Style Guides – Editorial Guidelines

Some students ask me about style guides, sometimes called editorial guidelines.

The truth is today, few publications give out style guides.  I believe they should NOT give them out to anyone.  Why?  Because as a journalism tutor I believe my students should be reading and STUDYING their target publications and in this way learning and understanding the style of their target publications.

Editorial guidelines are a set of instructions to staff journalists and freelancers about how to write and present a story for a publication, so your article fits in with its requirements.  But here’s the rub: most publications don’t have them because the editor’s attitude is: “If you want to write for us, you must have read our publication.  If you’ve read our publication, you should have read more than one edition, and you should have studied closely its contents and style.  If you understand our contents and style, then write your bloody article, and don’t waste our time asking dopey questions.  If your article is right for this publication, we’ll publish it and pay for it.  If it’s more rubbish coming through the door, we’ll toss it in the bin.”

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