Cultural Daily Style & Formatting Guide
Cultural Daily will continue the style guidelines established previously for Cultural Weekly, with a few additional items added. Because our group of writers is so diverse, varying, and not entirely based in the US, a traditional style guide doesn’t apply in many cases. We leave most questions of style and usage up to you and only try to make sure nothing is confusing. We do want consistency after all, so please use the following as a guide for formatting and styling. There may be cases with exceptions, of course. For basics of style, outside of what are listed below, please refer to Chicago Manual of Style.
- Capitalize first letter of each word only, unless there is a name or acronym that is all caps (i.e. USA or SETI).
- Use blockquote style for blockquotes, quotes, other emphasis. In general, use block quotes only if the selected quote is longer than 3 lines of text.
- Do not use when quoting from poems.
- Do not bold unless necessary. Bolding words are meant for adding emphasis. Too much usage makes the non-bolded words disappear.
- An ellipsis ( … ) is meant only to signal that something is missing or has been skipped, an omission. Therefore it should be a rare stylistic choice. When using, each period should have a space on either side, except when adjacent to a quotation mark (“), in which case there are no spaces. Keep minimal.
- For subheadings or titles, use Header 2 (extra emphasis) or Header 3 (preferred).
- Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc) are NOT meant for body of text, so avoid tagging sentences and paragraphs with them for emphasis.
- Periods, commas and other punctuation should go inside quotation marks, except for semi-colons and question marks.
- All quotations, dialogue, etc. should appear in double quotation marks, not single. (ie. “Hello,” she said. NOT ‘Hello,’ she said.)
- When using blockquote style, quotation marks are NOT necessary.
- Oxford Comma: Yes. Please use. The Oxford comma goes between the last and second-to-last items in a list.
- After a colon, please use a lowercase letter. (Stick to this even if what follows after the colon contains an independent clause.)
- One space after periods, not two.
- One line break after paragraphs, not two or more.
- For consistency, we use video games, not videogames.
- We use internet, not Internet.
- We use iPhone, not Iphone.
- We use LA, not L.A. (and NY/NYC, not N.Y./N.Y.C.).
- Titles of books, albums, films, TV shows, work of art should be italicized.
- Titles of poems, short stories, songs, individual episodes of TV series, book chapters should appear in quotes.
- For example, The Recognitions by William Gaddis; “Dinner” by Alissa Nutting.
- Do not use unless necessary. Underlining online is confusing and makes text appear like a link.
- For FEATURED IMAGE, the image should be formatted to 500 px high by 1280 px wide. Please be aware that the site will crop it to these dimensions; it’s better if you do it yourself so you get the image you want. Maximum size 1 MB.
- For images in the BODY of the article, images should be no wider than 1200px. Maximum size 1 MB.
- For your Author’s page PROFILE IMAGE, the minimum size should be 300 px by 300 px; the maximum size should be 500 px by 500 px. Maximum size 500 kB. It should be a square image, because the side will position it inside a circle. Please make sure there is some open space above your head so the site doesn’t give you a haircut!
- For your Author’s page COVER IMAGE, the size is 225 px high by 1300 px wide. Please be aware that the site will crop it to these dimensions; it’s better if you do it yourself so you get the image you want. Maximum size 1 MB.
- If your images are bigger, please resize them before uploading. If smaller, please find a bigger version online or in your photo library, because smaller images will appear blurry on the site.
- How do you reduce the file size? There are a bunch of instructions available online. You need to search by what you use: Windows, Apple, etc.
- You must have permission to use the image, or it must be available under Creative Commons license. All images must be credited. You may not use any image that is not permissioned (just because an image is on the internet does not mean you can use it!).
- Must add CAPTION to every image. A simple credit for the photo will do (who is in the photo, what the photo is from, who took the photo).
- Alt-text description of images is something that most people have looked past. But it is an essential best practice to add this. Alt-text is what allows the hard of seeing/blind to experience the images. Software can read this out. So try your best to DESCRIBE what is in the image, the way you see it, the way you experience it. We will help you in editing these but let’s really make it habit. Here’s a link to some best alt-text practices.
- Reviews should have all relevant information (Title / by Author / Publisher, Release Date / Page Numbers, Purchase Links) at top of post. Links should include link to publisher page, record label, or Amazon.
- We lean on the principle that more disclosure and more transparency is generally a good thing. So when relevant, it’s a good practice to acknowledge when reviewers have special/personal relationships with those they are reviewing or other special circumstances that should be acknowledged.