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The style guide deals with the ways Wikinews content should be presented to readers. See the Content guide for information on the reporting process. See Editing help for information on the wiki editing syntax.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to English spelling, grammar, and punctuation; it is assumed that the majority of contributors are well-versed in writing for an educated native-speaking audience. A number of the external guides listed in this document are excellent references when seeking to improve your command of the English language.


The vast majority of news sources rely upon a manual of style, a collection of agreed-upon guidelines for writing style. A style guide helps writers and editors by providing a standardised way of writing. Style guides help ensure consistency in such things as headlines, abbreviations, numbers, punctuation and courtesy titles. Style guides therefore are most helpful.

A news style is developed with emphasis on the efficient and accurate imparting of information about events; following our news style suggestions should have the additional benefit of helping you write effectively if you are a newcomer to writing news.

The Wikinews style guide is aimed at producing understandable and informative articles readily understood by the majority of readers. Articles that do not adhere to the style guide are unlikely to be published.


The Wikinews style guide, like all style guides at working news organisations, is a work in progress and subject to change as new issues emerge and the language of news coverage evolves. Changes to the guide are not applied retroactively.


Elements of punctuation and grammar are not addressed by exactly the same terms universally. There is no intention to be regionalist in this manual; however, in the interests of causing the least confusion, the following terms are used for clarity:

  • Period: This American term is used to describe full-stops (the British/International term).

Basic news writing[redakto]

Six tips on better writing[redakto]

Stampa:QuoteRight In his 1946 essay Politics and the English Language, author George Orwell devised six easy tips to make anyone a better writer:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything barbarous.


When naming your article, keep the following points in mind. (Most of them apply also to the body of the article, and are covered in greater detail further down this page.)

  • Make them unique and specific — Due to the way the software of Wikinews works, each headline must be unique; choose specific details which describe this unique news event.
  • Make them short — Headlines are as short as possible.
  • Use verbs — A headline is at its essence a sentence without ending punctuation, and sentences have verbs.
  • Use downstyle capitalisation — Downstyle capitalisation is the preferred style. Only the initial word and proper nouns are capitalized. In upstyle headlines, all nouns and most other words with more than four letters are capitalized.
Downstyle: "Powell to lead U.S. delegation to Asian tsunami region"
Upstyle: "Powell to Lead U.S. Delegation to Asian Tsunami Region".
  • Tell the most important and unique thing — Article titles should consist of a descriptive and enduring headline. As a series of stories on a topic develop, each headline should convey the most important and unique thing about the story at that time.
For example, "Los Angeles bank robbed" is an unenduring headline because there will likely be another bank robbery in Los Angeles at some point. Instead, find the unique angle about the story you are writing and mention that: "Thieves commit largest bank robbery in Los Angeles history", or "Trio robs Los Angeles bank, escapes on motorcycles", or even "Trio commits largest bank robbery in Los Angeles history, flees on motorcycles".
  • Use present tense — Headlines (article titles) should be written with verbs in present tense.
  • Use active voice — News is about events, and generally you should center on the doers, and what they are doing, in your sentence structure. Active voice is "Leader goes to shops" whereas passive voice, to be avoided, would be "Shops visited by leader".
A quick check is try to word your sentences to avoid verbs ending in 'ing' and look for 'be verbs', e.g. 'are going to' can easily be converted to 'will' or simply 'to'. Rather than "More criminals are going to face execution in 2005", if we put "More criminals to face execution in 2005" or "More criminals face execution in 2005" a better sense of immediacy is conveyed.
  • Try to attribute any action to someone — "Insurgents shoot U.S. troops in North Baghdad" is better than "U.S. troops shot in North Baghdad".
  • Avoid jargon and meaningless acronyms — Avoid uncommon technical terms, and when referring to a country or organization, use its full name rather than acronym, unless the acronym is more common than the full name (ex: NASA, CIA, AIDS) or length is prohibitive.
  • Use comma, not 'and' or '&' — Often the word 'and' may be substituted with a comma ','. Example: "Powell and Annan set international goals for aid" could be written: "Powell, Annan set international goals for aid"

Using the Date and Dateline templates[redakto]

Articles must include at least the date as the first line of the article. This is most easily accomplished using the date template (if you were not present at the event you are reporting upon), so the first line of each article should include this code:

{{date|Month DD, YYYY}}

The template will add the article to the appropriate date category, and put the date on the first line in bold text. The date given on an article is should be of the day on which the article was published. The date on which the event happened is not the story's date.

