Stylebook Rules

Stylebook Rules
Quotable Quotes
Relevant Articles
Before & After
Media Bias
About the Editor

Star-Bulletin logo

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin:
In general, don't use political labels such as "right-wing" and "left-wing," "liberal" or "conservative" unless individuals or groups describe themselves that way. Instead, explain specifically what an individual or group advocates on a particular issue and let our readers take it from there. Please be attentive to this in wire stories as well as local copy. — Honolulu Star-Bulletin stylebook, 7/25/96

VOA logo

The Voice of America: "VOA journalists (including correspondents, news and language stringers, political affairs writers and program hosts) avoid at all times the use of unattributed pejorative terms or labels to describe persons or organizations, except when the individuals and groups use those labels to describe themselves or their activities." — VOA Journalistic Code

Reuters logo A photograph of Stephen Jukes
Reuters: "Our policy is to avoid, whenever possible, political labels. Our preference is to spell out fully what groups stand for, who they are aligned to, who they are fighting against, etc. I would rather see a paragraph of contexted background than some glib and potentially subjective epithet ... Our aim is to produce accurate, objective and balanced news which is free from bias. Too often labels reveals more about the author of a story than they do about the subject." — Stephen Jukes, Global Head of News, Reuters (9/06/01)

Kyodo News logo

Kyodo News Service: "Kyodo stories basically do not use political labeling words unless they are sourced. " — Masaru Imai, Chief Editor, World Services Section, Kyodo News (12/06/01)

AP logo 

The Associated Press: "In general, avoid these terms (leftist, ultra-leftist, rightist, ultra-rightist) in favor of a more precise description of an individual's political philosophy." The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual

Hearst logo

Hearst News Service:
"We believe political labels -- such as 'liberal,' 'conservative' and 'moderate' -- are essential in certain circumstances, though we would never allow such modifiers as "left-wing" or "right-wing" because they are pejorative, rather than educational."— Charles J. Lewis, Bureau Chief, Hearst Newspapers (12/06/01)