The Daily Universe supplement to the AP Stylebook
Most recent update: Dec. 1, 2021
Following the alphabetical list are sections on:
Covering the Utah Legislature
Covering Cops and Courts
academic degrees Use bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate. Doctoral is the adjective form of doctorate. Bachelor’s degree, but associate degree (note the lack of possessive). When necessary, you may use B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., MBA, Ph.D. and other degree abbreviations after the name. Follow AP style: “…when necessary or appropriate for a specific audience: Cassandra Karoub, who has a doctorate in mathematics, was lead researcher. In a list: Stephanie D’Ercole, Ph.D.”
academic titles You may use the title professor in front of the name of anyone who teaches at a university (e.g., “communications professor Karen Smith”). Professor is a job title and is lowercase in all uses except at the beginning of a sentence.
If a person’s formal title is long enough to be cumbersome, it is preferable to put that after their name (e.g., “John James, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, announced today…;” “John James, associate professor of communications;” “John Jacob, Director of the Marriott School of Management;” “John Dancy, visiting professor of communications”).
Formal titles listed before a name are upper-cased; occupational titles used as a substitute for a person’s name are lower-cased (e.g., dean, department chair, vice president). In the case of the president of the university, the title must be used on every subsequent reference (e.g., President Worthen). These titles are never abbreviated.
addresses List addresses by house number in numerals, followed by direction abbreviated, and street (e.g., 1084 S. 1000 West). Don’t abbreviate the street number — 10th West is not acceptable. Drive, Lane, Circle, Ave., Blvd., etc., should be used if it is part of the address (e.g., 2425 Jefferson Blvd). Only Ave., Blvd. and St. should be abbreviated if listed with a numbered address. If no street number is given, use Avenue, Boulevard and Street. In incomplete addresses, spell out the North, South, East or West. For campus addresses, use the room number followed by the building abbreviation if there is one (e.g., 3328 WSC). However, named areas follow the abbreviation (e.g., WSC Ballroom, JSB Auditorium).
adviser Never advisor. However, Advisory. Please note the spelling differences.
alumni People who used to attend a given university. A man who used to attend is an alumnus; a woman who used to attend is an alumna; women who used to attend are alumnae; men who used to attend are alumni. Alumni is also used as a plural when describing a group of both sexes. Alum is acceptable in all informal references and preferable in headlines.
ASB Abraham O. Smoot Administration Building. Smoot Building is also acceptable on first reference. The building name can be abbreviated on first reference if a room number or named area is included (e.g., C-373 ASB).
attendees Do not use. Same with “audience members.”
bachelor’s degree Do not capitalize. However, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science.
Ballroom Dance Company
because of Use because of, not due to.
before Use before, not prior to.
Berkeley A city in California. It is frequently misspelled, so note the spelling.
Board of Trustees Capitalize on first reference, then lowercase the board on subsequent references. For comments concerning the board, contact Carri Jenkins.
Bowling & Games Center The activity center located on the first floor of the Wilkinson Student Center. No longer referred to as simply the Game Center.
boy A male younger than 18 years old. Once 18, he is referred to as a man.
Brigham Square The plaza northwest of the Wilkinson Student Center.
Buildings Use the surname and type of building on first reference to a campus building (Brimhall Building, Hinckley Center, Wilkinson Student Center). If the building is not named after a person, use the official campus name (see below).
In cases where the surname alone does not distinguish the building clearly, use the full name of the building on first reference (not Clark Building but Herald R. Clark Building or J. Reuben Clark Building; not Smith Building but Joseph F. Smith Building, Joseph Smith Building).
If the first reference includes a room number, use the official abbreviation (e.g., E-509 HFAC or WSC Ballroom). The building abbreviation can be used on second reference, but some buildings should always be called by their common campus names (e.g., Marriott Center, Maeser Building and Smith Fieldhouse).
Capitalize room only when used in conjunction with a room number (e.g., “Students will meet in Room 250.”).
Below is a list of campus facilities sorted (mostly) by abbreviation. Listed are full names, alternative acceptable first references (in bold) and acceptable second references.
ALLN Allen Hall (houses Museum of Peoples and Cultures)
AXMB Auxiliary Maintenance Building
B66 B-66 Classroom/Lab Building
B67 B-67 Houses Outdoors Unlimited
MLBM Bean Life Science Museum, Bean Museum
BELL Centennial Carillon Tower, Carillon Tower
BNSN Benson Building
BRWB Brewster Building
BYUB BYU Broadcasting Building
BRMB Brimhall Building
CANC Cannon Center
PPCH Central Heating and Cooling
CMB Chemicals Management Building
HRCB Herald R. Clark Building
JRCB J. Reuben Clark Building (houses the J. Reuben Clark Law School)
CLFB Benjamin Cluff Jr. Building, Cluff Building
CB Clyde Engineering Building
CONF BYU Conference Center, Conference Center
CTB Crabtree Technology Building
CSC Culinary Support Center
CONE Creamery on Ninth East, Creamery on Ninth
LVES LaVell Edwards Stadium
ELLB Ellsworth Building
ESC Eyring Science Center
FOB Faculty Office Building
FB Fletcher Building
FLSR Foreign Language Student Residence. On-campus housing across the street from the MTC.
FPH Former Presidents’ Home
HGB Grant Building (Contains the Testing Center)
PPGO Grounds Office
HCEB Caroline Harman Continuing Education Building, Harman Continuing Education Building. Note the spelling of Harman.
HFAC Harris Fine Arts Center
QBOT Harrison Arboretum and Botany Pond Quad, Botany Pond
HAWF Haws Field
HL Helaman Halls
HLRA Helaman Recreation Area
HR Heritage Halls
HC Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center, Hinckley Center
IPF Indoor Practice Facility
IWRA Intramural Recreation Area
ITB Information Technology Building
KMBL Spencer W. Kimball Tower, Kimball Tower. SWKT is no longer acceptable.
AKH Amanda Knight Hall
JKB Jesse Knight Building, JKB on second reference.
AXLB Auxiliary Services Laundry Building
LDSP LDS Philanthropies Building
HBLL Harold B. Lee Library, library on second reference unless the full name is need to avoid ambiguity. Do not use Lee Library.
Life Sciences Building
MSRB Maeser Building
MC Marriott Center; where devotionals, forums and basketball games occur.
