Every organisation has its presentation style and No Fibs is no exception.
No Fibs uses standard news style and we ask all our CJs to pay attention to the basics.
The reasons for this are twofold:
1. our readers – consistency ensures readers are free to read our stories and reports without having to concentrate on our presentation (there’s nothing more annoying when you’re reading than stumbling over confusing punctuation or grammar – it interrupts the flow and raises questions about the accuracy of our content);
2. our reputation – consistency ensures our reputation for accuracy is maintained (if we can’t be trusted to get the spelling right, how can we be trusted with the information?).
It may sound pedantic and for most readers these considerations are unconscious – but that is precisely because professional presentation ensures they don’t have to think about such concerns.
No Fibs style
Firstly, don’t panic! We will send you a complete guide to making a contribution. All we ask is that you learn the basics of the craft.
* we use Australian spelling
* every sentence in a news story is a new paragraph
* in a feature article or opinion piece, you can run two or three sentences in a paragraph (no more than 2-3)
* when attributing a comment in news stories, there is only ‘said’ – she said, he said. Do not use such attributions as ‘s/he claimed, asserted, demanded, maintained, laughed, revealed’ etc etc. She said. He said.
* organisations do not speak – spokespeople for organisations speak
* all stories are written in past tense. There are exceptions to this, but before you get to use them you must learn to write in past tense. Occasionally, it’s okay to use present tense in the lead (the first paragraph), but the rest of the story will be past tense.
* quote marks have a specific style, as follows:
– when you are quoting someone inside a straight sentence, use single quotes.
Example: The teacher said she was ‘disappointed’ with the state government’s refusal to sign up to education funding reforms.
– when you are using full quotes, use double quotation marks.
Example: “I am very disappointed with the state government’s refusal to sign up to education funding reforms,” she said.
NOTE: the punctuation towards the end of the sentence, before the close quote, goes before the quotation marks.
There’s more – of course. You’ll learn the rest as we go.
Welcome to journalism!