Style Guides

Style guides are a handy resource for any journalist. Many newsrooms subscribe to the Associated Press Stylebook or similar, which may be supplemented by a shorter “house style” document. Larger newsrooms may develop their own guide in-house. All evolve along with society and modern language.

Expert organizations often publish their own resources that help journalists cover topics that are sensitive, technical and/or overlooked by most style books. These resources can be helpful for newsrooms to update their current style guides and for individual journalists when their house style falls short. Remember that these are only suggested approaches. It may be good to evaluate multiple perspectives. You should always question terms and try to understand why something is or isn’t appropriate. Pay attention to the source, as some are from independent journalist organizations, some are academic, and others may have a PR interest (ex: government or advocacy groups).

If you can’t find a guide for a specific topic, check the “general/comprehensive” section. If you know of a good one we’re missing, email pressrights [a] We’d like to identify more independent options for Firearms, Hate and Political Extremism, Information Security, and Misinformation.


Asian American Communities

  • Guidances & Guides by the Asian American Journalists Association (NOTE: This is a series of topical posts. The full Guide to Covering Asian Pacific America, also known as the AAJA Handbook, is under a full review as of 12/2021 and a new edition is forthcoming.)

Black Communities



Guns, Mass Shootings and Violence

NOTE: Journalists unfamiliar with firearms and other weapons are prone to misusing technical terminology that has very precise meanings, sometimes with serious legal implications. A bullet is NOT a round, a magazine is NOT a clip, a revolver is NOT a pistol, etc. If unfamiliar, double check all terms.

Hispanic and Latino/Latinx Communities


NOTE: Guide currently in development with the Los Angeles Press Club and several partners.

Information Security (a.k.a. InfoSec, Cybersecurity)

LGBTQIA+ Communities
(gender issues including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, transgender, queer, etc.)

Medicine (general)

Mental Health, Drugs and Suicide

NOTE: It’s a good practice to include an editor’s note in stories about suicide that directs people to a 24/7 suicide hotline.

Military and Veterans

NOTE: Veterans (particularly Marines) frequently object to terms like “ex-Marine” and occasionally “former Marine,” though it’s broadly understood the latter means no disrespect.

Native American


Trauma and Disasters

NOTE: Given the intense nature of some topics, journalists may find themselves dealing with trauma. Vicarious trauma is real trauma. If you need help, a good place to start is the Journalist Trauma Support Network from the Dart Center.

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