In journalism, the location in the dateline may either refer to the location of where the article was filed from or where the event happened even if the writer was not physically present. Currently, the dateline template is only used when a Wikinewsie is actually present to "file" the story (generally as original reporting). The template generates text in the following manner:

{{dateline|date=January 1, 2005|location=Mumbai, India}} Massive floods soaked ...

which appears like this in an article:

Stampa:Dateline Massive floods soaked...

Wikinews does not sign articles as by an author. Articles may be edited by anyone, and are usually contributed to by more than one person, so a traditional byline is inappropriate.

The first paragraph[redakto]

The first paragraph (known as the intro or lede) should summarize the article in around 50-80 words, using one to three sentences.

Try to answer the questions of who, what, where, when, why and how. Try to fit most of these into the first paragraph. This is known as the "five W's (and an H)", and is the first thing to learn about News writing.

  • Don't feel stifled by this suggestion. Those experienced in reporting learn to determine which of those six questions are the most relevant to the story (and, more importantly, the reader).
  • If you don't have the answer to one or two of them, skip it — but explain why you don't know later in your story.
  • Don't make your first paragraph a boring list of facts — it's the first thing the reader sees, so make it interesting.

Every fact or issue mentioned in the first paragraph should be later backed up or expanded in the main body of the article. This goes hand-in-hand with the very brief mention of facts in the first paragraph — you needn't explain everything fully in the intro, but what is mentioned should be fully explained before the reader finishes reading the article.

Do not feel compelled to finish the story completely yourself, but do try to avoid misleading or mystifying the reader. We can't help you write the story if we can't understand it.

Article length[redakto]

Most complete articles should have at least three paragraphs. Don't post articles containing only a link to a story on an external news site and no story text. Such pages are quickly deleted.

One way to publish short briefs that you are not planning to expand further is in Wikinews Shorts.

If there is significant breaking news whose article is likely to be expanded, do go ahead and write a short (but useful!) summary as breaking news, and tag it with {{breaking review}}. You can add an {{expand}}-tag. This will invite other editors to work on the article.

Writing tone and structure[redakto]

Write to be easily understood, to make reading easier.

Beyond the first paragraph, try to stick to the following tips:

  • Use brief paragraphs - between 30 and 80 words is considered acceptable in newspaper writing
    • Each paragraph should be only one or two sentences (three if you use very short sentences)
    • Each paragraph covers a single topic only
  • concentrate on the new facts and their known or potential consequence - keep to bare minimum all background and plot details (aka exposition)
  • Put the most important and newsworthy facts first, with least important and least immediate facts last - this is opposite to development order in typical narratives, and is termed inverted-pyramid style
  • Use plain English
  • Use punchy, active language to intone a sense of immediacy
  • Be balanced
  • Be clear, concise and unambiguous
  • Promote the human aspects of any story, using quotes etc - this makes the story interesting to a wider range of people

If you find your work is too wordy, try juggling word order, squeezing out unnecessary words. You may be surprised how many you can find! And it gets easier with practice. If not, don't worry, this is Wiki and other users may help you out.

The reason for inverted-pyramid style is twofold: One reason is to help the reader, who is usually in a hurry when reading news. Putting the important and new aspects first helps since they may skip the story after only a couple of paragraphs.

The second reason is to help people who are editing your story later. If more and more is added to the story it may become too long for a single article. In Wiki this is less of a factor, but we still like short punchy stories on Wikinews, not rambling essays.


Every factual claim made needs to be attributed within the story text so the reader knows where it is coming from, except for anything which can be considered common knowledge. It is to be assumed that from the point where a given source is attributed, onwards, all facts mentioned emanate from that source, or are common knowledge, until another attribution is made or the end of a paragraph is reached.

Attribution is in addition to citation of references (see below), and attributions should be readable without interrupting the flow of the text.

Attributions usually happen at the end of a sentence; e.g., "The car was at the top", said Doyle. "It fell over the cliff and burst into flames," according to Miller. Doyle said there had been five people on board.

Verb tense[redakto]

Articles should be written in the past tense or the present perfect. Headlines should be written in the present tense. Timelines also are written in the present tense.

