Style Guide

Note to contributors: RGNN’s Academic Board of Directors is publishing the first RGNN.org Style Guide, which will take effect on January 1, 2019: https://rgnn.org/style-guide.

RGNN.org Style Guide. First Edition.

In order to improve the quality of articles published on RGNN.org, the Academic Board of Directors is publishing the following style guide, available to contributors of the platform, which will enter into effect on January 1, 2019.

In general, the articles in Spanish should follow the rules for the use of Spanish of the Real Academia de la Lengua Española (RAE). In English, the Merriem-Webster Dictionary will be used as a reference.

To see what kind of content we publish, please read the guide for contributors here: https://rgnn.org/contributor-guidelines. Before pitching an article, we also recommend that contributors use the RGNN search engine to see if we have covered a similar topic recently.

All collaboration with RGNN.org is subject to the terms of the platform in its latest published version (https://rgnn.org/terms). RGNN.org and its Academy reserve the right to edit the articles by applying the style guide rules in their latest published version.

Titles.

  • The titles must be adapted for the web and SEO. Before pitching a topic for an article, we recommend that contributors use Google Trends to search for relevant keyowrds for titles and texts.
  • The length of the titles should also be adapted for the web, about 6-10 words.
  • For articles in Spanish, the titles should used capital letters in the first word and in proper names, following the recommendations of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (RAE) and Fundéu.
  • If the headline is a textual quote, it must be enclosed in quotation marks.
  • Titles should never have periods at the end.
  • In Spanish, titles in capital letters should not have accents.
  • In English, APA standards for titles should be followed.
    • Capitalize the first word of the title / heading and of any subtitle / subheading;
    • Capitalize all “major” words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns) in the title / heading, including the second part of hyphenated major words (e.g., Self-Report not Self-report); and
    • Capitalize all words of four letters or more.
    • This boils down to using lowercase only for “minor” words of three letters or fewer, namely, for conjunctions (words like and, or, nor, and but), articles (the words to, an, and the), and prepositions (words like as, at, by, for, in, of, on, per, and to), as long as they are not the first word in a title or subtitle.

Texts.

  • The texts should be divided into differentiated paragraphs. A length of five (5) lines per paragraph is recommended.
  • Paragraphs are marked with a new line (never with a tab).
  • To highlight key points, you can use bullet point or numbered lists.
  • You can highlight key points also in bold.
  • The blockquotes option can be used to highlight key quotes or phrases.
  • If the text is divided with “subheadings” (titles throughout the text), they must be differentiated using the option “Heading 3 “
  • Italic is reserved for words in foreign languages.

Introductions.

  • The introduction of an article should capture the reader’s attention. In general, sentences should be short, simple and use the active voice.
  • If the article is a list article, it should have an introduction of about three sentences, quickly getting to the list itself.

Quotes and sources.

  • Anonymous quotes are not allowed, except for when the person cited is at risk. If this is the case, the initials should be mentioned, and when relevant, the quoted person’s age.
  • As indicated in the terms of the platform, it is the author’s responsibility to verify the sources of his/her content.
  • It is always preferable to contact sources first hand, instead of writing an article only based on third-party sources and/or entirely based on searching the web.
  • If it is necessary to use quotes or material from another person, the source should always be mentioned, for example: as Mr. López said during the Al Rojo Vivo program on Sexta TV.
  • Specifically, contributors should verify names and locations, because a wrong name or location can change the whole meaning of a story.

More about quotes.

  • All citations must be a word-for-word reproduction of a person’s comment or statement made in a document.
  • Quotes can not be altered; once you alter them, they are no longer quotes.
  • Literal citations of expressions or documents should always be enclosed in quotation marks. When they are not literal, they can not be enclosed in quotes.
  • If you cut material from a quotation you must show that it has been cut by using an ellipsis three full points with a space between, as follows ( . . . )
  • It is advisable to use an ellipsis only once in an quote.
  • The quotes that you use must be supported by evidence. In other words, save your notes and recordings as well as the documents from which the quotes are taken. You may be asked to present the evidence, especially if the story is published and controversial.
  • “Said” should be used for quotations instead of verbs such as granted, admitted, emphasized, noted, affirmed, and others, which mostly imply a judgment about the truthfulness, sincerity, etc., of the speaker.

Hyperlinks.

  • Bibliographies are not included at the end of the article.
  • Links to sources should be integrated throughout the article in the form of hyperlinks.
  • In non-sponsored content from contributors, commercial links are not allowed.
  • All links must be opened in a new page.
  • We recommend including links to other relevant articles of RGNN.org (or from the same contributor or another contributor).
  • In our section #RGNNadvisor opportunities, you can mention job opportunities / internships / scholarships / etc. published in other web pages. In this case, the source website should always be included.

Tautologies.

  • A tautology is a repetition that makes no sense.
  • For example, “two twins” or “imports from a foreign country”
  • Tautologies should be avoided.

Slang & technical phrases.

  • The intention of articles on RGNN.org is to be understood by a global audience. To avoid excluding any particular reader, you should avoid using slang and technical words that prevent our readers from understanding your content.
  • The story should be simplified while maintaining a level of eloquence and precision.
  • Do not use emojis or modern abbreviations such as “LOL” (laughing out loud) within articles either. That said, these expressions can be used on posts for social media.

Tenses and verbs.

  • Do not mix different tenses in one sentence.
  • You can use the present / active voice in introductions.
  • The present tense is preferred for online publications.
  • Use the past tense for reported speech in news copy for a paper because it indicates the situation at the time of writing and many things can change between then and publication in a newspaper.
  • When you cite people, use the past, for example, said Mr. López.

