A Newspaper style guide for the blog age.

Simon Heffer has updated the style guide for the Daily Telegraph including:

“Increasingly, as the distinction between publishing the newspaper and producing the website fades, we will stop using such words as ‘yesterday’ and ‘today’ in copy except when necessary to avoid confusion or to promote exclusive stories.”

“On the internet the priority for any headline is to inform search engines (and therefore readers) what the article is about. Its language should therefore be concrete, not abstract, and contain full names.”

Quite right.  Please add “blog posts should make frequent reference to the evolution of the web and recently launched Apple devices to encourage people to comment and link”  and also “please allow people to trackback without having to login in to your stupid site”.

3 comments

  1. Mark says:

    I definitely agree with the headline bit. I’m forever having to re-read headlines in my feed reader because they don’t make sense the first time as they’ve been cut so short.

    However I’m not sure that the distinction between publishing for print and publishing for the Web has to fade: they’re two different media for two different audiences.

    People generally take time over a newspaper, casually reading it on the train or sitting at home on a Sunday (complete with pipe and slippers). People don’t give over the same amount of time when reading online because it’s just not as comfortable, so brevity is the key when it comes to online copy.

    I think many of the same journalistic rules still apply, but there does need to be a clear distinction between print and Web copy, I think.

  2. Nick Booth says:

    Hi Mark,

    They are different media, unless you’re a media company who does not want to pay to reversion material for print and web. I think increasingly writers will write for the web – and there material will appear in various print places.

    Such elements of style guides may well be aimed very much at people who thought they would spend their whole career finishing a piece at 7pm to be read at 7am.

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