MARB Martin Building
B49 Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, Maxwell Institute
MB McDonald Building
MCKB McKay Building
MLRP Miller Park (Baseball/Softball Complex) See the sports section for field names
MTC Missionary Training Center
MORC Morris Center
PPMV Motor Pool Vehicle Shelter
MOA Museum of Art
NICB Nicholes Building
RB Richards Building
RBF Richards Building Fields
JSB Joseph Smith Building
JFSB Joseph F. Smith Building, JFSB on second reference.
SFH Smith Fieldhouse. Note that fieldhouse is one word.
SFLD Smith Fieldhouse South Field
ASB Smoot Administration Building
SNLB Snell Building
SAB Student Athlete Building
SASB Student Auxiliary Services Building
SHC Student Health Center
TMCB Talmage Math Sciences/Computer Building, Talmage Building
TNRB Tanner Building
TLRB Taylor Building
TCB Tennis Courts Building
TCF Outdoor Tennis Courts
TRAK Track and Field Complex (see Sports Guidelines for track name)
UPC University Parkway Center
UPB University Press Building, Press Building
ROTC Wells Building (Air Force/Army Reserve)
WIDB Widtsoe Building
WSC Ernest L. Wilkinson Student Center, Wilkinson Student Center
WT Wymount Terrace
WOAB Wymount Administration Building
WP Wyview Park
WBCB Wyview Park Central Building
BYU Preferable in all references to Brigham Young University. The Y is acceptable in headlines.
BYU campus Written as the BYU campus when the two words are together, so “Students on campus,” BUT when “BYU” is included, “Students on the BYU campus”).
BYU Store Lower-case store on second reference. It can be referred to on second reference as the bookstore if the story is primarily about textbooks.
BYU—Hawaii Acceptable on all references for Brigham Young University—Hawaii. It is in Laie, Hawaii. Use an em dash. Do not abbreviate as BYU-H.
BYU—Idaho Acceptable on all references for Brigham Young University—Idaho. Used to be called Ricks College. It is in Rexburg, Idaho. Use an em dash. Do not abbreviate as BYU-I.
BYUSA Acceptable to use for every reference to Brigham Young University Student Service Association. BYUSSA is not acceptable. It may not be called a student government, though its officers are called student body officers. BYUSA offices are located at 3400 WSC.
Center for Service and Learning Lowercase center on second reference. On the second floor of the WSC.
Chair The proper title for the head of a department and should be capitalized if used before a person’s name. On second reference, the person belonging to the title decides whether they are referred to as chairman, chairwoman or chair. Do not use chairperson.
Church Style Guide for Editors and Writers Follow the conventions found in the Church’s style guide (6th Edition here) when they do not conflict with The Daily Universe’s own supplemental style guide.
cities Utah cities not commonly known should be listed with the name of a more well-known city nearby (e.g., “She grew up in Clarkston, near Logan.”). It is also helpful to tell how far towns are from better-known places (e.g., “Daryl Gibson grew up in Nephi, 38 miles south of Provo.”). Cities in Utah County do not need description.
City Council Uppercase as a proper name when referring to a specific city council, even when not preceded by the name of the city (e.g., “The City Council determined …”). A member of a council is a councilman or councilwoman. The title should be capitalized before a name.
clubs Capitalize names of campus clubs (e.g., Folk Club, Tall Club, etc.). Lowercase club when not using the full name.
College of Eastern Utah A state junior college in Price, UT. It may be called CEU on second reference.
colleges and schools BYU is composed of various colleges and schools. Colleges and schools may contain departments and other schools. A current list of colleges, schools and departments can be found here.
Colombia (country), Columbia (city, river, university)
Oxford/Serial comma Do not put a comma before and or or in a series, except when clarity requires it. (e.g., “She brought apples, oranges and bananas,” BUT, “She took a photograph of her parents, the president, and the vice president.”). The media industry quite often thinks the AP style is harder on the Oxford comma than it really is. The stylebook simply defaults to not using it unless it is needed for clarity.
Community of Christ Church formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (RLDS). Note that the church’s name is not preceded by the.
contractions Per AP Stylebook guidelines: “Contractions reflect informal speech and writing. … Avoid excessive use of contractions. Contractions listed in the dictionary are acceptable, however, in informal contexts where they reflect the way a phrase commonly appears in speech or writing.”
campus Written as the BYU campus when the two words are together, so “Students on campus,” BUT when “BYU” is included, “Students on the BYU campus”).
corrections Usually made in the top section on Page 2, although Page 1 errors are corrected on Page 1 and Opinion Page errors are corrected on the Opinion Page. Corrections should not, in most cases, repeat the misinformation. They should tell the date and page of the error and give the corrected information. They should not express regret. The wording of corrections must be cleared by an adviser.
Cougar Capitalize in reference to university members, but lowercase for reference to a furry animal.
Cougar Cash No longer Signature Card.
Cougareat The fast-food area on the second floor of the WSC. Cougareat is acceptable on all references.
BYU Counseling and Psychological Services CAPS is appropriate on second reference. Also use CAPS in captions and in headlines. If used in a headline, make sure CAPS is paired with BYU to give it context.
COVID-19 Follow AP style. Lighter, cultural stories about the pandemic that started in the U.S. in 2020 can also refer to “Rona,” especially in headlines, but those stories are likely few. See also “Pandemic.”
court Utah County is served by the 4th District Court. Utah is served by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Denver. Spell out the number if it begins a sentence.
CPART The Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts is a division of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. Call it “the center” on second reference. Do not use the acronym except in direct quotes.
currently Don’t use unless necessary to preserve meaning (e.g., “She works at BYU,” NOT, “She currently works at BYU.”).
The Daily Universe or The Universe Capitalize “The” when using “The Universe” as an adjective. In it’s adjectivial form, “the” may be dropped (e.g., “Daily Universe reporter Aaron Fitzner is the go-to guy for all things sports.”). The Universe is appropriate to use as an adjective. Otherwise always use The Daily Universe. Do not italicize the name of the newspaper.
datelines Use to indicate the city where the reporting took place if outside the print edition’s core circulation area (Provo and Orem). If a reporter writes about a basketball game against Gonzaga but does the reporting from Provo, no dateline is necessary. If the reporter covers the game from Gonzaga, the story would have a SPOKANE dateline.
Election stories and weather stories that cover a broad area have no dateline. Datelines should include city in all caps and state with standard punctuation. Some well-known cities may stand on their own per AP Stylebook guidelines. Utah datelines never need Utah in them but the county should be included if the city is obscure.
