A Partial List of Style Guides Everyone Should Read

Before deciding to create The Responsible Communication Style Guide, I spent years looking for a style guide that filled that niche. I didn’t find one style guide that covered topics like race and gender and health all in one place.

Instead, I found dozens of style guides, covering a huge range of topics. I compiled this list as a starting point for folks who want to explore these topics and who want to dive a little deeper.

This list is really just a starting point, though. For The Responsible Communication Style Guide, we’re going to focus on five specific facets of identity: sex, gender, race, religion, and health and well-being. Within each of those sections, we’ll suggest key words and phrases to use when discussing these topics. We’ll also have a set of essays giving broader advice about writing inclusively. Throughout this process, we’re using technology as a lens to focus our coverage.

Each section editor has lived experience with the topic they will cover, as well as experience with writing and an understanding of our intersectional approach.

And if you’re interested in helping us fund a new style guide that covers identity with an intersectional approach, check out the Kickstarter for The Responsible Communication Style Guide. (Pro tip: at the $15 level, you’ll get a digital copy of our new style guide so that you can use it in your own writing as soon as possible.

AAJA Guide to Covering Asian America

Prepared by the Asian American Journalists Association. Covers terminology for covering topics of interest to Asian Americans.

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American Sociological Association Style Guide

(Link to Amazon listing!)

Prepared by the American Sociological Association. Covers style and terminology used in the publications of the ASA.

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Apple Style Guide

(Direct link to PDF!)

Prepared for internal use at Apple. Covers brand and company-specific terminology.

BuzzFeed Style Guide

Prepared by Emmy Favilla and Megan Paolone for BuzzFeed. Covers publication-specific terminology and style.

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The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style

(Link to Amazon listing!)

Prepared by Robert Hudson for publication by Zondervan. Covers terminology and styles used by the Christian publishing industry.

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Disability Language Style Guide

Prepared by the National Center on Disability and Journalism. Covers recommended language with an emphasis on specificity.

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The Diversity Style Guide

Prepared by Rachele Kanigel, for the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism. Covers a variety of terminology; however, this style guide is sourced from a variety of other style guides, rather than in-house development.

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The Economist Style Guide

Prepared by The Economist for its writers. Covers publication-specific information and style.

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Gawker.com Style Guide

Prepared by Lockhart Steele, Choire Sicha, and Gina Trapani for Gawker.com. Covers publication-specific information and grammar.

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GLAAD Media Reference Guide

Prepared by GLAAD. Covers terminology for “reporting on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lives, issues, and stories.” Note, portions of this guide is sourced from the AP and New York Times style guides, rather than in-house development.

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Media Takes: On Aging

(Direct link to PDF!)

Prepared by the International Longevity Center and Aging Services of California. Covers terminology for the “accurate portrayal of aging.”

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NABJ Style Guide

Prepared by members of the National Association of Black Journalists, including Jerry McCormick and Angela Dodson. Covers “terms and language usage of special interest or relevance to our membership and our community.”

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NIDA Media Guide

(Direct link to PDF!)

Prepared by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Covers terminology for policy discussions, scientific discussions, and health discussions, as well as media resources.

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NLGJA Stylebook

Prepared by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Provides terminology to improve “inclusive coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, includes entries on words and phrases that have become common, and features greater detail for earlier entries.”

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A Progressive’s Style Guide

(Direct link to PDF!)

Prepared by Hanna Thomas and Anna Hirsch for SumOfUs. Covers core terminology for progressive activists in order to combat discriminatory language. Note, Hanna Thomas wrote about her experiences creating the guide.

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Race Reporting Guide

(Direct link to PDF!)

Prepared by Race Forward, the Center for Racial Justice Innovation. Covers terminology for “reporting on specific racial and ethnic groups. Also includes terminology and practices to avoid.

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Religion Stylebook

Prepared by Religion Newswriters Foundation. Covers “the major religions, denominations and religious organizations journalists often encounter.”

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Style Guide for NASA History Authors and Editors

Prepared by Steve Garber for NASA History. Covers preferred language, units of measurement, and publication-specific information.

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Style Guide: Reporting on Mental Health

(Direct link to PDF!)

Prepared by TEAM Up and the California Mental Health Services Authority. Covers preferred language and language to be avoided.

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The Supreme Court’s Style Guide

(Link to Amazon listing!)

Prepared by Jack Metzler with the Office of the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States. Covers terminology, cases, and styles used in Supreme Court decisions.

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The Yahoo! Style Guide

(Link to Amazon listing!)

Prepared by Chris Barr for Yahoo! and revised for print. Covers style for materials written for online publication.

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Looking for design or development style guides and pattern libraries? Start with these posts!

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