commas between the city and the state name, and another commas after the state name, nunless the state name ends a sentence: He was traveling from Nashville, Tenn., to Alburquerque, N.M|
|Commas for HOMETOWN||-use a comma to set off an individual's hometown when it is palced in apposition to a name: Mary Richards, Minneapolis, and Maude Findlay, N.Y., were there. |
-however, the use of the word of wihtout a comma between the individuals name and the city name is generally perferable: Mary Richards of Minneapolis and Maude Findlay of Tuckahoe, N.Y., were there.
|Commas for QUOTATIONS||- use a comma to introduce a complete, one sentence quotation within a paragraph: Wallace said, "She Spent six months in Argentina." Do not use a comma at the start of an indirect or partial questions: The water was "cold as ice" before the sun came out, the lifeguard said. When the attribution follow the quotation, change the period at the end the quotation to a comma: "I will veto the bill," the governor said.|
|Commas for SERIES||- use commas to seperate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series: The flag is red, white and blue. He would nominate Tom, Dick or Harry.|
|Colons for LISTS||The most frequent use of a colon is at the end of a sentence to introduce lists, tabulations, texts, etc.: There were three considerations: expense, time, and feasibility.|
|Colons for QUOTATIONS||use a colon to introduce direct quotations longer than one sentence within a paragraph and to end all paragraphs that introduce a paragraph quoted material.|
|SEMICOLON|| -use semicolons to separate elements of a series when individual segments contian material that also must be set off my commas: He leaves three daugthers, Jane Smith of Wichita, Kan., Mary Smith of Denver and Susan Kigsbury of Boston; a son, John Smith of Chicago.|
(note that semicolon is used before the final and in such a series.)
|PREFERRED SPELLINGS|| -adviser|
- afterward (not afterwards)
- all right (never alright)
-ax (not axe)
- baby-sot, baby-sitting, baby sitter
-backward (not backwards)
- damage (for descruction); damages (for a court award)
-employee (not employe)
- forward (not forwards)
- gray (not grey)
- likable (not likeable)
-percent (one word, spelled out)
- teen, teenager (n.), tennage (adj.) (do no use teenaged).
-Vice president (no hyphen)
|Time HOURS AND MINUTES||- use figures except for noon and midnight.|
-do not put a 12 in front of them.
- use a colon to separate hours from minutes: 11:15 a.m., 1:45 p.m.,
- avoid redundancies as 10 a.m. this morning or 10 pm monday night. Use 10 am today or 10 p.m. Monday. the hour is placed before the day; a.m. and p.m. are lowercase with periods.
|Time DAYS||- use the words today, this morning, tonight, etc in direct quotes in stories intended for publication in afternoon newspapers on the day in questions, and in phrases that do not refer to a specific day: Customs today are differnet from those of a century ago.|
|Time DAYS/DATES|| -use Monday, Tuesday, etc., for days of the week within seven days before or after the current date. |
- the council will meet Wednesday.
-use the month and a figure for dates beyod the range: The council will meet May 27.
-avoid such redundancies as last Tuesday or next Tuesday.
|Time MONTHS||-capitalize the names of the months in all uses.|
-when a month is used with a specific date, use these abbreviations: Jan, Feb, Aug, Sept
-Jan.2 was the coldest day of the moth.
- do not abbreviate Marh, Aprial, May, June or July.
- His birthday is June 26.
-spell out the names of all months when using alone or with a year alone.
|TITLES||- formal titles that appear directly before a name are capitalized and abbreviated when appropriate: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.|
- if the title comes after a name or is alone, then it should be lowercase and spelled out: The president issused a statement. Pope John Paul II gave his blessing.
-Do not repeat a title the second time you ues a persons name: Sheriff Sam Smith arrested the driver. Smith did not give details.
|Titles for BOY/GIRL|| - the terms boy and girl are applicable until the age of 18.|
- use man, woman, young man or young woman for people 18 or older.
|Titles for COMPOSITIONS||- capitalize the principal words in the titles of books, movies, opears, plays, poems, songs, television programs, lectures, speeches and words of art. |
-put quotation marks around the names of all such works: Tom Clanc wrote "The Hunt for Red October." Do no underline or italicize the titles of any of these works.
|Titles for CONGRESSMAN||- use congressman and congresswoman only in refernces to specific members of the U.S. House of Representatives. |
-use representative if the gender is unknown or when referring to more than one member of the house, and abbreviate it when it used before a name: Rep. John DIngle; Sens. Richard Drubin.
-organizational titles should be capitalized when used before a name. other common legislative titles are city councilman, city councilwoman, assemblyman, delegate, alderman. Capitalize such words used before a name.
|COURTESY TITLES||do not use Miss. Mr. Mrs or Ms. on any reference. Instead, use the first and last names and middle inital of first reference to a person. A woman's or man's marital status should not be mentioned unles sit is clearly pertinent to the story.|
|INITIALS||- in general, use middle initals to help identify specific individuals.|
-middle initials are most helpful in such things as casualty lists and stories naming a person accused of a crime.
- use periods and no space when an individual uses initals for a first name: O.J. Simpson. Do not give a name with a single initial (O. Simpson) unless it is the individuals preference or the first name cannot be learned.
|Titles for MAGAZINES|| - capitalize magazine titles but do not place them in quotes or italics. |
- lowercase magazine if it is not part of the publications formal title: Newsweek magazine.
|Titles for NEWSPAPERS|| -capitalize the in a newspapers name if that is the way the publication prefers to be known: The New York Times. |
-if the state in which the newspaper is published is needed but is not part of the official name, use parentheses: The Huntsville (Ala.) Times. Do not underline or add quote marks.
|Titles for REFERENCE WORKS|| -capitalize, but do not use quotation maks around, the proper names of books that are primarily catalogs of reference material: The Reader's Guide.|
-these rules also apply to almanacs (the Farmers Almanac), directories (the Columbus City Directory), dictionaries (Webster's New World DIctionary)
|Titles for REVEREND||when using hte title Rev. before a name, precede it with the word the: the Rev. Frankiln Graham|
|Words for INJURIES||injuries are suffered, not sustained or received.|
|Words for INNOCENT/NOT GUILTY||use innocent rahter than not guilty in describing a jury's verdict to guard agaisnt the word not being dropped inadvertently.|
|Words for MASS||It is celebrated, not said. always capitalize when referring to the ceremoney, but lowercase any preceding adjectives: high mass, low Mass, requiem Mass.|
|Words for NOUNS/VERBS|| -nouns that denote a unit take singular verbs and pronouns: class, committee, family, group, herd, jury, team. The committee is meeting to set its agenda. |
-when used in the sense of two people, word couple takes plural verbs and pronouns: The couple were married Saturday.
|Words for PERSON/PEOPLE||use person when speaking of an individual. the word people is preferred in all plural uses. Some rich people pay little in taxes. There were 17 people in the room.|
|Words for RAISED/REARED||only humans may be reared. any living thing, including humans, may be raised.|
|Words for REALTOR||the term real estate agent is preferred. use Realtor only if the individual is a member of the National Association of Realtors.|