Dateline rules extend internationally as well. A story about the BYU Jerusalem Center would only include a dateline if it was reported on from Jerusalem.
dates Dates follow the month, day, year format, with the year set off by commas (e.g., “Dec 7, 1941, is a date which will live in infamy.”) Only include the year if it is not the current calendar year. Abbreviate the month only if the day is included and not when it stands on its own. The AP Stylebook lists months that are abbreviated: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. When using only the month and year, write out the name of the month and do not separate with commas (e.g., January 1992).
For the Daily Universe publications online and in print, include the day of the week alongside the date (note: This differs from AP style) (e.g., Friday, Oct.5). When time and date are mentioned together, use time, day or date (e.g., “The ceremony is at 2 p.m., Oct. 4,” or “The event begins at 2 p.m., Tuesday.”). Do not use on in between the time and day. For an event happening within seven days simply state the day of the week and not the actual calendar date. (e.g., “The city council meeting will be held Tuesday night.”)
Dean The title of the head of a college and some schools. Capitalize only if the title directly precedes a name (e.g., Dean H. Reese Hansen). The head of Student Life also takes the title of dean, though he or she is not connected to a college or school.
Death Stories reporting on deaths should include the deceased’s full name, age, city of residence, date of death, cause of death, achievements, connections to BYU, survivors and funeral information. If the death has already been announced or happened two days or more before the story appears, use a funeral lead that includes the funeral, viewing and burial information before the details of the person’s life and death. Don’t use euphamisms for death. People don’t pass away; they die. In a headline, say Alice Johnson dies, not Alice Johnson dead.
departments Divisions of colleges. Capitalize the formal names of university departments, but lower case references that do not include the full name (e.g., Department of Theatre and Media Arts, BUT dance, theater, music and the like). The head of a department is the chair and should be asked if they want to be referred to as the chairman, chairwoman or chair on second reference. Never use chairperson.
devotional Do not capitalize when used generally to refer to the weekly university-wide meeting at 11:05 a.m. The same is usually true for forums, the more secular Tuesday gatherings. There is no need to follow either devotional or forum with assembly. A Sunday fireside is not a devotional unless it is a CES Devotional.
Dixie State College A state junior college in St. George. Use Dixie on second references.
dormitories or dorms Acceptable references for the more formal residence halls.
Deseret Towers (obsolete) Do not abbreviate as DT, except in a quote. These no longer exist. The residence halls on the site of Deseret Towers are part of Heritage Halls.
due to Should not be used in place of because of.
LaVell Edwards The once head coach of BYU football. Note the capital V. For the stadium, see the entry for LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Faculty is singular. Not all teachers at BYU are faculty. Staff and administration are not faculty.
fall Speaking generally about the season, fall should not be capitalized. Capitalize only when referring to a specific fall semester (e.g., “She started school Fall Semester 1998.”).
FARMS Formerly the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, a division of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, until it was dissolved in 2010.
forum The university-wide meeting on some Tuesdays at 11:05 a.m. where speakers usually address secular topics. The term should be capitalized. There is no need to follow the word with assembly. The Unforum is the last forum of winter semester, and there is only one a year.
FrontRunner The commuter train that operates along the Wasatch Front, running from Ogden to Provo. This is not synonymous with TRAX, the light rail system that serves Salt Lake City and many of its suburbs throughout Salt Lake County. Note the capital R in FrontRunner.
general authority The term should be lower-cased and spelled out in full in all Church references. Never GA or GAs.
girl A female younger than 18 years old. Once 18, she is referred to as a woman.
grade point average Spell out in full on first reference, abbreviate as GPA thereafter. Below are the grade values for BYU.
E 0.0 failure
I Incomplete. This is a contractual grade awarded a student due to nonacademic extenuating circumstances after the 12th week of a semester or sixth week of a term. Under the contract, a student must complete the coursework in a specified period of time.
IE Incomplete expired. When a student fails to complete the coursework in the specified period of time, the I becomes an IE and is treated as a failing grade.
P Passing grade. This grade has no effect on the GPA.
W Withdraw. Students may withdraw from classes for any reason through the 10th week (50th day) of a semester and the fifth week (25th day) of a term.
WE A student withdraws from a class after the deadline and is failing the class at that time.
Beginning Fall 2011, students may repeat any course taken at BYU; however, all grades will be averaged into their grade point average, and all credit will be counted. BYU does not remove the previous credit or grade from the transcript or the GPA calculations once a class has been repeated.
Happy Valley The term should be capitalized with no quotes.
Harris Fine Arts Center Use HFAC on all references when including a room number or named area. Below are the names of theaters and galleries in the center.
B.F. Larsen Gallery
de Jong Concert Hall (capitalize de only when it starts a sentence)
Gates Opera Workshop Music Theatre
Madsen Recital Hall
Margetts Arena Theatre
Merrill Debate Theatre
Nelke Experimental Theatre
Pardoe Drama Theatre
headlines All headlines should include a subject and a verb. Use down style for headlines (capitalize only the first word, proper nouns and the first word after a punctuation mark).
held Do not use when referring to an event (e.g., “The meeting will be Tuesday,” NOT, “The meeting will be held Tuesday.”).
Homecoming Capitalize when referring to BYU Homecoming activities. In general terms, homecoming is lowercase (e.g., “She will attend the Homecoming dance,” BUT, “He said his homecoming was uplifting.”).
Honor Code Capitalized on all references.
Honor Code Office Found on the fourth floor of the Wilkinson Student Center.
Honors Capitalize when referring to BYU Honors programs.
Housing BYU contracted, NOT BYU approved when referring to off-campus housing for single students.
Howard W. Hunter Law Library Located in the J. Reuben Clark Building.
I-15 OK to use on all references to Interstate 15.
identification The content of the story should dictate the information used in identifying individuals. When interviewing students, get their first and last name, age, class standing, hometown and major. In your story, apply those pieces of information as needed, using a minimum of two, one being the hometown (e.g., “Patrick Ponte, 18, from Salem, Oregon, said he likes to eat out.”). Information used should be pertinent to the story. Make it as smooth as you can — all the information doesn’t have to appear in the same sentence or in this particular order. Don’t say he’s an 18-year-old when you can simply describe him as 18. University faculty and administrators should be identified by name, title and department. Prominent people not connected with the university should be identified by name and title.
in order to Don’t use this phrase; say to instead (e.g., “I’m baking this cake to make you happy.”).
internet Capitalization of the term is no longer proper. Same with net.
introductory clauses and phrases These are forbidden in ledes and should be used sparingly in copy. A clause uses a subject and a verb; a phrase may have a noun or a verb but not both. Examples are as follows.