Reporting on future events[redakto]

Since we as writers are not in the business of predicting the future and are not psychic (arguably), it is best to stick to past or present perfect tense - especially since future events may change (or be cancelled). When writing about future or ongoing events, change tense as follows:

  • They will meet next Tuesday - change to: They are scheduled to meet next Tuesday or They said they would meet next Tuesday
  • The event will continue through the end of August - change to The event is scheduled to continue through August or The event is supposed to continue through August.
  • The show debuts in July 2012 or The show will open in July 2012 -- Change to The show's debut is scheduled for July 2012 or something similar.
  • The couple will celebrate their third anniversary next month - change to The couple plan to celebrate their third anniversary next month.

Citing your references[redakto]

Articles may include a variety links and citations. They generally fall into four categories: other Wikinews articles, external links to online sources, printed reference citations, and websites with background or related information. Each category can have its own section, but there should be a distinction at least between links to factual support and links to background websites. Usually the category sections would be Related news, Sources, and External links

Documents used as source material in the story need to be cited. This is to acknowledge prior art, so that information can be evaluated and verified by readers, and just as a general benefit to the reader. A citation should provide the author, date, publication and title of a source for information in the story.

Sources section[redakto]

Sources include online articles and, for original reporting, reporter's notes. Online articles may change, move, or be deleted, unlike References.

Links to online sources should be listed after the optional Related news section, Sources using the wiki markup ==Sources==. Bullet-point each source using a *. Do not leave blank lines between sources - this is for technical reasons relating to how the wiki markup is converted into HTML code. Sources should be listed chronologically, from the most recent to the oldest.

Linking sources[redakto]

Use links to online sources, and include important relevant information about the source.

The important information when citing a source includes the author of the article (a person or organization), the title of the source, who it is published by, and when it was published.

There exists template code which may help you in formatting the information, {{source | url=Web site address | title=Article title | author=Name of author | pub=Name of Publication or Source | date=Date as Month DD, YYYY}}. Simply copy and paste the template into your story text, and replace the text after the equals sign in each template variable assignment. If you do not know a variable, for example the author's name, include the variable name but leave it blank. (|author= ) Example:

* {{source| url=http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-02/15/content_2579436.htm | title=Second US missile defense test fails | author= | pub=Xinhua | date=February 15, 2005 }}
Would appear as:

Note, that Month, DD, YYYY should always be used for all dates in sources regardless of how the source cites the date. Do not use leading zeroes on dates between one and nine, day of the week or time should never be included.

In addition to {{Source}}, several other citation templates exist. These include {{Source-pr}}, used for press releases, and {{Source-science}}, which is used for journal articles.

Citing syndicated (wire agency) content[redakto]

Many stories are provided by wire news agencies (e.g. the Associated Press (AP), Reuters, All Headline News (AHN), Agence France-Presse (AFP) or United Press International (UPI) that syndicate their content through other media outlets. Although the wire news agency writes the story, the carrying news media exercises editorial control in deciding whether or not to publish a story. Therefore, a report written by the Associated Press that appears in The Guardian should be credited as follows: the Associated Press as the author, and the Guardian as publisher. Where an AP author is cited this should be included. Where the abbreviation for the agency does not lead directly to a Wikipedia page (Eg w:AFP is a disambiguation page) the full name of the agency should be used (Agence France-Presse). For the BBC online news site, the link w:BBC News Online should be used.

Whenever possible, choose the wire agency's site if the agency publishes its own stories. If this is not possible, try to pick a site that you think will have the story available online for the longest time, if you have more than one choice.

Articles from news sites which are initially from a wire service should have the wire service added to the author's name, or just the wire service if no author is given. For example, "author=Anne Gearan, AP".

Numbered annotations[redakto]

Academic-style numbered annotations are also acceptable, but strongly discouraged. These may be created using wiki markup [URL], where the web site URL is copy-and-pasted, between two square-brackets. This should follow a space after the main text, and the sentence's period follows the citation, eg

The policy itself has no time limit, and is reviewed on "a weekly basis" [1].

Occasionally both the publication is mentioned and a specific link is provided.

...the Office of Fake Statistics estimates the cost of living has risen 3.75% in the past year [2].

From a point of view of retaining readers' attention on the Wikinews site, sources in a separate section are preferred. Links in this manner to any news publication are not accepted; such will lead to an article automatically failing peer review.

References section[redakto]

References sections are strongly discouraged as they are encyclopedic in nature.

You should still cite the source fully, even if you cannot give a URL.

  • Books should be cited with Author, Title, Publisher, copyright or publication year, and ISBN if known.
  • Articles in periodicals should be cited with Author, Title of article, Name of the periodical, the year, volume and issue number, and the page number(s) of the article. Preference should be given to listing any weekly or monthly publication in the sources section.

