Essences and news of the new edition of the ‘Style Book’ of EL PAÍS

The newsroom of EL PAÍS, empty during the pandemic.
The newsroom of EL PAÍS, empty during the pandemic.Luis Sevillano Arribas

The twenty-third reprint of the Book of style of EL PAÍS incorporates some changes, but also maintains the principles that have encouraged the work of the newspaper since 1976. This update comes into effect this Sunday, although the printed book will be distributed to points of sale in spring, edited by Aguilar. Like the previous edition (2014), the work includes specific regulations on video and other digital media.

The novelties are in synthesis the following:

Sexist violence. The new text indicates that extreme care must be taken in this information so as not to add unnecessary pain to the victims (in technical language, “do not re-victimize them”). These facts should not be approached like any other event, and their elaboration requires context and data that allow us to move from the specific case to the general problem. The verbal action must fall on the perpetrator of the crime, not on the victim (a man murders a woman, and not a woman is murdered by a man); and the opinions of neighbors and acquaintances who, due to lack of information, tend to present the previous situation as something normal are not considered interesting.

In addition to other questions and advice, the expression “crime of passion” is prohibited, and journalists will also take care not to spread suspicions about possible triggers for violent aggression that can be taken as justification or excuse: “I had drunk”, “I was alone”, “She was wearing a tight skirt” … Efforts will also be made to monitor these types of murders, so as not to convey an idea of ​​impunity through silence.

Sexism in language. The manual recommends reviewing the texts with an egalitarian perspective, and sets a series of criteria in this regard. These include that asymmetries in language and content should be avoided; as well as describing the clothes that a woman wears when in a similar context the same would not be done with a man’s.

Although the gender duplications so present in public language are not assumed, it is recommended to avoid the abusive use of the word “man” (“man will one day come to Mars”, “the rights of man” …) to replace it with options such as “humanity”, “people”, “human beings”, “the person”, “people” and the like.

The vocabulary of the manual also includes some advice on words such as “surrogacy”, “surrogacy”, “skirt mess” … and other terms and phrases with which you can incur sexism.

The grammatical gender. A novelty of this edition is that the forms “judge” and “judges”, “councilor” and “councilor” will be used for the female forms of “judge” and “councilor”; although collaborators who publish opinion articles are exempt from this rule, since the academies consider the alternatives “the judge” and “the judges” equally valid, which offer the same information as “the judge” and “the judges”.

In any case, there are two exceptions. This addition of a feminine morpheme in words that end in a consonant and that have traditionally lacked it in Spanish does not extend to other words (“corresponsal”, “edil”, “fiscal”, “ensign”, “criminal”, “martir “, “young”…).

However, the feminine inflection will be given to military jobs ending in o: “sergenta”, “caba”, “welded” … And the same will happen with “captain” (in the military lexicon “the captain” is used, despite to that in sports, for example, they speak of “the captain of the team”).

EL PAÍS does not assume the generic word formed on the morpheme e (“children”, “journalists”, “friends” …), and neither does the words formed with the letter X or with the symbol of the at sign: “Lxs readers”, “l @s reader @ s “.

Spellings. The writing of some words is modified. Thus, from now on it will read “internet”, with a lower case. The plurals of institutions (“governments”, “councils”, “town halls” …) will also be written in lowercase, but not their singular.

In addition, the “wasap” form has been adopted when it refers to a message and not to the brand (WhatsApp).

Among many other changes, the Greek neo-Nazi group that has been called in EL PAÍS “Golden Dawn” (more correct translation of the Greek noun aygé, due to its reference to light, not so much to the act of the sun rising) will be renamed “Golden Dawn”, an option that has been imposed in the Spanish media. And the name of the Muslim people who live in Myanmar (formerly Burma) will be written “Rohingya”, and not “Rohingya” or “Rohingya” or “Ruaingá” as it has sometimes appeared in this and other media.

Beginning. As in previous editions, the Book of style includes the ethical pillars of EL PAÍS, a newspaper that defines itself as an independent media, with a vocation for Europe and especially Latin America, defender of an equal society between men and women.

The rules on the contrast and verification of the news are also maintained, the necessary faith of errors if a failure has been incurred, the obligation to cite sources when the journalist has not witnessed the facts that are reported, the unavoidable consultation of the injured party for information and the clear division of journalistic genres. This last idea is conceived as a guarantee for the reader and occupies a large space in the book. It is intended that EL PAÍS uses its typography to differentiate each genre and, with it, the different presence of me of the journalist in them: very scarce in the news, but progressively more notable in the interview, the chronicle, the report, the analysis, the criticism, the column, the platform and the editorial. The reader has the right to know to what degree of subjectivity he is in each case.

The Book of style, which includes the Statute of the Editorial Office, is updated from time to time, but maintains the essences that inspired the founders of the newspaper in 1976. In it, many sentences and many criteria that came from the pen of the first person in charge of the manual follow the same wording , Julio Alonso. The main part of this contract with readers has been in force for 45 years.

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