Let’s create a universal style guide for web subs

Get your red pen out, or should that be grey mouse? The first steps towards a style guide for subs and copy editors working online are being taken by Martin Stabe, online editor at Retail Week. Huzzah!

This follows The Times finally changing its style for Bombay to Mumbai. Because even though the city officially changed its name in 1995, the recent attacks have zoomed Mumbai up the Google search rankings, so much so that it has now become the preferred search term of UK users. It seems The Times is playing the SEO game – and rightly so.

Martin says he’ll be posting a public Google Docs soon for subs to contribute to. But I wonder if a wiki might allow for a wider take on this, encompassing a central place to house preferred search terms across a multitude of topics. Think of all the online women’s sites, for example, that would like to know that ‘lose weight’ is the search term to write in over ‘diet’ (according to Google Trends).

Anyone up for it?

Also, since ‘fall’ scores higher than ‘autumn’ and ‘copy editors’ beats ‘subs’, should we also start brushing up on our American English?

5 responses to “Let’s create a universal style guide for web subs

  1. A wiki would indeed be the ideal solution for this. Wish I had the time to set one up!

  2. Might have a go after I’ve moved my website into blog format, migrated my wordpress.com into wordpress.org and done my Xmas shopping.

    Any other earlier takers?

  3. I’ve put up a template on Journalism.co.uk for one – http://www.journalism.co.uk/36/105/ but I’ve put nothing in it yet.

    If anyone wants to get the ball rolling, the actual wiki is at http://www.journalism.co.uk/journalist/public:style_guide_for_online_sub-editors – whatever appears there will also appear on our page.

    I’ve separated it into alphabetical sections for now but this can be changed at a later date.

    You will need to know some wiki syntax but it’s all neatly explained here – http://www.journalism.co.uk/journalist/wiki:syntax

    Have fun!

  4. Thanks John. I’ll upload SEO style points of interest as I come across them.

  5. Pingback: Style guide wiki now up for online subs and copy editors « Subs’ Standards