An example:

  • Tony Stubblebine "Regular Expression Pocket Reference" O'Reilly and Associates, © 2003 ISBN 0-596-00415-X
  • Elizabeth M. Saewyc "Nursing Theories of Caring: A paradigm for adolescent nursing practice" Journal of Holistic Nursing 2000, vol. 18 #2, pp 114-128

If there is no online example of the reference you are looking at, a relevant selection of the reference may be quoted in the notes ([[Article name/Notes]]) and a link provided in the references section.

Related news section[redakto]

Events may produce a variety of articles on Wikinews with different angles or covering different aspects of the events. Or, current events may benefit from readers being directed to one or two appropriate articles. In addition, earlier Wikinews articles may serve as sources for the current article.

These should be provided, in a reverse-chronological-order bulleted list, i.e. with the most recent on top. Using the Wikinews template thus:

*{{Wikinews|title=Massive star cluster found in Milky Way|date=March 26, 2005}}

And here it is in use:

Related news

Do not overload the related news section, nor add articles published after the one you are editing. Use infoboxes, and other decorative templates, to offer readers collected article lists they may also be interested in reading.

External links section[redakto]

Sites listed in the external links are not endorsed by Wikinews, and Wikinews is not responsible for them. Wikinews cannot control what is kept on the pages linked to, either, and there is always a risk a linked-to site might place inappropriate or irrelevant material on the page linked to, or redirect browsers to a different inappropriate or irrelevant page. For these reasons, external links should not be included without good reason.

Link to a central, relevant page, not multiple pages on a single website. Use a small number of external links which are representative of various points of view; do not create comprehensive link lists.

Detailed style issues[redakto]


Abbreviations and contractions are handled differently by different dialects of English, and there is no set rule regarding them other than to be consistent throughout the article, and the original contributor's style choice is preferred. Acronyms and abbreviations should always be explained on or prior to first usage. For example, if a story relies on several points from the Associated Press then the first usage would be "Associated Press (AP)" and subsequent to that the abbreviation "AP" could be used.


Spelling is an issue which often becomes contentious since there are multiple contradictory standards available, for example, British English, Australian English and American English. On Wikinews there is no specific policy other than to use a consistent spelling pattern throughout an article. Follow the spelling patterns of the subject of the article or that of the first author of the article to avoid issues.

Wikipedia has a list of spelling differences between American and British English which may be helpful.


Generally, small whole numbers - 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 - are spelled out in long form: zero, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten.

Where numbers are in the "teens" it is generally preferred that the number be spelled out, but above that actual digits are the norm. Where you start moving into the very large territory and are citing numbers such as 10,000,000 you should use the more verbal form of "ten million".

Common sense should be applied here along with consideration that our material is in print. Where you can use words as opposed to numbers you should, but not in cases where you would be writing "one hundred and forty-two" over 142.

The preference for enunciated numbers is intended to apply to round figures, say "it's over nine thousand" in preference to "it's over 9,000". Use of words takes away any ambiguity and is more readable.

Many 'classic' guides to English cite a rule that any number at the start of a sentence should be spelled out; Wikinews does not apply this rigourously, but it should guide your decision-making.

Sequential numbers[redakto]

Numbers indicating sequence follow the primary guideline for other numbers. Spell out first through tenth, but use numerals beginning at 11th and continuing through 23rd to 251st and beyond. Again apply common sense for large round numbers such as 1,000th being written as thousandth.

Note: See how twenty-third is written "23rd" – not as "23d."

Decimal fractions[redakto]

Either a comma or a point is acceptable, e.g. 1,5 is the same as 1.5; however, in English the latter is the more common and readily understandable format. Exercise caution in choice of format to avoid 1.509 being mistaken for one thousand five hundred and nine.

Large numbers[redakto]

The decimal can be used to spell out large fractional numbers such as one and one-half million to be "1.5 million" instead of "1,500,000" or "1 500 000". In UK and United States commas are used as thousand separators and points are used as decimal separators. In other regions (e.g. South Africa) a space is used as a thousands separator and the comma is used as the decimal separator. Either is appropriate, but use first the style used in the region written about, second the style of the original author. Avoid use of the Indian numbering system words lakh and crore; these are ambiguous and not understandable to a universal audience.

