Abbreviations and acronyms

  • Use caps (ITV, BBC).
  • Use full title with abbreviation for first mention. Subsequent mentions can use abbreviation.
  • Exceptions made for those rarely referred to in full (ITV, BBC) or when the abbreviation is commonly used as a word (PETA, NATO).
  • Southampton University Students’ Union can be referred to as SUSU, but try to refer to it as the Students’ Union first.
  • Do not abbreviate months or weekdays.


  • Use when the object belongs to the subject (David’s pen, Hannah’s chair).
  • Not to be used for plurals (birds, houses).
  • Do not shorten words by using apostrophes (doesn’t, isn’t).


  • Use capitals for job titles (President Obama).
  • Do not use capitals for general job roles (Obama the US president).


  • Do not refer to “last week” or “last month” unless in a news article.
  • Use format of day, month, then year (13th July 2013).
  • Always suffix with st, th and rd in lowercase.
  • Use judgement when deciding whether to include the year.


  • Use first and last names on first reference, and then only surname in further references (Kanye West has had an illustrious career. West’s most recent album was critically acclaimed).


  • Write one to nine as text.
  • Write 10 and above as figures.
  • Write the number if beginning a sentence, but try to avoid this (Twenty people have been injured).
  • Write ages as figures.


  • Each paragraph should make a specific point.
  • Length of paragraphs depends on the type of article which you are writing. Refer to the guidelines of the relevant section.


  • Use figures and spell out ‘percent’ (12 percent, 41 percent).


  • Quotes can be broken down into multiples paragraphs if they are too long.

Swear words

  • Generally acceptable in context.
  • Do not use in news writers unless as part of a quote.
  • Use is at the writers discretion, so try and consider context and audience.
  • Do not use asterisks.
  • Other words which may be problematic (racist, homophobic, prejudiced) should only be included as relevant quotes.


  • Use 12 hour clock, with a full stop between hours and minutes (1.30pm, 3am).

Video and audio

  • To embed YouTube videos, click the ‘share’ button below the video and copy the URL. Paste this into the following code and position it in your article (REMOVE ASTERIX FOR CODE TO WORK): [*embed width=”600″]URL[/embed]
  • To embed SoundCloud files, click the ‘share’ button below the track and copy the URL. Paste this into the following code and position it in your article (REMOVE ASTERIX FOR CODE TO WORK): [*soundcloud]URL[/soundcloud]