Reuters stories should be free of conscious or unconscious racism. Avoid racial stereotyping and describe membership of a group, ethnicity or race precisely. For further guidance, go to the sections on value judgements and religious, cultural and national differences under Specialised Guidance.
- Mention race or ethnicity only when relevant to the understanding of a story. For example, if someone is facing deportation, it is appropriate to give his or her nationality. Similarly, the ethnic origin of a person who receives racial threats or is the target of a racist attack is essential context. Terms of mixed ethnicity take a hyphen: Italian-American.
- Take care when reporting crimes and court cases. The race of an accused person is not usually relevant.
- Clearly, race is an important factor in stories about racial controversy or immigration, or where an issue cuts across racial lines. For example, if European-born people join Tibetan exiles in demonstrations against China’s Tibet policy, this is a point worth mentioning.
- Race is pertinent in reporting a feat or appointment unusual for a person of a particular ethnic group, for example someone born in China who becomes an international cricket umpire. In the United States, the terms black and African-American are both acceptable. Black is fine as an adjective, e.g., "Obama will be the first black U.S. president." As a noun, the plural is acceptable where it might contrast with another group, e.g., “Doctors found differences between the treatment offered to whites and blacks.” Do not use black as a singular noun -- it is both awkward and offensive. "Barack Obama would be the first black to become U.S. president" is unacceptable. Better to say "Barack Obama will become the first black U.S. president." Native Spanish speakers in the United States may be referred to as Latino or Hispanic, but it is better to be specific (Colombian, Mexican). Also, some people from Latin America are not Hispanic, e.g., Brazilians. As a general rule, use the term by which the people of a particular ethnic group describe themselves: Inuit (not Eskimo), Roma (not Gypsy), Sami (not Lapp), Native American (not Indian).
- Use uppercase for Aboriginal Peoples, which includes all Indian, Métis and Inuit people in Canada. First Nations is also uppercase. Other variations—indigenous people, aboriginals (except for Aboriginals of Australia), native peoples—are lowercase.
- In all references, be guided by the preference of those concerned.
- Use Indian with discretion. Some people object to it because it originated with the European explorers’ misconception that they had landed in India. Others, especially status Indians, prefer it to be used.
- Capitalise the names of races and peoples: Asian, Jew, Hispanic. Note that black and white are lower case.
- If a racially derogatory expression is used in a direct quote, this should be flagged at the top of the story in an advisory: “(Editor’s note: Paragraph 12 contains a racial slur that may be offensive to readers.)”
A radical on political or social terms is usually a person or group seeking to overturn the present order. Although radical often is applied to individuals who hold strong socialist or communist views, it also is applied at times to individuals who believe an existing form of government must be replaced by a more authoritarian or militaristic one. Given the term is vague and emotive, try to use more specifc descriptions of the person or groups beliefs or practices.
In general, radicalization (or radicalisation) is a process by which an individual or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that reject or undermine the status quo often involving violence.
But various governments and agencies, including the US National Counterterrorism Center and the UK Home Office and MI5, have their own definitions of radicalization, so Reuters need to avoid using politicized jargon and try to describe the beliefs or practices of individuals or groups as specifically as possible.
The Muslim holy month, when devout Muslims fast daily from dawn to sunset, ending with the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
$22 million to $26 million, not $22 to $26 million.
In many countries it is illegal to report the names of victims of sexual crime. Reuters never names them.
Use real estate agent. (“Realtor, cap R, applies only to a member of the National Association of Realtors.)
A period of low economic activity with high unemployment and numerous business failures. There are varying definitions. In the United States it is two consecutive quarterly falls in gross domestic product.
The Red Cross movement comprises: the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (formerly the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies); and more than 160 national societies around the world. Give the ICRC title in full at first reference; do not abbreviate to the ”International Red Cross” since such a body does not exist. For the sake of brevity in a lead paragraph you can refer to a Red Cross official or spokesman as long as you make clear lower in the story which organisation he belongs to.