Currency codes[redakto]

It is best to avoid regional lingo or specialized monetary or financial jargon that is not in common, everyday use among the international readers of Wikinews, such as "bucks", "kiwi" or "quid". Currency codes as listed in the ISO 4217 standard, are unique 3-letter codes that identify all internationally known currencies. While technically accurate, they may not be readily identifiable by most readers. For this reason, it may be best to spell out the name of the currency rather than relying upon the ISO currency code. This allows maximum understanding for the maximum number of readers. For example, almost everyone will understand what "1,000 Iraqi dinars" means as opposed to the ISO equivalent, "IQD 1,000." Either way, it is a good idea to wiki-link to the currency in question, to allow the reader quick access to information about the currency. Using the previous example, one could use "1,000 [[w:Iraqi dinar|Iraqi dinar]]" to yield "1,000 Iraqi dinar" or "[[w:Iraqi dinar|IQD]]1,000" to yield "IQD1,000."

Currency symbols[redakto]

There are a few currency symbols that are understood by most English-readers.

  • $ - dollar
  • £ - pound
  • - euro
  • ¥ - yen

However, they are not always unique identifiers for a particular currency. Also, there are many other less well-known currency signs. To aid the reader, all monetary denominations not listed above should be spelled out ("130.50 Swedish krona") or prefixed with a currency code ("SEK130.50") instead of using a symbol.

For the euro and the yen, you may freely use the symbol, instead of using a code. But for the $ (dollar) and £ (pound), further clarification may be necessary. Please read below.

$ - Use of the dollar symbol[redakto]

For dollars, only the "$" is used. Please do not use the cent symbol (¢).

One dollar and twenty-five cents should be written as: "$1.25"
Twenty-five cents should be written as: "$0.25" and not "25¢"

Since the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries all use dollars, it is important to label the type of dollar referenced. Pay particular attention to this because many newswires may report amounts in United States dollars, even if the local currency is different.

Sample dollar notation is as follows:

  • Australia "A$1.25" or "AUD1.25"
  • Canada "C$1.25" or "CAD1.25"
  • New Zealand "NZ$1.25" or "NZD1.25"
  • United States "US$1.25" or "USD1.25"
£ - Use of the pound symbol[redakto]

There are a number of countries whose currency is the pound. Among those, only the pound sterling (GBP), the currency of the United Kingdom and Crown dependencies, is consistently associated with pound sign (£). Occasionally, it is used to refer to the Egyptian pound, but here LE or EGP are more common. Therefore, amounts in pound sterling, can be referred to using only the "£" symbol.

If you cannot find this symbol on your keyboard, you may either use the HTML code: £ or the words "pound" or "pounds" instead of the symbol. However, you should be able to find the character in the character insert box below the edit box.

One pound, twenty-five is written as: £1.25 or GBP1.25
Twenty-five pence is written as: £0.25 or GBP0.25, do not use the notation "p"

Therefore, there is no need to further distinguish the pound sterling (GBP) from other forms of currency. It is assumed that when "pound" or the pound sign (£) are used, the amounts are in GBP unless otherwise noted. Keep in mind that "₤" is considered an obsolete version of "£".

€ - Use of the euro symbol[redakto]

The euro is the common currency for a number of European countries. To denote euro, only the euro sign (€), EUR, or the word "euro" is needed. Do not use the cent symbol. If you cannot find the euro symbol on your keyboard, you may either use the HTML code: € or the word "euro" after the number figure instead of the symbol. You should also be able to find "€" in the character insert box below the edit box. Note, the plural of "euro" is officially "euro"; while the pluralization "euros" is commonly found, it is inaccurate.

Two euro and twenty-five cent is written as: 2.25 or EUR2.25
Twenty-five euro cent is written as: 0.25 or EUR0.25; avoid reference to euro cent.

Date and time[redakto]

When referencing when something happened or when something is scheduled to happen, use the following formats:


If something happened or is happening on the day you are writing your article, state it is happening today. This gives the story immediacy. If it happened the day before, say yesterday. If something will happen the next day, say tomorrow. For example:

  • Tropical Storm Gonu headed toward Iran today, after lashing Oman yesterday with high winds and torrential rains. The storm is expected to continue losing strength by tomorrow.

Beyond yesterday, today and tomorrow, state the name of the day of the week, if it's within seven days. Beyond seven days, state the actual date. For example, if you're writing a story that is filed on a Friday (in this case June 8, 2007), it goes like this:

  • Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Kennedy Space Center today, and will orbit the earth tomorrow before arriving at the International Space Station on Sunday. Atlantis is scheduled to return to Kennedy Space Center on June 19.