Introductory clause: “As she pedaled her bike down 900 East, the student noticed a crowd at the Creamery on Ninth,” should be cast as, “The student noticed a crowd at the Creamery on Ninth as she pedaled her bike down 900 East.”
Introductory phrase: “Leaving the dugout, the player headed for the pitcher’s mound,” should be cast as, “The player left the dugout and headed for the pitcher’s mound.”
italics Never use italics in articles.
its is a possessive pronoun (e.g., “What’s its name?” or, “Its name is Clipper.”).
it’s means it is or it has (e.g., “It’s my dog” or, “It’s been mine for six years.”). Contractions should be used in moderation according to AP Style guidelines.
Carri Jenkins The current assistant to the president for University Communications. Note the spelling of her given name. Our attribution style: BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins, or University spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.
Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies Jerusalem Center is acceptable on second reference. The center is located in Israel. Any stories dealing with this topic need to be cleared by an adviser.
J. Reuben Clark Law School The official and legacy name of the law school at BYU. Note the spelling of Reuben. The building where the law school is located is called the J. Reuben Clark Building. However, the law school has been branding itself as BYU Law, since about 2008, and BYU Law is preferred in all references (e.g., “BYU Law students held a service project”; “National rankings list BYU Law seventh among law schools.”).
David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies Kennedy Center on second reference. Housed in the Herald R. Clark Building, directly south of the HBLL.
LaVell Edwards Stadium Acceptable on first reference; Edwards Stadium or the stadium on second reference.
Legislature Uppercase as a proper name when referring to the Utah Legislature, even when not preceded by the name of the state. Lowercase when referring to legislatures in general. A member of the Legislature is either a representative or a senator.
LGBT Do not use other derivatives like LGBTQ or LGBT+, except in direct quotes or when used as part of a named event.
local Use to refer to the Provo-Orem area.
located at Don’t use this phrase when telling where something is located. (i.e., use, “The museum is in Provo,” or, “The museum, 124 S. 100 East, is open Mondays and Tuesdays.”)
log in (v.) login (n. and adj.)
majors Lowercase majors except when they stand as proper nouns when not used as a major (e.g., history major, psychology major, BUT French major, English major). Don’t say someone “has an undeclared major” or “is an undeclared major”; say he or she has not declared his or her major. Always double-check names of majors for official names.
many This is an overused word. If a story says, “Many people protested the decision,” find out a number — was it 12? 25? 100? 1,000? Replace it with a number, or remove the reference unless it is within a quote.
Marigold Mall The north–south walkway between the Fletcher, Clyde, Widtsoe, Martin and Herald R. Clark buildings.
Marriott School of Business BYU’s business school in the Tanner Building that functions as a college. In 2017, the name was changed from the Marriott School of Management to the Marriott School of Business.
Master of Arts, Master of Science Each is referred to as a master’s degree or a master’s.
MBA Stands for master’s of business administration. MBA is always an acceptable first reference.
Kieth Merrill A BYU graduate and Academy Award-winning film director, producer and writer. Note the spelling of his given name: Kieth not Keith.
METI Short for Middle Eastern Texts Initiative. A division of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.
missionaries receive the title Elder or Sister along with their first and last names on first reference and are referred to as Elder (last name) or Sister (last name) on all subsequent references. All photo captions, including stories with multiple photos, always use first references for names in each caption. When referring to full-time missionaries you can say elders and sisters, but do not say missionaries and sister missionaries when making gender-specific references. If you need to refer to the gender of a missionary, use the pronouns he or she. When referring to a companionship on second reference, use “Sister Jones and Sister Brown” and not “Sisters Jones and Brown.”
Mission presidents and their wives are referred to as President and Sister with their first and last names on first reference, and then retain the courtesy titles on all subsequent references in the story. The rule above about always using first references in photo captions also applies here.
The word “Mission” is upper-cased when referring to a mission by its proper name. The word “mission” is lower-cased when referring to a region or experience that is not part of the mission’s proper name.
more and more This use is wordy. Just say more.
over Do not use this; instead use more than. Over is spatial (e.g., “The plane flew over the mountain.”). See the AP Stylebook for exceptions. While AP style has softened on this policy, The Daily Universe still prefers more than to over.
Mount Timpanogos Remember, there is no –gas in Timpanogos. Do not refer to as Timp unless in a direct quote.
Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms. Avoid these courtesy titles unless in quotes. Use full name on first reference and surname in all references following.
music dance theatre A BYU major. Note the spelling of theatre. It is an interdisciplinary degree offered by the College of Fine Arts and Communications through the cooperative involvement of its School of Music, Department of Theatre and Media Arts and Department of Dance.
names Always ask sources to spell their names, even if they sound simple like Kim. When you have two people with the same last name in a story, use the first and last name of each individual. You can use the “kiss-off method” — introduce the individual, give their quote/paraphrase and move on to another source. This way, you only have to use the first and last name once. But to avoid confusion, use both.
Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship Includes the following divisions:
news release Do not refer to as a press release.
numbered lists Use 1., 2., 3., etc. for numbered lists. For sports, use No. 1, No. 2, etc. for rankings.
OK Okay is not OK, but OK is OK.
on Needed before a day when it separates proper nouns (e.g., “She will marry Tuesday,” or, “She will marry Joe Doe on Tuesday.”). Do not use on in between time and day (e.g., “The ceremony is at 2 p.m. Tuesday.”).
opportunity to This phrase should be removed where possible, except in quotes. People should be glad to be here, not glad they have the opportunity to be here.
PE OK to use on all references to physical eduacation.
Ph.D. The abbreviation for doctor of philosophy; a doctorate in any discipline except medicine, or sometimes theology. Someone is earning a doctoral degree, not a Ph.D.
Point of the Mountain This geographic region in Utah extending from Sandy to Lehi functions as a proper noun.
police The police force at BYU is the University Police. BYU and department are not part of the name, but the police may be called BYU campus police or the police department informally.
president Never abbreviate. Capitalize before the name of the president of the United States, the president of BYU, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members of the First Presidency, the president (or acting president) of the Quorum of the Twelve and stake and mission presidencies. On second reference, retain the title only for the president of BYU, president of the church, the First Presidency and president of the Quorum of the Twelve. Call others by their last name on subsequent references.
General presidents of the Relief Society, Primary and Young Women are called Sister on first reference (e.g., Sister Linda K. Burton). General presidents of the Sunday School and Young Men are Brother on first reference (e.g., Brother Russell T. Osguthorpe) unless currently serving as a general authority or an Area Seventy. In those cases, use the title Elder on first reference.
presidency Presidency titles are lower case: first counselor in the First Presidency, or second counselor in the Young Women general presidency. Note that presidency is not capitalized unless referring to the First Presidency or the Presidency of the Seventy. See the Style Guide for Publications of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints section 8.4 for details.
prior to Do not use prior to; instead, use before.
professor Never capitalize unless beginning a sentence. See academic titles for more information.
Provo Towne Centre The shopping center on the south end of Provo. Note the spelling of Centre.
Punctuation (Below are guidelines for some punctuation and formatting.)
- brackets Never use brackets. If clarification is needed in a quote, use parentheses instead.
- comma The serial comma, also known as the Oxford comma, should not be used preceding the last item in a series (e.g., “apples, oranges and bananas”) unless not using it may result in ambiguity. For example, “To my parents, Ayn Rand and God.” If the serial comma is excluded in this instance, it could be read that Ayn Rand and God acts an appositive, naming the parents, when they are in fact separate listings in a series.
- italics Never use in an article. Italics are used in The Daily Universe’s supplement to the AP Stylebook to indicate words used as words (e.g., “Okay is not OK, but OK is OK.”).
- quotation marks See below.
- diacritics Never use letters with tildes, accent marks or other diacritics in words common to in the English language (e.g., cafe NOT café, and resume NOT resumé). But you can use them on people’s names, if that is the person’s preference.
quotation marks Follow the rules for quotation marks found in the AP Stylebook. Use single quotation marks for quotes in headlines.
Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Former name for the church called Community of Christ. Note that the church’s name is not preceded by the.
ROC Pass No longer All Sport Pass.
residence halls The more formal but not required first-reference for dormitories.
Sabbath Note the capitalization: Sabbath, BUT Sabbath day.
SAC Acceptable second reference for Student Advisory Council, an arm of BYUSA. BYUSA offices are in 3400 WSC.
said Follows pronoun or name (e.g., “he said” or “President Nelson said”) except when the person has a title that needs to appear after his or her name (e.g., “said Brad Rawlins, chair of the Department of Communications”). If you are quoting from a book or website where anyone can access the information, utilize the literary present, and paraphrase using says (e.g., “In her book, Ann Romney says”).
Salt Lake City The full name of the city functions as a noun, but Salt Lake is the adjective. SLC may be used in headlines.
Salt Lake County May be referred to as S.L. County in headlines.
Satan Capitalize Satan and Lucifer, but do not capitalize devil.
SCERA Acceptable on all references for Sharon’s Cultural, Educational, Recreational Association, located in Orem. Typically a story will focus on one of the SCERA’s named components, like The SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre or The SCERA Center for the Arts. A lead can be streamlined by just saying “The SCERA” and then further identifying which component of The SCERA the story is about. Conversely, a story focusing on one of The SCERA’s features can just be referred to as “The SCERA” after the particular component (outdoor theatre, center for the arts, etc.) has been identified.
Schools BYU is composed of various colleges and schools. Colleges and schools may contain departments and other schools. A current list of colleges, schools and departments can be found here.
Semester Lowercase except when it is part of the name of a specific semester at BYU (e.g., Fall Semester, Winter Semester 2006, BUT, “during the semester.”).
Sept. 11, 2001 It is acceptable to use 9/11 for all references for the terrorist attacks on the United States that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon. Do not use 9-11.
The Shops at Riverwoods Open-air shopping center in Provo (4801 N. University Ave.).
Sister This title should appear before the names of sister missionaries, before the name of a general authority’s wife, before the name of the BYU president’s wife and before the names of members of general presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary. On first reference, use Sister with her full name. On all subsequent references, use Sister with her last name. Women who used to be members of a general presidency but have since been released retain Sister as a courtesy title in all references.
SLC may be used in headlines for Salt Lake City or Salt Lake. Never use it as an abbreviation for Salt Lake County.
Snow College A state junior college in Ephraim. Snow on second reference.
Southern Utah University SUU is acceptable on second reference. Located in Cedar City.
spam The act of spewing out large numbers of electronic messages via email or newsgroups to people who don’t want to receive them. Can also be used as a noun to refer to the mail itself. Capitalize only in reference to the canned meat.
split headline Avoid splitting a prepositional phrase (e.g., “of the class”), a noun phrase (“the pink toaster”) or a verb phrase (“has been seen”) between the first and second lines of a headline.
spring or summer Only capitalize when referring to a specific spring or summer term (e.g., “She started school Spring Term 2010,” “He will get married during Summer Term.”). Lowercase when referring to the season or the semester in general (e.g., “Campus is casual during spring and summer terms.”).
Student Health Center Use BYU Student Health Center on first reference. Student Health Center is appropriate on second reference.
Student Health Plan Use BYU Student Health Plan on first reference. Student Health Plan is appropriate on second reference.
subject-verb agreement Nouns should agree with their verbs in terms of singular/plural. Examples: The team finds their success in aggressive defense. — WRONG The team finds its success in aggressive defense. — CORRECT
suicide isn’t usually mentioned unless the person was prominent enough to merit an obituary, or the death or aftermath was witnessed by readers who need an explanation. Check with your editors and advisers for exceptions. Adviser approval for a story of this nature is necessary.
SWKT Kimball Tower. SWKT on second reference. The building name can be abbreviated on first reference if a room number or named area is included: 690D SWKT
Teaching assistant Spell out on first reference. TA on second reference.
Telephone numbers in Utah require 10 digits to dial. Include the area code. Write numbers as 801-495-8734. Use the same style for out-of-area and toll-free numbers. BYU phone numbers are written out as 422-3442 or 378-2332, not 2-3442.
Term is lowercase except when part of a specific term at BYU: Spring Term, Summer Term 2010.
that Take “that” out wherever you can without changing the meaning of a sentence or making the sentence unclear. When deciding whether to use “that” or “which,” save the “that” for constructions not requiring a comma.
time Use midnight or noon, not 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. Also, periods of time use a hyphen: 4–5 p.m. (Not 4:00–5:00 p.m.).
theater Use this spelling unless theatre is part of proper name. For example: Theatre and Media Arts Department, Varsity Theatre; but, we went to the theater.
TMCB Talmage Mathematical Sciences/Computer Building or Talmage Building on first reference. TMCB on second reference. The building name can be abbreviated on first reference if a room number or named area is included.
TNRB Tanner Building. The building name can be abbreviated on first reference if a room number or named area is included.
Today or tonight refers to the day of publication. Reporters and desk editors should leave the day (Wednesday) in text. Copy desk or proofreaders will change it to “today.”
tomorrow Do not use this word, except in quotes. Use the name of the day (Thursday).
TRAX is short for Transit Express. It is the light-rail train service of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) in Salt Lake County.
University is lowercase unless used as part of the proper name of a university.
University Communications is BYU’s public relations office. When members of its staff distribute an announcement, it can be attributed to the writer/speaker as a “BYU spokeswoman” or “BYU spokesman or just attributed to the universe. “BYU announced on Twitter that…” or “BYU said in a press release it will have online classes only…”
University Mall is the mall on University Parkway in Orem.
University of Utah may be called “the U.” on second reference or “U.” or “the U.” in headlines. Note the period. May also be called Utah on second reference. It’s in Salt Lake City.
University Police is singular. University Police is investigating the allegation.
University Station Post Office is the campus U.S. Postal Service branch, located on the first floor of the Wilkinson Student Center.
Utah County Capitalize “County.” If you write Utah county, you mean some county in Utah, not necessarily this one. Lower-case “counties” when writing about multiple counties: The traffic in Salt Lake and Utah counties…”
Utahn not Utahan
Utah State University is in Logan. Call it USU or Utah State on second reference, but don’t call it Utah St. That means Utah Street.
Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, the hospital in Provo. Called UVRMC on second reference.
Utah Valley University is in Orem. UVU is acceptable on all references.
Various is generally a word to avoid using. It can be deleted from most sentences where it is being used without impating the sentence.
Very is an overused word. Unless the word is contained within a quote, remove it.
Weber State University is in Ogden. Use Weber or Weber State on second reference, but don’t call it Weber St. That means Weber Street.
webcam, webcast, webmaster, but Web, Web page, Web feed, Web document
website When mentioning a Web address in a story, do not use “www.” in the URL (byu.edu).
whether or not is wordy. Leave out “or not.” Officials don’t know whether the parking regulations will change.
Winter is capitalized only when it is referring to a specific winter semester: She started school Winter Semester 1998. He will play lacrosse Winter Semester. Lowercase when referring to the season or the semester in general: School spirit is least apparent during winter semester.
World Wide Web, or the Web
Wilkinson Student Center WSC on second reference. Never use “the Wilk” except in quotations. The building name can be abbreviated on first reference if a room number or named area is included: 3228 WSC, WSC Terrace
Wymount Terrace On-campus family housing. Wymount OK for first and all references.
Wyview Park On-campus single and married student housing. Wyview on second and subsequent references only.
yesterday Do not use, except in quotes. Use the name of the day.
Y is acceptable for BYU in headlines.
Youth is singular and collective; youths is plural. Don’t say “Provo police target youth” if the police are targeting multiple youths. The church’s Young Men and Young Women program are for youth (collective).
See newsroom.lds.org for other church usage examples
angel Moroni not Angel
Article of Faith, Articles
Bishop capitalized before the name, not capitalized after
Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ Book of Mormon on first and subsequent references. No quote marks around the title. Plural: copies of the Book of Mormon.
CES Fireside is now the “CES devotional,” usually the first Sunday of the month. These devotionals are sponsored by the Church Educational System and are broadcast to college-age young adults.
Church Educational System may be called CES on second reference and in headlines. If the story is covering the CES devotional, CES is OK on all references. All church schools, including BYU, are part of CES.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
This is taken directly from the church style guide on newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org:
- In the first reference, the full name of the Church is preferred: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
- When a shortened reference is needed, the terms “the Church” or the “Church of Jesus Christ” are encouraged. The “restored Church of Jesus Christ” is also accurate and encouraged.
- While the term “Mormon Church” has long been publicly applied to the Church as a nickname, it is not an authorized title, and the Church discourages its use. Thus, please avoid using the abbreviation “LDS” or the nickname “Mormon” as substitutes for the name of the Church, as in “Mormon Church,” “LDS Church,” or “Church of the Latter-day Saints.”
- When referring to Church members, the terms “members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” or “Latter-day Saints” are preferred. We ask that the term “Mormons” not be used.
- “Mormon” is correctly used in proper names such as the Book of Mormon or when used as an adjective in such historical expressions as “Mormon Trail.”
- The term “Mormonism” is inaccurate and should not be used. When describing the combination of doctrine, culture and lifestyle unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the term “the restored gospel of Jesus Christ” is accurate and preferred.
- When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, it should be stated that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not affiliated with polygamous groups.
deity Capitalize pronouns referring to deity: He, Him, Father, Son. Upper-case Spirit when talking about the member of the godhead, and Savior when it is used in reference to Jesus Christ. There was a season when the Universe lower-cased pronouns referring to deity, following the style used in the scriptures, so stories now in the archives that use that style are not inherently incorrect.
devil or the devil, but Lucifer and Satan.
Emeritus General Authority Seventies always take the title of Elder
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” may be called the proclamation or the family proclamation on second reference.
Family History Library not genealogy library
Family home evening may be called FHE on second reference and in headlines.
fireside is lowercase.
General authorities include members of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, General Authority Seventy, and Presiding Bishopric. Area Seventies are not general authorities because they are assigned to work in a specific area of the world. Each general authority should have a title before his name on every reference, including those in headlines and cutlines. Use President for members of the First Presidency and the president (or acting president) of the Quorum of the Twelve; Bishop for members of the Presiding Bishopric; Elder for all others. Remember to use the individual’s first name always on first reference. This is often overlooked, especially in photo captions.
Members of the general presidencies of Young Women, Primary and Relief Society should have Sister before their names in each reference. Wives of general authorities take the title Sister on each reference.
Members of general presidencies of the Sunday School and Young Men should have Brother before their names in each reference unless they are also serving as general authorities. In those cases, use the title they are given as a general authority.
President can only be abbreviated in headlines.
General Conference is upper case whenever the two words are used together: The 166th Annual General Conference is this weekend. He will attend conference this weekend. Annual General Conference is in April. Semiannual General Conference is in October.
gospel or the gospel
Institute is lowercase except when part of a proper name.
Joseph Smith, the Prophet on second reference. He is not called President Smith.
LDS Church Do not use
Missionary deaths should be covered in the newspaper even if the missionary has no connection to BYU or Utah.