Refugee usually refers to a person who is forced to leave his home or country to escape persecution, war, or natural disaster. By contrast the word migrant usually describes a person moving from one region or country to another to seek employment or residence without implying anything about the legalities of such travel.
According tot the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, supported by the U.N., a refugee is someone who has fled his or her country “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”
Refute usually means to prove a claim or opinion to be false or erroneous. Refute connotes success in argument and often implies an editorial judgment. Instead, better to use deny, dispute, rebut or respond to, in case the evidence is less conclusive than it appears.
A word with negative overtones in a political context. Use government.
Religion: Names of divinities are capitalised but unspecific plurals are lower case, e.g. Allah, the Almighty, Christ, God, Jehovah, the Deity, the Holy Trinity, but the gods, the lords of the universe.
Capitalise religious titles when they immediately precede a personal name, otherwise use lowercase, e.g., Bishop Thaddeus Smith, Dean Robert Jones, but the bishop, the dean. Use only the simplest and best-known titles at first reference, e.g., the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. John Smith rather than the Right Rev John Smith.
Capitalise names of denominations and religious movements, e.g., Baptist, Buddhist, Christian, Church of England, Islamic, Jew, Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox. But nondenominational references are lowercase, e.g., adult baptism, orthodox beliefs, built a temple.
The pope is head of the Roman Catholic Church. Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name; lowercase in all other uses. For example, "Pope Francis said on Tuesday that he really enjoyed being the first non-European pope in 1,300 years and the pontiff added that he hoped the next pope would also be an non-Italian." On second reference, the name may be used alone: Francis, Pius (unless omitting the numerals would cause confusion).
A baptist is someone who baptises. A Baptist is a member of the Protestant denomination. With more than 20 separate Baptist church groups in the United States, it is incorrect to refer to the Baptist Church as a singular entity. The correct reference would be to Baptist Churches or to the specific Baptist group involved, e.g., the Southern Baptist Convention.
- Anglican Communion: The worldwide association of Anglican and Episcopal churches. Not the Worldwide Anglican Communion.
- Baha'i faith: A syncretic religion that preaches the unity of all mankind and all spiritual beliefs. It recognises many major religious figures of history -- including Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Jesus, Mohammad and its founder Baha'ullah -- as authentic messengers of God helping to bring humanity to spiritual maturity. Divine revelation continues, according to their teaching, with the Baha'i faith being only the latest religion to emerge from it. The Baha'is, who claim about five million followers, began in 19th century Iran but have since spread around the world. The Baha'i faith emerged from Shi'ite Islam, but we should not refer to this origin when we describe it. Despite retaining some elements of Shi'ite Islam, the Baha'i faith also took in many other ideas that made it a separate religion on its own. Calling it an offshoot of Islam is like calling Christianity an offshoot of Judaism; it is correct in a very limited sense but misleading overall. The religious authorities in Shi'ite Iran consider the Baha'is heretics. The Baha'is accuse Iran of oppressing them.
- cathedral: Central church of a diocese and seat of the bishop. Not a generic term for any large church.
- Christian: Use as an overall term, but not as a substitute for a precise name of a denomination. If possible, it is preferable to name the denomination, e.g., Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, etc. Protestant and Orthodox are also overall terms and more precision, for example Methodist or Greek Orthodox, is preferable.
- church, Church: A church is a house of prayer or a denomination. In a story about a single church, “the Church” can be used to refer to the whole denomination on second reference and “Church” can be used as an adjective to mean belonging to that church.
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: The Mormon church. “Mormon church” acceptable on first reference, but give the official title soon afterward.
- denomination: Term for the different Christian churches, usually used for Protestant churches. Catholics and Orthodox object to being called denominations.
- Eastern Catholic churches: Eastern Rite churches, the ancient Middle Eastern churches in communion with the Roman Catholic Church.
- ecumenism: Cooperation among Christian churches. “Inter-faith” refers to cooperation among religions.