Wikinews style is to list the month, followed by the day of the month, optionally followed by the year. Single-digit days of the month should not be prefixed by a zero. Thus, for example:

  • korr. 12
  • korrik 12
  • korrik 2024
  • korrik 12, 2024

Do not use "rd", "nd", "st" or "th" in a date. Years, when present, must be separated from the date with a comma unless only month and year is specified. Generally speaking, 'this year' and 'last month' etc are preferable since Wikinews articles are anchored to the date of their publication.

Month abbreviation[redakto]

Months are to be spelled out unless grouped with a specific numerical date:

  • Jan. for January
  • Feb. for February
  • Mar. for March
  • Apr. for April
  • May (no abbreviation)
  • June (no abbreviation)
  • July (no abbreviation)
  • Aug. for August
  • Sept. for September
  • Oct. for October
  • Nov. for November
  • Dec. for December
Month/year constructions[redakto]

No comma is needed in a month-and-year construction. A comma is needed between the date and the year and after the year in a specific date construction.

  • The Santa incident occurred in December 2004 in the newly renovated community building.
  • The Santa incident occurred Dec. 25, 2004, in the newly renovated community building.


Time can be written in either the 24-hour or 12-hour form. To assist readers who may be unfamiliar with your preferred time format, you may wish to include the alternative format in parenthesis: ex: "18:30 (6:30 p.m.)". Although this may seem like extra work for the writer, it is best to remember that Wikinews's stylebook intent is ease of understanding for the reader, not to enforce strict technical regional accuracy.

Use a colon to separate the hours and minutes, except when using UTC when no separator is to be used.

Always clarify the timezone , which can be either the country / city referred to or the timezone name / abbreviation, and its offset to UTC;


  • 1:00 p.m. New York Time (1800 UTC)
  • 13:00 CET (1100 UTC)
  • 13:00 British Summer Time (1200 UTC)
  • 1:00 p.m. or 1 p.m. (13:00) local time (1600 UTC)
  • Or "All times in this Article are Central European Summer Time - UTC + 2 h"

When using the 12-hour format, morning hours before noon and after midnight are designated as "a.m." - both lowercase with periods; hours after noon and before midnight are "p.m." Again, lowercase with periods.

Exception: times of exactly 12 noon are called "noon" and 12 midnight are called "midnight" - neither is referred to as "12:00 a.m." or "12:00 p.m."

Improper time examples

  • 7 o'clock in the evening [should be "19:00" or "7:00 p.m.". "1900" or "7 p.m." are acceptable]
  • 12:00 a.m. [should be "midnight", 0000, or 00:00]
  • 12:00 p.m. [should be "noon", 1200, or 12:00]
  • 5:45 PM [should be 1745, 17:45, or 5:45 p.m.]

Names of people and organizations[redakto]

On the first mention of a person in a story, write the person's organization, title, and full name. Try to include a local link or Wikipedia link to their organization and name. Many politicians have local categories and main namespace redirects, e.g. George W. Bush.

When asked his opinion, American Association of Puppy Lovers President John Doe said puppies were fun and cute.

On subsequent mentions, mention only the person's significant name without it being a wikilink. For western names this is the last name; many Asian countries use the first name for subsequent mentions.

Puppies should be treated with respect and well-groomed, Doe added.

If this person has not been mentioned for a few paragraphs, use a shortened title on the next use to remind the reader.

Thaksin Skinawatra was the founder of Shin Corporation. In December 1994, Thaksin became Thailand's Foreign Minister.

When a person is first mentioned as the source of a quote, a different rule applies.

Here, the order of importance (and order of referral) is as follows: "Quoted text," Full name, Organization (title), said. After that the same rules as above apply. An example:

"Puppies are fun and cute," John Doe, American Association of Puppy Lovers president, said.

On subsequent mentions, mention only the person's last name without it being a wikilink.

Puppies should be treated with respect and well-groomed, Doe added.

If this person has not been mentioned for a few paragraphs, use a shortened title on the next use to remind the reader.

AAPL President Doe later responded by...

People's titles in general[redakto]

Here, again there is a difference between British and American traditions. Either tradition is acceptable, but whatever system is adopted for an individual article, it should be consistent throughout the story.

For titles other than Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., please spell the title in full on the first mention, although subsequent mentions may be abbreviated.

