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An award winning media company committed to sharing the perspectives of people of colour from marginalised genders

Style Guide

Content

About gal-dem

gal-dem is a magazine and media platform committed to sharing perspectives from people of colour of marginalised genders. We are celebrated for content that supports and gives voice to our varied communities – and brings joy to them too.

Our focus is on the stories of marginalised communities and incorporates everything from social justice and institutional corruption to cultural touchpoints and wellbeing. Our vision is to become widely known as an editorial platform for original analysis and ambitious investigative reporting. We write in a tone of voice that is accessible, conversational, compassionate, progressive and punchy.

gal-dem strives to be inclusive. We avoid othering people and cultures. However, we recognise that language is not fixed. What feels right today might not feel right tomorrow and our differing contexts impact the words we use. Through consultation with members of various communities, we will always strive to use the best language at any given time; while leaving room for individuals to bring their own contexts to the words they use as journalists. To that end, we are open to discussing the language we use and adapting it in the future.

Our Style Guide

The gal-dem style guide exists for the benefit of our editors and writers to create consistency and accuracy across our copy, help readers understand our communications and build trust. We also believe, with the development of our ‘sensitivity and inclusivity’ section, that our style guide offers a particularly progressive approach to language in relation to gal-dem’s aim of sharing perspectives from people of colour of marginalised genders against the backdrop of a whitewashed media landscape.

Production Notes

Anonymising writers and interviewees

The anonymisation of writers and interviewees should be agreed in advance of publication and in conjunction with relevant laws and the editor’s code. Anonymisation should only be granted in specific circumstances and editors should be conscious of explaining this reasoning to writers, just as writers should explain why they can or cannot grant anonymity to their interviewees.

Our general policy is not to anonymise the writers of articles or interviewees within articles pre or post-publication unless:

  1. There is a safeguarding issue
  2. There is a legal concern or complaint
  3. The interviewee or writer who wishes to remain anonymous is providing access to a crucial story in the public interest. In instances of multi-interview features, apart from under exceptional circumstances, no more than half of the interviews should be anonymous.
  4. The article was published when gal-dem was a voluntary publication (pre-March 2019) and the writer makes said request, not the interviewee

On the first occasion a pseudonym is used, a star should appear next to the name i.e Aisha*. An italicised note should appear at the end of the copy reading: *Names have been changed to protect identities.

Removing or moderating articles on our website

Removing or moderating articles sets a precedent that doesn’t align with our values around transparency and the integrity of our journalistic archive in terms of the public record; this is in line with most, if not all, professional media organisations in the UK and beyond.

Our general policy is not to delete articles or moderate them post-publication unless:

  1. There is a factual inaccuracy
  2. There is a safeguarding concern
  3. There is a legal concern or complaint
  4. The article was published when gal-dem was a voluntary publication (pre-March 2019) and the writer makes said request, not an interviewee

If we do make a large factual correction to an article (beyond a typo) we will put a note at the bottom in italics, reading: *This article was amended on DATE to state that XXX. An earlier version mistakenly said XXX.

Article formats

There are roughly five types of article formats that gal-dem publishes. These are:

  1. Comment pieces
  2. Personal essays
  3. Q&A interviews
  4. Profile interviews (where you’re interviewing a single person)
  5. Multi-interview features (where you’re interviewing multiple people within an analysis-led or news-led piece)

More details can be found in our pitching guide.

Headlines
  • Headlines are written in sentence case, without a full stop.
  • Single quotes are used around quoted speech in headlines.
  • Single quotes are also used in headlines around books, films, TV shows etc. ONLY if the meaning is compromised without.
Standfirsts

Standfirsts are written in sentence case, with a full stop.

Captions and credits

Captions and credits should appear directly under the image and are styled in italics as follows:

Illustration by [name of illustrator, linked to their IG or website]

Photography by [name of photographer, linked to their IG or website]

Photography via [Creative Commons / Flickr / Unsplash etc.] / [name of photographer]

Still via [Universal Studios / BBC / Netflix / YouTube] / [name of programme]

Endnotes

Endnotes are styled in italics and take a full stop. If the endnote contains words that are already italicised (e.g. the name of a book), these should be left in italics (not changed to regular).

Suggested endnotes for stories about suicide, domestic abuse, and other types of trauma:

In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or you can email [email protected] or [email protected] In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org

In the UK, call Galop’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans+ Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 999 5428, the national domestic abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit Women’s Aid. In the US, the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Other international helplines can be found via www.befrienders.org

Text SHOUT to 85258 from anywhere in the UK, anytime 24/7, about any type of crisis, including suicidality.

In the US, TrevorLifeline, TrevorChat, and TrevorText provide LGBTQ+ crisis support. If you are thinking about suicide and in need of immediate support, please call the TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386 or select TrevorChat below to connect with a counsellor.

 

Pull quotes

Pull quotes are written with double quotation marks, in sentence case, and do not take a full stop. Names should only be added to pull quotes when there are multiple interviewees.

Pull quotes should paraphrase over using parentheses e.g.

NO: “[Growing up with mixed heritage] made me realise that no two groups of people are the same”

YES: “Growing up with mixed heritage made me realise that no two groups of people are the same”

Q&As
  • gal-dem should not be italicised in Q&As.
  • Q&A interviews don’t require speech marks.
  • Question in bold, answer in regular.
  • Use full names, each in bold, on first mention only.

Example 1)
gal-dem: Question
Poppy Ajudha: Answer

Example 2)
Question
Answer

 

Sponsored content

All sponsored content should be categorised and tagged as Sponsored Content to pull through sponsored content formatting.

The sponsor should also be mentioned at the beginning of the body copy, in italics, as follows:
Supported by X

Used to describe editorially independent content where funding has been accepted from a third party. This may describe new content or pre-planned content. Before funds are exchanged, the relevant gal-dem editor is consulted on the suitability of the funding for the project. gal-dem and its commissioning editors are not obliged to accept ideas or changes from the funder. gal-dem is not required to show content or edits to the funder for approval.

This is also used to describe content that has been produced using funding from foundations or organisations engaged in philanthropic funding.

Produced in partnership with X / Sponsored by X
Used to describe content funded by a brand partner for the purposes of advertisement, marketing or communication to gal-dem readers. gal-dem has been paid to produce this content and was obliged to consider (but not accept) feedback and edit suggestions from the end funder. All partnership content is the result of a creative strategy devised by gal-dem staff and worked out in partnership with a marketing or media agency and brand client.

Content warnings

The red content warning label should be included for articles that mention sexual assault, child abuse, domestic abuse, suicide, eating disorders, self-harm, discriminatory language, racism, transphobia, queerphobia (homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia etc.), Islamophobia, antisemitism, casteism, miscarriage and abortion, mental illness and/or ableism.

Content warnings should also appear at the beginning of the body copy and are styled in bold, as follows:

Content warning: This article contains mentions of suicide and self-harm.

Reporting on self-harm and suicide

Self-harm and suicide must be covered with extreme sensitivity. Providing information on how to contact organisations where people can find support is essential, as well as avoiding coverage which includes details of self harm or suicide methods and/or sensationalises or romanticises suicidal behaviour.

Additional resources: Guidance for reporting on self-harm from Samaritans.

Reporting on eating disorders

Additional resources: Guidance on reporting on eating disorders from Beat

Questions?

For any questions, comments or suggestions about our style guide, please email [email protected]