- Episcopal Church, Episcopal, Episcopalian: The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of Anglicanism. “Episcopal” is the adjective referring to it and Episcopalian is the noun referring to its members. Do not refer to its members as “Episcopals.”
- evangelical: A term for Protestants who stress personal conversion (“born again”) and the authority of the Bible. Evangelicals embrace modern culture, even if they are socially conservative, while fundamentalists try to avoid what they see as sinful modern ways. Evangelicals are found in several churches. Note in Europe, especially Germany, evangelical is a general term for mainstream Protestant. Uppercase only when in a title.
- evangelism, evangelizing: A neutral term for spreading the Gospel. Proselytise has negative connotations (see below).
- evangelist: Originally, one of the four authors of the Gospels. Also, a preacher whose sermons aim to convert listeners to Christianity. If a cleric heads a church of already converted Christians, call him or her a preacher, not an evangelist.
- Father: For Catholic priests, only use if in a quote. Rev. is the proper title for a priest.
- fundamentalist: Originally refers to Protestants who stress the fundamentals of their faith and reject liberal interpretations. Often used for conservatives, especially for Muslims, but so overused that it is best avoided. Alternatives are traditionalist, orthodox, conservative, etc.
- Haj: Capitalise. A Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca
- headscarf: General term for Muslim women’s head covering, either the hijab (covering just the hair) or the niqab (covering the face but leaving the eyes open).
- Mass: The central service of Roman Catholic, Orthodox and some other Christian churches. Always capitalize when referring to the ceremony, but lowercase any preceding adjectives: high Mass, low Mass, requiem Mass, sung Mass etc. Also Mass is usually "celebrated", not "said". Remember some churches do not use the word Mass but prefer "eucharist" or "communion".
- Methodist churches: Methodist churches are Protestant churches that trace their origins to an 18th-century Church of England revival movement led by John Wesley. There are many separate churches in the Methodist family, which at about 75 million members worldwide is one of the largest Christian traditions. Some but not all Methodist churches are part of the evangelical movement. There are over 40 Methodist denominations in the United States, including the United Methodist Church (the largest) and several African-American Methodist churches. The Methodist Church of Great Britain is the largest one in the United Kingdom.
- minister: Term for a cleric in many Protestant denominations. It is not a title and should not be capitalized.
- Monsignor: An honourary Roman Catholic title that is better avoided because it has two meanings. In Romance languages, it tends to be a general honourific for all prelates, up to cardinal. In some other languages, it is used as a rank between priest and bishop. Use the cleric’s actual title (e.g. bishop, archbishop, cardinal) or Rev. if he is below episcopal rank.
- new religious movement: Neutral term to describe a faith group outside the religious mainstream.
- Orthodox, orthodox: Capitalise in titles such as Orthodox Church or Orthodox Judaism. Lowercase to denote strict adherence to the doctrines of a religion. Eastern Rite Churches returned to communion with Rome after the 1054 East-West split between Rome and Orthodoxy but worship in an Eastern, usually Orthodox rite. Each returned to unity with Rome at a different time in the past 900 years or so.
- pontiff: A synonym for the Pope, always lower case.
- Pope: Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name; lowercase in all other uses. For example, "Pope Francis said on Tuesday that he really enjoyed being the first non-European pope in 1,300 years and the pontiff added that he hoped the next pope would also be an non-Italian." (see proper names). On second reference, the name may be used alone: Francis, Pius (unless omitting the numerals would cause confusion). .
- proselytise: To seek converts to a faith. Some Christian denominations say it has a negative connotation, implying the use of aggressive or unethical methods such as threats or rewards, and prefer “evangelize” as a more neutral term.
- Roman Catholic Church: Official title, although Catholic Church can also be used.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church is the Pope. Refer to a reigning Pope on first reference as, e.g., Pope Benedict and on subsequent references as Benedict, the Pope or the pontiff. A reigning Pope does not take Roman numerals after his name in Reuters copy unless to omit them would cause confusion. Past Church leaders should take Roman numerals after their name on first reference, e.g., Pope Pius XII, and may be referred to simply by their name, e.g., Pius, on subsequent references unless to omit the numerals would cause confusion.