When a person has a title, general rules for capitalization are:

  • If the title is part of the name (listed before the name), it is capitalized. Example: Governor Jane Smith of Milliana.
  • If the title is descriptive, listed after their name, it is lowercase. Example: Jane Smith, governor of Milliana.

Wikinews honors the protocol common in the country of origin of the royalty mentioned.

  • British: royalty and anointed positions: use title plus first name, eg "Lady Catherine", "Prince Charles"

Sex, gender, and pronouns[redakto]

In general, a person's sex may be inferred and appropriate pronouns used. However there are certain cases where there may be confusion, or the subject expresses a specific preference, usually involving transgender/transsexual/transvestite or other sexual minority or sexual health topics.

In these cases, consult the following guide, numbered in order of priority:

  1. Use subject's preference, where known or made obvious.
  2. Use sex/gender the subject is transitioning toward/has transitioned into.
  3. Use sex/gender based on the name the subject is currently using. This might not be the individual's legal name.
  4. Use the known sex/gender of the individual.

Where the individual's gender is an intrinsic element of the story, include an explanatory note which states clearly the known facts. But, do not unduly sensationalize their part therein.

  • Last term she went home a boy, but over the break she began living as the girl she truly feels she is, the next step on her transitioning path.
  • Sarah, currently undergoing hormone treatment as part of her gender reassignment, was detained, in the early hours of the morning, following a report of the rape of her husband.

Acronyms instead of full names[redakto]

On the first mention of a body with a proper acronym or contraction, use a wikilinked full name. If you wish to use an acronym later in the article, then place the acronym to be used parenthesis directly after the first mention, where the full name is used.

The European Union (EU) announced Tuesday plans...

Thereafter, use the appropriate acronym/contraction sans-wikilink. Full capitalization of acronyms is standard.

EU President José Manuel Barroso said...

Names of publications and articles[redakto]

Italicise names of publications and articles mentioned, including website names. Do not put web addresses into articles.

When the publication is something like The Boston Globe, note that 'The' is capitalised. When using a common, shortened form, such as calling The Boston Globe simply the Globe.

Always use the full name of the publication on the first mention, not a contracted name. Unlike with acronyms, there is no need to explicitly define the contracted form in brackets after the first mention of the full name.

Wikilinking an article[redakto]

Do not over-wikify articles. Link only particularly relevant background material. If your article is about a high-speed chase and accident, the make and colour of the vehicle is probably not particularly relevant, but the city or region might be.

Links within Wikinews require no qualifiers. Links to the english Wikipedia use the namespace "w:", or you may wish to use the {{w}} template.

[[Japan|Japan's]] parliament, the [[w:Diet of Japan|Diet]], requested...
[[Japan|Japan's]] parliament, the {{w|Diet of Japan|Diet}}, requested...

When linking to a Wikinews category or portal, use a mainspace redirect; thus, [[Japan]] rather than [[Portal:Japan|Japan]].

Do not link to another Wikinews article that would be more appropriately listed in the related news section.

Locations, geography[redakto]

Make links for regions and countries to the Wikinews region or country, not to the Wikipedia articles for same. Wikinews readers' primary interest is in further news, and should be directed to other news articles rather than non-news technical information unless it is particularly relevant to the news story. In situations where the Wikipedia information is necessary for clarity, try to link to both Wikipedia and the Wikinews pages. For example:

Japan's parliament, the Diet, requested...


Do not link to dates on Wikipedia. If you choose to link to a date on Wikinews, link either to the date archive or to the date category.

  • Archive: [[Wikinews:2005/April/1|April 1, 2005]] results in April 1, 2005
  • Category: [[:Category:April 1, 2005|April 1, 2005]] results in April 1, 2005
    Note the leading colon; this prevents your article from being listed in date category you are linking to. Without the colon you will not get a visible link, but the article will be listed in the category under the title "April 1, 2005", which is probably not what you are intending to do.
  • For a list of the most essential categories, see User:CGorman/Categories.

HTML markup within articles[redakto]

HTML markup should be an absolute last resort within any article. Preference should always be given to wikicode, particularly elements such as bold or italics.


Appositives are words (usually nouns with modifiers) that explain or identify the nouns they are placed next to. For example, consider this sentence, where the appositive is italicized: That dog, a golden retriever, enjoys peanut butter. (The appositive, "golden retriever," explains and identifies "my dog.")

What is the relevance of appositives to Wikinews? As a news website, Wikinews articles constantly explain the identities of people with the use of appositives. Incorrectly punctuating appositives is a common grammatical error, and, in our attempt to be a professional news source, is something we must avoid. The following details a commonly accepted rule on punctuating appositives.

