To the delight of Internet writers everywhere, BuzzFeed published their internal style guide today. There are some obvious points of humor — the correct capitalization of “catfished” and “?! (never !?)” are just two examples.
But as was mentioned on Twitter this week, the Internet is a place where new words are invented all the time, and inevitably, journalists need rules around how to type them. Here’s BuzzFeed on how they came up with guidelines for everything from acronyms to headlines, corrections to formatting:
BuzzFeed publishes news and entertainment in the language of the web, and in our work we rely on a style guide to govern everything from hard-hitting journalism to fun quizzes. We value consistency and accuracy across those formats and categories. (For instance: Knowing how to treat numbers is important, but so is correctly spelling “fangirl.”) Our perspective reflects that of the internet at large, which is why we hope other sites and organizations across the web will find these guidelines useful. This style guide will be updated regularly to ensure it remains relevant and responds accordingly to changes in language and common, casual usage.
And one last bit of inadvertent, uh, advice:
Avoid “The Internet Did ____” / “All Of The Internet” “Everyone On The Internet” as a frame/device in headlines
Editor’s note: I’m happy to note that BuzzFeed style and Nieman Lab style agree often: no exclamation point on Yahoo, the serial comma, spaces around em dashes, startup vs. start up vs. start-up. But we use ebook rather than e-book, still capitalize Internet, use liveblog and livestream as one word rather than two, and take no firm position on the capitalization of “Juggalo.”
— Caroline O'Donovan