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JWU's Editorial Style Guide 2018 Update

Annually, University Communications reviews and updates the Johnson & Wales University editorial style guide. The guidelines are set using the rules in place by the Associated Press (AP) as its primary authority because much of JWU writing is intended for external audiences. To that, there are also rules of use for terms that are specific to Johnson & Wales for readers already familiar with JWU – students, faculty, staff and alumni.

The editorial style guide is to be used for all written communications (print and web) by all members of the JWU community. Universitywide consistency in writing style builds the credibility and effectiveness of our media and greatly enhances our audiences’ understanding of JWU.

This year’s review resulted in a number of significant changes.

  1. There is no longer a separate “web style guide.” Exceptions to print standards for web writing are noted in the editorial style guide with a computer mouse icon. Pages 34-37 of the style guide include web writing and formatting tips.

  2. Academic Degrees

    • This area has been broken out into two sections, which outlines when to lowercase and when to uppercase degrees.

    • All academic degrees, with the exception of MBA and DBA, use periods and no spaces in between (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.). This is for print AND on the web.

    • Additional guidance is included on how to use “Dr.” Do not refer to individuals who hold non-medical doctoral degrees with the formal title “Dr.” in any text.

  3. Alumni – the definition of this term has been updated. JWU no longer uses “alumnae” when referring to a group of female graduates. The term “alum” is also acceptable for casual references.

  4. Campus – in addition to the formal campus name, Providence Campus, you may also refer to the campus as JWU Providence.

  5. Numbers – one through nine are spelled out; 10 and beyond are represented by numerals. This is for print AND on the web.

  6. Percent – should always be spelled out when used in text. This is for print AND on the web. The symbol (%) is acceptable only in charts and other graphic designs.

  7. Plus Signs – do not use a plus sign (+) in place of the word “and.”

The following standards have not changed but can be commonly misused.

  1. Academic Years – first-year, sophomore, junior and senior. The university does not use the word “freshman” to describe first-year students.

  2. Ampersands – these are only used when part of a formal name; it should never be used in place of “and” when it is not part of the name.

  3. Class Years (under Alumni) – When using the class year after the name of an alumnus, use a left-facing apostrophe. Never put a comma between the alumnus’ name and the apostrophe and class year. Use commas only to separate multiple class years. Examples provided in style guide.

    • Exception – if the person has a doctorate degree from another institution but is also a JWU undergraduate or graduate alumnus, you would use a comma between the doctoral degree and JWU class year (i.e. Larry Rice, Ed.D., ’90)

  4. Dates/Days of the Week

    • Capitalize the names of months and spell them out. Only in tabular materials can you use the three-letter forms with no period.

    • Do not abbreviate days of the week, except when needed in a tabular format (three letters and no periods).

    • Do not use “th” or “st” when writing a formal date
      Correct: October 20, 2018 or October 31
      Incorrect: October 20th, 2018 or October 31st

  5. Exclamation Points – please use with restraint.

  6. Time

    • Print – use numerals plus lowercase a.m. or p.m. (with a space between the numeral and letters).

    • Web – use numerals plus lowercase am or pm (with NO space between the numeral and letters).

    • Noon and midnight are to be used in place of 12; both are lowercase.

    • Only use a colon when minutes follow the hour. Example: 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

  7. Department/Office (under Titles) – the terms “department” and “office” are only used when the word is part of its official title. Examples provided in style guide.

  8. Universitywide – always one word with no hyphen (like campuswide and systemwide). It is not capitalized.

Any questions, please contact Jennifer Brouillard, senior writer-editor, at 401-598-2355, or Lauren Tkacs, manager of internal communications, at 401-598-4995.