An appositive is offset by commas on both sides if the appositive is not vital to the meaning of the sentence.

Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spoke at the United Nations today.
This sentence would retain its meaning if the italicized appositive were removed.

An appositive is not punctuated if the appositive is vital to the meaning of the sentence.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke at the United Nations today.
Without the appositive "Tony Blair," this sentence would not make sense.

You should strive to follow this rule when you write and edit Wikinews articles.


See Category:Quotation templates for available quotation templates.

Professional news organizations will occasionally introduce errors in punctuation and spelling in spoken quotes. Be sure to proofread a quote before adding it to a story.

You may choose to directly quote or paraphrase a source:

  • "Puppies are fun and cute," John Doe, American Association of Puppy Lovers president, said.
  • Puppies should be treated with respect and groomed well, Doe added.

When editing spoken quotes, or informal texts and transcripts intended for exclusive interviews (emails and text chat logs), it is permissible to correct typos and errors in punctuation introduced in the transcription process as long as the edit still expresses the meaning exactly the way the source intended.

When paraphrasing, be sure to word the statement so that it expresses the meaning exactly the way the source intended.

To exclude a section of quoted material for summarizing or avoiding a confusing section of quoted material, use an ellipsis (...) to replace the removed text. If many lines of a transcript are removed, place the ellipsis on a line of its own where the removed text would have been. Be sure the remaining quoted material is not taken out of context; the text must express the meaning exactly the way the source intended.

To add clarification to a quote or transcript, use square braces ([]) to contain the words you have added, making sure your additions expresses the meaning exactly the way the source intended.

Using images and other pictures[redakto]

When including pictures with Wikinews stories, they must abide by Wikinews's image use policy.

The most important reason why pictures are used in Wikinews stories is to help convey a clearer or more complete message for the reader. All images must be relevant to the story in which they are included. If this is unclear, then the relevancy must be detailed in a caption. The following code is for including a story image with a caption (Image, Specify box with caption, box size, caption, and image credit) that you may cut-and-paste into your stories:


This file image of the Pleiades star cluster does not show the recent Westerlund 1 discovery, but is used to illustrate what a star cluster looks like.
Figura: NASA.

So, in the instance of the following code, the Massive star cluster found in Milky Way Wikinews article, the picture to the right was the result:

[[File:Pleiades Spitzer big.jpg|250px|right|thumb|This file image of the [[w:Pleiades|Pleiades]] star cluster does not show the recent Westerlund 1 discovery, but is used to illustrate what a star cluster looks like. {{image source|[[w:NASA|NASA]]}}]]

It is very important when using file photographs or symbols such as flags or logos to explain what they are and why they are included to provide relevancy. Do not assume that the reader will automatically know a flag image included in a story or if the flag belongs to any particular country. When using file images, it is important to point out that the image predates the event of the story and is not a representation of actual events that are being reported on. Denoting an image as from file as opposed to event-specific can be done with, "File image of " or "File photo from YYYY" This full disclosure ensures that readers will not be confused by images included with Wikinews text.

Image captions[redakto]

Image captions should be made of complete sentences. At the end of the caption, the original source of the image should be revealed (if possible) and written in italic print to offset it from the rest of the caption.

Changing images[redakto]

For ongoing news events, such as the spread of a disease or virus (eg [[:File:H1N1 map.svg]), the image hosted on commons will be repeatedly updated. This means that the map on Commons is only accurate for a news article at the time of publication. To avoid this issue, the current map must be downloaded, and reuploaded to Commons with a date stamp in the file name. This new version should be used in the relevant Wikinews article(s).

When uploading the time-specific version of the image to Commons, please ensure that it is clear on the image page why an effective duplicate has been created. A short note such as, "This time-specific version of the image is required to maintain consistency in usage and archiving policy on the Wikinews sister project" should suffice.

Wikinews Categories[redakto]

You should add category tags at the bottom of each article. For a complete guide of Wikinews Categories see Wikinews:Categories and topic pages.

The Wikinews date and dateline templates automatically add the date category to your article, linking it to a list of all articles from that date.

Style issues not covered by this guide[redakto]

If you have a journalism style question which is not answered by this guide, please refer to one of the below professional (and free) online style guides. You also may want to visit the Wikinews:Water cooler to seek more specific guidance on complex issues.

For general grammar, punctuation and word use issues: