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Editing guidelines for सिर्फ़ News

  1. We use British English. American orthography is, however, permitted for proper nouns that include names of institutions.
    • When you come across “color” or “esophagus”, for example, change them to “colour” or “oesophagus” as the case may be;
    • But “centre” can be written as “Center” in “Center for Disease Control and Prevention” because this name is of an American institution.
  2. Every report must begin with the name of the place from where the incident is being reported. In the case of PIB, it is generally New Delhi. In the cases of Wikinews and Science Daily, you have to figure it out from the report. Examples:
  3. The name of the city will be followed by a colon (:). The name of the city along with the colon will be in bold. There will be no space between the city’s name and the colon, but one space after the colon and the first letter of the first word of the report.
  4. Honorific:
    • (Shri/Smt/Mr/Ms/Mrs) should be removed from the PIB reports;
    • Newspapers do not use the honorific “Dr” for doctorates. It is reserved for medical practitioners. For example, you can write “Dr Harsh Vardhan”; you cannot write “Dr Subramanian Swamy”;
    • The definite article “the” before a designation is used by papers that precede names with the honorific “Mr” which, in turn, is preceded by a comma. Those who don’t use honorifics drop this article. For example, some newspapers will write “the Minister of State for Power, Mr Piyush Goyal”; our style is “Minister of State for Power Piyush Goyal”.
  5. The dot:
    • No dot between initials of people’s names: We write “VVS Laxman”, not “V.V.S. Laxman”;
    • No dot with “Dr”, “Rs”… We write “Dr Naresh Trehan”, not “Dr. Naresh Trehan”. We write “Rs 100”, not “Rs. 100”.
  6. No “/-” sign after an amount in rupees. You will encounter this often in PIB reports.
  7. Date:
    • We use the British order: DD (in figures) month (in words) YYYY (in figures);
    • No comma is supposed to be used in this format of dates: “26 February 2015”; the comma is suitable in the American format: “February 26, 2015”, which we don’t use;
    • No supercript “st”, “nd”, “rd” or “th” with a date: It is not “26th February 2015” (that is a way of speaking, not writing);
    • The current year is never mentioned in a media report. Between 1 January and 31 December of this year, for example, “2016” will never be mentioned; only the day and the month will be. Only when we reach the next year that this year will find mentions. Or, we could have mentioned it when 2016 was yet to arrive. Scenarios:
      • “Netaji-related files will be declassified on 23 January 2016.” — reporting the announcement in October 2015
      • “Netaji-related files were declassified on 23 January.” — reporting in 2016
      • “Netaji-related files were declassified on 23 January 2016.” — recalling the event in 2017 or later
  1. Headlines:
    • Articles “a”, “an”, “the” and forms of the verb “be” (is, are, was, were, etc) are avoided to the extent possible in headlines;
    • In a headline of a report, all letters except the first letter of the sentence will be in lower case except for proper nouns;
    • Use upper case initials throughout the headline only for articles by columnists;
    • A headline is not supposed to end with a punctuation mark except in a few cases where it is a quote: for example, if Modi has said Start-Up India will boost the economy, the headline can be Start-Up India will boost economy: PM or ‘Start-Up India will boost economy’ (if there is no space left to write “PM”, the headline ends in a single inverted comma; a headline cannot have a double quote);
    • An acronym is used in a headline only when the full form is well-known: AIR, BJP, SP, BSP, DMK, etc. Otherwise, we use the term fully. Normally, though, acronyms are not needed in a headline. We choose such a phrase that will strike the reader the most;
    • A typical PIB report: “MoU signed” cannot be a headline. What the MoU seeks to do can be. For example, “Labour and Environment Ministry signs 8 MoUs for connecting Job Providers and Job Seekers” should change to “Effort to connect job providers and seekers”. What ministry is doing it and how many MoUs were signed for it are details that the reader will get from the body of the report.
  2. We have initiated a style of writing all numerals in figures including those from the range 0-9. In standard newspapers, it is “zero, one, two, three… nine, 10, 11, 12…” our style is “0, 1, 2, 3… 9, 10, 11, 12…” “The action involves two ministries” will change to “the action involves 2 ministries”; the only exception is where the first word of a sentence begins with a numeral: “Five persons were arrested…”
  3. All non-English terms should be italicised unless they are proper nouns; for example, yojanais italicised, but the same word is not in Atal Pension Yojana.
  4. “Centre” that has the sense of “Union government” has upper case ‘C’, but “central” does not.
  5. The “State” that refers to a province begins with an upper case because its counterpart “Union Territory” begins with capital initials. But the “state” that means “the nation state” has a lower case initial.
  6. It’s Constitution, but “constitutional”; “Parliament” but “parliamentary”.
  7. It’s the “Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry”, but “the commission” (when the name of the head of the commission is not mentioned).
  8. The ‘M’ in “Minister” should be in uppercase only when mentioned with the name:
    • “Power Minister Piyush Goyal said…”, but “the minister said…”
    • “the Ministry of Environment & Forests is studying a file…”, but “the ministry is studying a file…’.
      • The words for designations appear with upper case initials only when they appear for the first time in a report. In all subsequent mentions, since the proper nouns are removed, the upper case turns lower.
  9. Do not use upper case initials except for proper nouns:
    • “Acquisition and Merger”: this is erroneous; it needs to be changed to “acquisition and merger”;
    • No common noun goes with an upper case initial; “Skill India”, for example, will have upper case initials, but “thousands have acquired technical skills since the programme was launched” will obviously not have a “Skill”; it will be “skill”;
    • The term “government” appears with an upper case initial only while writing “Government of India (or of another country or of a State of our or another country); otherwise it is always “government” (lower case ‘g’).
  10. “Lakh” and “crore” should not go as “lakhs” and “crores”; “crore” should not be “cr” (except in a headline).
  11. Units of measuring physical quantities
    • Never expressed in plural:
      • mm, cm, m, km etc;
      • l (or litre), sq ft, sq m, etc.
    • Prefixes of these units till kilo (1,000) have lower case initials; thereafter, it is upper case: e.g., kW but MW and GW;
    • Units named after scientists have upper case initials, e.g., Watt – W, Ampere – A, Pascal – Pa, etc;
    • Correct all popular misrepresentations: hour is “h”, not “hr”; second is “s”, not “sec”; metre is “m” while minute is “min”.
  12. For paucity of space in the slot given for headlines (both in newspapers and portals), certain words are always written in the abbreviated or acronym form: government – govt, governor – guv, prime minister – PM, chief minister – CM, etc.
  13. Neither in the headline nor in the body do we write “UNO” or “USA”. We write “the UN” and “the US”. The “the” can be avoided in a headline.