The Pope’s closest advisers are known as cardinals, who are appointed by him. Those under 80 can enter a conclave to elect a new Pope. At first reference Cardinal John Doe. At subsequent references the cardinal or Doe. A high-ranking member of the Church, such as a cardinal, an archbishop or a bishop, can be referred to subsequently as a prelate. It’s best to avoid the term monsignor since it means a rank between priest and bishop (e.g. Monsignor Martin Smith) in some countries but in others, especially Italy, France and Spain and in Latin America, it is a catchall title used for monsignors, bishops, archbishops and cardinals, e.g. the Archbishop of Bogota, Monsignor Enrique Perez. Avoid this usage also. Use Boston Archbishop Charles Dust. For priests, use Rev. John Doe, not Father John Doe (except in quotes). Do not use the Rev., Reverend or Most Reverend.
The Church hierarchy is: priest, pastor, bishop, archbishop, cardinal, Pope. The Church government working in the Vatican is known as the Curia, which must be explained if used. The Vatican technically refers to the city-state in Rome and the Holy See to the Church’s central administration, but the terms have become interchangeable in common use. The Holy See’s ambassadors around the world are known as papal nuncios and its embassies as nunciatures. If the Holy See does not have formal diplomatic relations with a country the Pope’s envoy to the church in that country is an apostolic delegate.
- sect: A religious group that has broken off from a larger one. Use carefully as it has negative connotations. The neutral term is new religious movement.
- skullcap: Preferred generic term for small religious headpiece known as the Jewish kippa, Catholic zucchetto or Musilm kufi. Avoid yarmulke, which is a Yiddish term used mostly in the United States.
- Sunni, Shi’ite: Muslims are split into two main groups, Sunni and Shi'ite. Sunnis are estimated about 80 per cent of all Muslims and include most Arabs. Sunnis and Shi'ites draw spiritual inspiration from the same source, the Prophet Mohammad, but Shi'ite theologians have much greater freedom of interpretation. As well as adhering to the revelations of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, Sunnis follow the Prophet Mohammad's rule of life (the Sunna) and traditions based on his sayings. Shi'ites hold that the succession to the Prophet should remain in his own family. Since the direct line was broken not long after the death of Mohammad, Shi'ites believe there is a Hidden Imam (spiritual leader) who will reappear one day. In Iran, where Shi'ites are predominant, the revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was considered the Imam's deputy on earth. His successor as Supreme Leader holds the same authority Rivalry between Sunnis and Shi'ites extends back to the years following the death of the Prophet Mohammad, when Islam first split over the question of who was the rightful successor. Some hardline Sunnis regard Shi'ites as heretics and Shi'ite minority communities in some parts of the Middle East complain of discrimination
- temple: A non-Christian house of prayer. Some Jews use it for synagogue, but the latter is preferred.
- Unification Church: Founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon in South Korea in 1954, the Unification Church is a religious movement that has expanded around the world and is believed to have up to three million members. Members have been dubbed "Moonies" by their critics, but this is a pejorative term which we should not use in copy and avoid in direct quotation if possible. The movement's goals include the defence of conservative family values and it regularly organises mass public weddings of couples brought together by the church. It has links to many businesses, especially in publishing (Washington Times, UPI), and has been accused by critics of being a cult, brainwashing members and enriching its leaders, all of which it denies. It teaches that Rev. Moon received private revelations from Jesus, Moses and Buddha to fight communism and promote world peace.
- Virgin Mary: Use this title or the Madonna, not Our Lady except in titles such as Our Lady of Czestochowa or in the names of churches. In Catholicism, do not confuse the Virgin Birth (the dogma that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus) with the Immaculate Conception (the dogma that Mary was the only human conceived without Original Sin).
- yarmulke: Use skullcap.
Avoid in leads. There is always a more lively way of phrasing.
Singular and plural. Prefer meeting or appointment.
