This is the Leeds Beckett University Journalism Stylebook.

A stylebook exists to stop arguments.

Where there are two or more correct spellings, forms of punctuation or whatever, the stylebook of a magazine or newspaper or website tells the journalists which to use.

The point is to be consistent.

It allows your readers to concentrate on what is being said without the distraction of unnecessary variations.

For example: take the Islamist political Party pronounced Ḥizbu ‘llāh. How do you spell it?

There are at least five different spellings used across the media:

  • hezbollah (The Guardian)
  • hesbollah (The Daily Express)
  • hizbullah (The Irish Times)
  • hizbollah (Financial Times)
  • hisbollah (Detusch Welle)

This stylebook is aimed at student journalists writing for a variety of print and online media.

It is therefore more basic – but also more flexible – than others.

Although most of the rules apply across the trade, in several places a rule varies depending on whether, for instance, you are writing for a tabloid or a broadsheet newspaper, a consumer or a specialist business magazine.

A few of the rules in this stylebook are in fact the ordinary rules of English.

Under “Apostrophes”, for example, the correct way to punctuate its/it’s is given.

These kinds of entry have been kept to a minimum and, in the main, address only the most common areas of uncertainty.

For wider grammatical enquires, please refer to Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage, a bible of the language.

Further reading

Allen, R (ed) (2008). Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Oxford University Press: Oxford
Bryson, B (2009). Troublesome words. London: Penguin.
Evans, H (2000). Essential English for Journalists, Editors and Writers. 2nd ed. London: Pimlico
Fogg, C (ed) (2009). Whittaker’s Annual Almanack 2010. 16th ed. London: A & C Black
Hicks, W (1998). English for Journalists, revised second edition. London: Routledge
Kidd, C (ed) (2006). Debretts Correct Form. London: Debrett’s.
Orwell, G.. (1980). Politics and the English Language. In: Orwell, S. The collected essays, journalism and letters of George Orwell / Vol.4, In front of your nose, 1945-London: Pen.