Mormon should no longer be used to refer to a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
MTC Missionary Training Center
Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple Note that there is no “gas” in Timponogos.
patriarchal blessings Avoid quoting patriarchal blessings.
pandemic Follow AP style. See also “COVID-19”
President should be capitalized before the name of the president of the United States, the president of BYU, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members of the First Presidency, the president (or acting president) of the Quorum of the Twelve and stake and mission presidencies. On second reference, retain the title only for the president of BYU, president of the church, the First Presidency and president (or acting president) of the Quorum of the Twelve. Call others by their last name on subsequent references. Never abbreviate President except in headlines.
General presidents of the Relief Society, Primary and Young Women are called Sister (Sister Linda K. Burton) on first reference. General presidents of the Sunday School and Young Men are Brother on first reference (Brother Russell T. Osguthorpe) unless currently serving as a General or Area authority. In those cases, use the title Elder on first reference.
Priesthood is lowercase except when part of the name of a specific priesthood — Melchizedek, Aaronic, Levitical — or in the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.
prophet only capitalized when referring to Joseph Smith. The Prophet was martyred.
Quorum of the Twelve
restoration, but the Restoration
returned missionary not return missionary
sacrament, sacrament meeting
Saint should not be used as a title before the names of Christ’s apostles or other New Testament writers.
Satan and Lucifer are uppercase; devil is not
scripture The four standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the Bible; the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (it can be called the Book of Mormon on second reference); the Pearl of Great Price; and the Doctrine and Covenants. Unlike other books, the scriptures don’t need quote marks before and after their names. To cite a particular scripture in the first three books, use the name of the book within the book, the chapter number, a colon and the verse or verses: Alma 32:33–34. For the Doctrine and Covenants, D&C, the section number, a colon and the verse number: D&C 78:13.
Seminary is lowercase except when part of a proper name.
Seventy as it relates to Church authorities are referred to as Elder and then in one of three ways, depending on their calling:
General Authority Seventy, Elder XXX of the Presidency of the Seventy, or Area Seventy
Sister should appear before the name of a general authority’s wife, before the name of the BYU president’s wife and before the names of members of general presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary. On first reference, use Sister with her full name. On all subsequent references, use Sister with her last name. Women who used to be members of a general presidency but have since been released retain the courtesy title Sister in all references.
spirit, but the Spirit
Stake President capitalize before a name; do not capitalize after.
Stakes should be listed by ordinal number: Provo YSA 2nd Stake, Provo YSA 18th Stake
Tabernacle Capitalize when preceded by a specific name: Provo Tabernacle (now the Provo City Center Temple), American Fork Tabernacle. Also capitalize in all instances when referring to the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
temple Capitalize only when preceded by a name of a specific temple: Provo Utah Temple, otherwise an Aztec temple.
wards should be listed by ordinal number: Provo YSA 1st Ward, Provo YSA 100th Ward. Capitalize ward in name of ward, not in general. He went to ward prayer in YSA 45th Ward. Wards are not BYU wards, but rather Provo or Orem YSA or Married wards.
Word of Wisdom
Young Men; Young Women capitalized when referring to the church organization. There is no longer a ward Young Men organization. The ward Young Men organization is the Aaronic Priesthood.
YSA Young Single Adults. Unmarried church members between 18 and 30.
Zoom should be capitalized when referring to the video communications company. The class was conducted on Zoom.
athletic facilities at BYU are:
- LaVell Edwards Stadium: Home of the BYU Cougars (football). On second reference Edwards Stadium or the stadium
- Haws Field (rugby and lacrosse)
- Helaman Field (rugby and lacrosse)
- Indoor Tennis Courts
- Indoor Practice Facility
- Marriott Center (basketball)
- Smith Fieldhouse (volleyball)
- Larry H. Miller Field (baseball). Part of Miller Park
- Gail Miller Field (softball). Part of Miller Park
- Clarence F. Robison Track
- RB Swimming Pool
- South Field (soccer)
championship should be capitalized only when preceded by the proper name of the event. Lowercase in all other instances.
Coach is only capitalized when it begins a sentence or is part of a proper title. Use head coach only when you must differentiate between the head coach and his or her assistants.
Cougar is an acceptable name for any male or female member of a BYU athletic team. Cougars, not Cougar’s, is the plural. Cougars’ is the plural possessive. Do not call female athletes Lady Cougars.
Division I, not Division 1
LaVell Edwards was the head coach of the BYU football team until 2001. Note the capital V.
extramural teams have coaches and compete with other schools but do not belong to the NCAA. These teams are more selective than intramural teams as you need to try out for them.
FCS or Football Championship Subdivision (not Division I-AA)
FBS or Football Bowl Subdivision (not Division I-A)
intramural teams BYU intramural teams are made up of BYU students, spouses of students or individuals in a BYU ward. Teams compete with other BYU intramural teams.
lineup (n); line-up (v)
Mountain West Conference BYU left the MWC in the summer of 2011. MWC acceptable on second reference.
Ping-Pong trademark name. Pingpong is a synonym for table tennis.
round up (v.) roundup (n.)
San Diego BYU’s opponent in the WCC
San Diego State BYU’s former opponent in the MWC
Special Collections located on the first floor of the Harold B. Lee Library.
tournament should be capitalized only when preceded by the proper name of the event. Lowercase it in all other instances.
track and field
WAC is acceptable on second reference for Western Athletic Conference. BYU left the conference in 1999.
West Coast Conference WCC is acceptable on first reference unless the West Coast Conference itself is being discussed (e.g. “BYU volleyball took down the WCC rival at home,” BUT, “The West Coast Conference reorganized its membership in 2011.”) BYU joined the WCC for most sports except football in 2011.
4X400 meter relay Use a capital X without spaces on either side for relay races.
Covering the Utah Legislature
Updated Feb. 12, 2020
Compiled by Joel Campbell
Style for bills – inherited from Deseret News style
Bills originate either in the Utah House or Utah Senate. House bills are HB… and Senate bills are SB….
HB90 (no space) not H.B. 90 or HB 90 or House Bill 90 or HB0090 (don’t add these extra zeros although they show up on the state’s legislative system).
SB101 not S.B. 101 or SB 101 or Senate Bill 101 or SB0101 (don’t add these extra zeros although they show up on the state’s legislative system).
HJR2 not House Joint Resolution 2. If unclear, you might just say a resolution, HJR2, calls for this.
As for as constitutional amendments – Amendment 3 is appropriate.