If you use the word reported without stating the source at once, you must give it in the next sentence or paragraph. Do not use reportedly.
Do not refer to just to reports, unconfirmed or otherwise. Specify where the reports are coming from or originate.
Needs is shorter and better.
Only people are responsible for the effects of their actions. Things cause things to happen. Drought caused famine, not was responsible for famine.
Use a stronger, more direct verb, such as cause.
return on equity
On second reference, ROE.
Paul Julius, baron von Reuter (1816-1899) was the founder of Reuters, the name of our news organisation.
If we need to describe the parent company in copy we should write “Thomson Reuters, the global information company.”
We should refer to Reuters in exclusive interviews ("told Reuters") and in stories about the news organisation, e.g., one mentioning the activities of AP, AFP and Reuters in covering a war.
Editorial policy is to use Thomson Reuters for all references to the company in the text of stories.
Capitalise religious titles when they immediately precede a personal name, otherwise use lowercase, e.g., Bishop Thaddeus Smith, Dean Robert Jones, but the bishop, the dean. Use only the simplest and best-known titles at first reference, e.g., the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. John Smith rather than the Right Rev. John Smith.
rock ’n’ roll
The name of the people. Prefer to Gypsy, which is not used by the Roma themselves. Their language is Romany.
The Jewish new year. Occurs in September or October.
Rouble in British English, ruble in American English. The Russian currency. Standardize the spelling based on the region writing the story, and ensure the spelling is consistent within the same story.
Round off unwieldy figures, e.g., Japan produced 1.45 million cars in the six months ended ... not Japan produced 1,453,123 cars ... As a rule round off millions to the nearest 10,000, thousands to the nearest 100, hundreds to the nearest 10. Figures are normally rounded to two significant decimals, with halves rounded upwards. Thus 15.564 becomes 15.56, while 15.565 becomes 15.57. Do not round interest rates. Give them to the full number of decimal places supplied by the source of the information. Round foreign exchange quotations to four decimal places, e.g., the dollar rose to 0.9784 euros. If a country adjusts its currency, any rate given must not be rounded off, e.g., Manchukistan announced a rate of 5.79831 manchuks to the dollar. Do not round company dividends, e.g., the company announced a dividend of 0.123456 pence per share. Where totals do not add up because of rounding, this should be explained.
Do not use for argument or dispute.
Retain the titles of rulers and their consorts at second reference, e.g., King Hussein, Queen Beatrix, the queen. The titles of other members of royal families can be dropped at second reference. In Britain, for instance, Queen Elizabeth’s husband is the Duke of Edinburgh, and at second reference the duke or Prince Philip. Her eldest son is Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. Either title can be used at first reference; then Charles or the prince. Use Roman numerals in referring to royalty, e.g., Charles I, Louis XIV not Charles 1st or Charles the First.
A word with negative overtones in a political context. Use govern as a verb.
run for office
Use for candidates in a presidential election. For those in a parliamentary one, say stand.
See Reporting Rumors in the Guide to Operations []
When a first name in Russian has a close phonetic equivalent in English, use the equivalent in translating the name: Alexander Solzhenitsyn rather than Aleksandr.
When a first name has no close phonetic equivalent in English, express it with an English spelling that approximates the sound in Russian: Dmitry, Nikita, Sergei, for example. If an individual has a preference for an English spelling that is different from the one that would result by applying these guidelines, follow the individual's preference. Example: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
For last names, use the English spelling that most closely approximates the pronunciation in Russian. If an individual has a preference for an English spelling that is different from the one that would result by applying these guidelines, follow the individual's preference.
Women's last names often have the feminine ending "-a." But use this ending only if the woman is not married or if she is known under that name (the tennis player Anna Kournikova). Otherwise, use the masculine form: Mrs. Medvedev.
Russian names never end in off, except for common mistransliterations such as Rachmaninoff. Instead, the transliterations should end in ov: Romanov. Also, Russian names end in "sky," rather than "ski" typical of Polish surnames.
Category: The Reuters General Style Guide