Currencies.

  • Currency conversions are necessary in stories that use currency that is not from the US / Europe to make it clear to readers how a number is translated into dollars / Euros. But conversions should be used sparingly and preferably not in the introduction, unless it is an important part of a story.
  • Generally, only one conversion is needed the first time a currency is mentioned. The reader can make the necessary conversions after that.
  • Do not convert amounts that are not current because exchange rates change over time.
  • When you need conversions, use the sign $ to indicate the amount in US dollars and the sign of € for euros.
  • For all other currencies, following the amount, write the name of the currency followed in parentheses by the equivalent in US dollars. Example: Japan approved an additional budget of 1.8 trillion yen ($18 billion) to partially finance an economic stimulus package.
  • In the case of a dollar currency of a country other than the United States or Europe, use the following abbreviations before the amount in the second reference and the following:
    • AU $ Australian dollars
    • CA $ canadian dollars
    • SG $ Singapore dollars
    • NZ $ New Zealand dollars
    • HK $ Hong Kong dollars
    • NT $ New Taiwanese dollars
    • ZW $ Zimbabwe dollars

Abbreviations

  • As mentioned above, the goal is that all readers should understand the articles on RGNN.org.
  • There are abbreviations, such as AIDS or USA, that are well-known. However, in general, you should write the full name first, and then put the abbreviation in parentheses, for example: APEC (Asia –Pacific Economic Cooperation).
  • From that moment, the abbreviation can be used throughout the article. If the abbreviation is not going to be used in the rest of the article, do not use it at the first moment either.
  • Do not use abbreviations in titles.

Numbers

  • Dates: Month first then numeral: March 15, December 5.
  • Numerals: Spell out numbers under 12 use figures after 12.
  • For ages always use figures, e.g. Mary Smith, 23.
  • Time: Express time in the simplest form possible: today, tomorrow, next week but beware of a couple of areas of confusion.
  • Monday is the first day of the week.
  • Do not use 12am or 12pm. Use midday/ midnight. Note 11.30pm (full point separating hours and minutes, am or pm close up).  Do not use 10am this morning. It’s tautology write 10am today/yesterday/Tuesday last week
  • Use o’clock only in quotes or titles or light-hearted pieces.
  • Distance: spell out kilometres, metres and centimetres.
  • In lists, however, you can use the abbreviations such as km, m. cm.
  • Quantities: same rule as above applies, spell out litres and millilitres in isolated references but abbreviate for a group of such quantities.
  • Use percent rather than % or percentage

Race, nationality and / or ethnic origin.

  • Mention race, nationality or ethnic origin only if it is strictly relevant, and is generally not necessary in the introduction or even in the first paragraphs.
  • Ask yourself if you would write that a person was Caucasian in the same context. Terms of racial abuse should never be used unless they are essential to a story, as might occur if they were an integral part of the evidence in a court case.

Honorifics.

  • Remove the honorific at the first mention, for example. The spokesman of the Lebanese community Abdul El Ayoubi, but later Mr. El Ayoubi, or the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and, later, Mr. Rudd.
  • Follow the tradition in the world of newspapers using last names only for actors, artists, musicians and athletes, but get away from the tradition by keeping the honorific for people who are before the courts.
  • The honorific can be withdrawn after a guilty verdict.

Specific words (English).

  • “program” will be used, not “program,” “programm,” etc.
  • Favorite and other words with ou / o. The version will always be used only with “o”
  • S or z. In words you can choose to use “s” or “z”, e.g. categorize, “z” will always be used.
  • Teenage, not teenaged.
  • A baby becomes a child with twelve months.
  • Boy / girl, becomes an adult with 18 years.
  • Do not use brand names, e.g. Rimmel to say mascara.
  • Prison is used instead of jail or gaol.
  • Center not center.
  • X-ray with capital letters and with hyphen.
  • More specific cases can be added to this list as time goes by.

Excerpts / Summaries.

  • Each article must be accompanied by a “ excerpt” or summary of a sentence, including the keywords of the article.

Photos.

  • Each article should have a horizontal featured photo of 750 x 500 px in jpg format.
  • Additional photos must be included throughout the article, in horizontal format of 750 and 500 px or in vertical format of 500 x 350 px, jpg format.
  • Do not include commercial photos, with logos, watermark, etc.
  • It is the responsibility of the author, as indicated in the terms, to cite the source of the photographs.
  • The captions must have the following format: Caption | Name of the photographer.
  • Images should not have a link.

Videos.

  • You can embed videos published either on ROOSTERGNN’s Youtube channel or the contributor’s channel.
  • Embedded videos can appear as either main video, or within the text, for both you need the iframe embed code.

Embeds from Twitter and / or Instagram.

  • You can embed tweets or Instagram posts within the texts of an article. For both you need the embed code.

Fact boxes.

  • Some articles will require “fact boxes” (or more detailed information) at the end of the article. The following format must be followed: see end of article

Author biography.

  • The author’s biography must contain his real name and surname, university and country of origin, studies, and links to social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Youtube). If you have your own blog or website, it can be included in the biography, never within each article.

Sponsored content.

  • Brand collaboration sand sponsorships are valuable contributions to the development of RGNN.org’s social and educational programs.
  • Should you wish to propose a sponsored article, please contact staff@roostergnn.org . All sponsored articles are subject to approval of the platform.

Updated, October 2018.