Diversity Style Guides for Journalists

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Should news outlets capitalize the word Black? Is it preferable to refer to someone as a person with autism, or as an autistic person? Should you explain the use of unconventional personal pronouns in stories? When do you use the term Indigenous and when do you use the term Aboriginal? What’s wrong with saying that someone “suffers from” a certain condition? The following diversity style guides and other resources can help journalists critically examine their stories for problematic issues:

  • The Conscious Style Guide provides resources, articles, and newsletters on topics like age, gender, race, appearance, and religion.
  • The Native American Journalists Association maintains numerous reporting guides on specific topics relevant to reporting on Indigenous communities.
  • The National Center on Disability and Journalism has a page of resources for writers and editors, including their Disability Language Style Guide.
  • NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists provides a stylebook supplement offering resources on covering LGBTQ issues; it’s intended to complement publications’ stylebooks.
  • The Trans Journalists Association has published a style guide to help journalists improve trans coverage.
  • The Asian American Journalists Association has published a guide to covering Asian America.
  • The National Association of Black Journalists has a style guide on terms and language related to Black American history, culture, and current issues.
  • Gender Spectrum, a nonprofit dedicated to creating gender sensitivity and inclusive environments for children and teens, provides information about understanding gender on their website.
  • The Diversity Style Guide from San Francisco State University’s journalism department includes terms and phrases related to topics like age, drugs and alcohol, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and race and ethnicity.
  • The Radical Copy Editor’s Style Guide for Writing about Transgender People is a usage guide for bias-free, respectful, and inclusive language in reference to transgender people.
  • The University of British Columbia offers language guidelines on writing about Indigenous peoples.
  • The International Longevity Center has a style guide for members of the media writing about aging.
  • The Global Press Style Guide offers rules for referring to the people of the more than two dozen developing countries where the Global Press Journal reporters work.

(This resource list was originally published by The Open Notebook on January 21, 2020 in “Gut Check: Working with a Sensitivity Reader,” by Jane C. Hu. It was most recently updated in June 2020. Have we missed a valuable resource? Please let us know.)