Editorial Guidelines

This style guide is not intended to be entirely comprehensive. As a general rule, we follow the AP Stylebook. This guide is merely a condensed and slightly revised addendum for Flux editors and authors.

All possessive singular nouns (including ones that end in the letter s) should have –’s  appended to them to denote this. Examples: cat’s collar, bus’s bumper.

Plural possessive nouns need only the apostrophe appended. Example: dogs’ couch.

Boldface may only be used in quotation and never within something you are writing.

See Television shows.

A category is a keyword assigned to a posting based upon its content. All Flux postings must be given at least one category.

Please do not create new categories, only use the existing ones in the system. It is permissible to have more than one category for a posting.

Conflicts of Interest/Disclosure.
When writing, please remember our ethics of disclosure policy and disclose any dealing with the subjects or individuals you are discussing. This includes but is not limited to financial relationships you or your organizations may have with the subjects or individuals.  Your continued association with Flux is dependent upon adherence to this important standard.

When quoting from a source, for fair use and story narrative purposes, it may become necessary to remove certain words from the quotation.

In such cases, ellipses (…) may be used but they must be enclosed in brackets [] to denote that you are shortening the form of the quoted material. At no point may quoted material be shortened to alter its context or change its meaning.

When using ellipses in long-form excerpts (see “Quotations” below) they must appear within the same paragraph of the first cut and not on their own separate line.

Flack vs. Flak.
Two commonly confused words in a media context. Flack refers to a person acting as a public representative for a party or politician and is generally regarded as a mildly disrespectful word to use. Flak refers to criticism that is being launched against someone similar to anti-aircraft artillery shooting projectiles at airplanes, it is not considered disrespectful.

All article headlines must capitalize the first word and all proper nouns, be relevant to the post, pithy, and descriptive as possible.  Avoid the use of prepositions, articles, and conjunctions as much as possible.

Do not use double quotation marks (“”) in any headline. Single quotation marks (‘’) are permitted in instances where you are quoting a person or referring to a media product such as a book, movie, or television show.

If you who are conducting interviews or exchanging emails with prospective sources, you must to identify yourself as writing for Flux.

Writers may not apply for press credentials or other journalistic perks without prior authorization from a Flux editor.

You must also receive prior authorization from a Flux editor before conducting any interview with media organizations other than the Flux.

You may use images within a posting if they are relevant to the story web or print feature.

All images must be tasteful and adhere to certain dimension constraints (not narrower than 1,000 pixels) except in extreme circumstances. Flux requires all images to be in JPEG format with the exceptions of screenshots or clipart, which can be in PNG format. Directions for this procedure are available upon request.

All images are subject to review and may be removed by an editor if they do not fit within these guidelines, are causing pages to load slowly, or do not adhere to U.S. copyright law.

Unless otherwise authorized, you should use Creative Commons images or images that are copyright-free, such as government-produced photographs.

Italics are not to be used in quotations. They may be used very sparingly in regular text. They are not to be used for movies, newspapers, television shows, television networks, magazines or any media product or company.

When discussing a word as a word itself (such as discussing the definition of is), always make the word in question italicized.

The lede of a story is the first few sentences. Get to the point. If you write good ledes, people will want to read your article, if not, they will skip on to the next one.

In almost all cases, a good lede puts the most important information at the beginning of the story. Good ledes are also brief and engaging. They give enough information to make the reader want to keep reading.

A link is used to refer to another web page. Links to external sources must always be used when they are available as it gives credibility to your argument.

See Newspapers.

See Television shows.

The names of newspapers must be capitalized. No italics are to be used. If a paper does not disclose its city of publication in its title, refer to it as belonging to the city. Thus, the Daily News, printed in New York City, becomes New York’s Daily News. Do not capitalize the word the when used in a newspaper’s name. When referring to a newspaper you have already referenced, you may refer to it with its short name. In this way, the New York Times becomes the Times.

Political groups/people.
Do not endorse political groups or politicians. Do not use pejorative language or engage in name-calling when referring to any person or organization.

Neither is permitted in anything written by a Flux contributor. Inside of a quotation, it is permitted if relevant to the article. Avoid quoting profanities in headlines. Censor profanities in lead paragraphs. The proper means of doing this is the first letter of the word followed by the appropriate number of dashes.

Punctuation marks.
All punctuation must always be placed inside of quotation marks. Avoid using exclamation points when at all possible.

Must always be in proper context and always be accurate. Do not change words within quotation marks as they indicate to the reader, “The person being quoted said exactly this.” All quotations of people on television shows or cable coverage must provide the name of the program on which the cited quote aired and/or if during special event news coverage, a time (with time zone noted) within 5 minutes. If you obtained the remark from a web page, you must provide a link to the page to allow others to verify.

If one paragraph or less, quoted statements must be placed in quotation marks and have the same font attributes as the rest of the posting. If multiple paragraphs, the quotation must be indented (there is a button for this on the posting toolbar) and not be surrounded by double quotation marks (“”). An exception to is rule is if you are doing a point-by-point rebuttal of something (called “fisking” by some), in which case, short quotations must be indented but not enclosed by double quotation marks.

Except for two exceptions, state names are regularly spelled out. Headlines and transcripts are the two exceptions.

In either of these cases, you are to follow the Associated Press Style Manual.

Like Categories, each entry you post must have at least one tag. The difference is that categories are more general and correspond to sections in newspapers. Tags are more like keywords. There is no technological limit to how many tags can be used in a post, but they are to be assigned following the guidelines below:

  • Capitalized properly using the conventions described in the Headlines section.
  • Relevant to the story.
  • If a person, place, or thing is mentioned only tangentially within a story, do not assign a tag for it.
  • Avoid too many tags for each posting

Television shows.
The names of all television shows must be enclosed in double quotation marks (“). No italics are to be used. Show names may be abbreviated after their full name has been used although it is not required. Examples: “CBS Evening News,” “Evening,” “Days of Our Lives,” “Days.”

In headlines, use single quotes (‘) instead of double quotes.

The names of television networks (CNN, MSNBC) should never be italicized or in quotation marks.

If a person has an official title and you are writing about them in their professional capacity, you must mention this title in the first mention of the individual’s name. Do not capitalize titles unless you are using them before a person’s last name, e.g. President Janet Jones, Prime Minister John Smith.

The titles of senator and representative should be abbreviated and include the name of the state they represent in parentheses, e.g. Rep. Jane Doe (D-Penn.). Refer to the States section of this guide for abbreviations to use.

Must always be verbatim unless time is a factor, in which case, a computer-generated transcript may be used temporarily with a disclaimer that it may not be accurate.

All transcripts must be indented to set them off from the body of a posting. No double quotation marks are to be used to set off people’s words.

Speaker names must be in ALL CAPS to facilitate easy reading. The initial words of a person must be accompanied by his/her full name. Quotations within transcripts are to be enclosed in single quotation marks, not double.

When referring to words used in a quotation, be sure to surround your reference with quotation marks. When referring to a word as linguistic component, put it in italics with no quotation marks.

Example: Johnson said that he “disagreed.” His critics, however, took issue with his definition of disagreed and said that in fact he completely agreed.


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