Don’t say the bill “will do” this, but say the bill “would do” this if passed.
Adopt, approve, enact
Amendments, ordinances, resolutions and rules are adopted or approved.
Bills are passed
Laws are enacted
So in Utah, the legislature just passes things. When the governor signs the bill into law, it is enacted.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee passed the bill unanimously with a 9-0 vote.
If a committee is mentioned it should include the name of body to which the committee belongs – i.e. Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee
What to call these people: legislators, lawmakers NOT salons (that’s so 1940s and ‘50s)
Legislature – Generally this is capitalized in a story when it refers to a specific political body. We follow the same guidelines as the AP stylebook recommends for City Council. The 2014 Legislature is also appropriate, but 2014 general session or 2014 legislative session. Please note, that special sessions can be called after the general session. They are often designate as 2014 1st special session and 2014 2nd special session.
Inanimate objects can’t “do” things. Generally, I don’t like “The Legislature passed the bill.” Preferred: “A majority (or plurality) of House members passed the bill.”
Senate President J. Stuart Adams, R-Layton
House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper
Utah County lawmakers:
Rep. Jefferson Moss, R-Saratoga Springs
Rep. Marsha Judkins, R-Provo
Rep. A. Cory Maloy, R-Lehi
Rep. Brady Brammer, R-Pleasant Grove
Rep. Adam Robertson, R-Provo
Rep. Keven J. Stratton, R-Orem (Keven is correct spelling)
Rep. Norman Thurston, R-Provo
Rep. Kay Christofferson, R-Lehi
Rep. Jon Hawkins, R-Pleasant Grove
Rep. Val L. Peterson, R-Orem
Rep. Brad M. Daw, R-Orem
Sen. Curtis Bramble, R-Provo
Sen. Jacob L. Anderegg, R-Lehi
Sen. Daniel Hemmert, R-Orem
Sen. Keith Grover, R-Provo
We don’t use district numbers. No one knows these except legislators… Wrong – Sen. Karen Mayne, D-District 5. Right: Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City.
Political and geographic designation.
Generally, we follow AP style under “political affiliations” and then list legislators hometowns. Look up their hometown in the directory or online.
Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden.
Rep. Derek Brown, R-Cottonwood Heights
For statewide or federal offices
Gov. Gary Herbert, R-Utah
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, R-Utah
Attorney General Sean Reyes, R-Utah — note plural is attorneys general, not attorney generals
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
Plural is — Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, both R-Utah.
Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah… If it is important to the story, you can designate their district number and perhaps include a geographical description.
By the way, Utah has four congressional districts since the 2010 Census.
Plural is — Reps. John Curtis and Rob Bishop, both R-Utah.
NOT Senator Stuart Reid (R-Ogden) — Abbreviate Sen. or Rep. and no parentheses around party and geographic designation.
Majority vs. plurality — Look it up in the stylebook for specifics involving voting in legislative bodies… Majority is more than half of an amount. Plurality means than more than half the number.
When there might be confusion about members of Congress and members of the state Legislature, use U.S. to differentiate.
Example: U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, addressed the Utah Senate (or Utah senators) on Jan. 27 and received praise from state Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo.
Covering Cops and Courts for The Universe
September 30, 2015
by Steve Fidel
Police stories of primary interest to The Daily Universe have a direct tie to the BYU community. They can include incidents that involve BYU students, faculty, staff or notable alumni; take place on BYU property; or affect the daily comings and goings around campus in a highly visible way.
The Daily Universe’s interest in court cases follows similar parameters.
The Daily Universe’s police coverage is very geocentric, so the law enforcement agencies of primary interest are “close to home”:
University Police, or BYU University Police on first reference if needed for clarity, but never BYU Police or Campus Police
Provo Police; Provo Fire are OK in headlines. In story text use Provo Police Department (an it), Provo police (they), the Provo Fire Department (it) or Provo firefighters (they)
Orem Department of Public Safety; Orem Fire Department
Utah County Sheriff’s Office
Utah County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue
Utah County Fire Department
Utah Highway Patrol (in Utah County.)
Note the unique naming style for each. Most second references can be lower case and shortened (police, police department, fire department, sheriff’s office) but Highway Patrol. UHP is also acceptable in a headline but do not use abbreviations like UHP or UCSO in story text. Other law enforcement agencies in the county may be of interest if there is a major news event in their jurisdiction – or if members of the campus community are affected.
The Daily Universe rarely pursues police stories outside Utah County unless there is a direct campus tie. If students returning from Thanksgiving are in a serious wreck in Wyoming, we want that story.
NAMING PEOPLE IN POLICE STORIES
The Daily Universe typically names people in peril who are missing or stranded or deserving of the public’s help or sympathy. The Daily Universe typically does not name criminal suspects unless doing so is approved by a newsroom manager or the director. When a crime suspect is named, The Daily Universe makes the commitment to follow that person’s case through to conviction or acquittal.
The reality that most Daily Universe reporters and their editors won’t still be around by the time judicial proceedings reach their conclusion plays into the decision to not name most crime suspects, because the turnover makes it easier for older stories to fall through the cracks without being followed.
PIOs AND OTHER SPOKESMEN AND SPOKESWOMEN
Most law enforcement agencies have officers specifically designated to work with the media.
Quite often, in addition to their rank, they carry the title Public Information Officer, or PIO. We typically refer to them using their name and rank and “spokesman” or “spokeswoman.” Avoid the term “spokesperson.” Ranks often follow a military-style protocol, so refer to the AP Styleguide for usage. Most ranks are abbreviated when used with the person’s name but spelled out when used alone: University Police Lt. Joe Friendly, BUT, “the lieutenant;” Provo Fire Capt. Mel Sparkey but then “the captain.” That said, usually default to just using their last name on second reference.
POLICE BEAT HISTORY
PIO contact information, contact information for other leadership that interacts with the media, dispatch phone numbers and social media locations, blogs and Twitter handles should all be kept up to date in the police beat history. Also note the location online of police booking mugshots, or the phone number and title of booking officers who can send us booking mugs from the jail.
WORKING WITH POLICE AND FIRE OFFICIALS
Public safety officers are people with personalities as unique as anyone’s. Treating them respectfully, and respecting their time, is the best way to get acquainted and establish a good rapport. It is not your job to know everything they know, but it is your job to know what you need to know from them. Quite often that is as simple as the who, what, why, when and where of a crime or other incident. Sometimes we also want to know “how much,” if there are financial implications of a crime, fire or other mayhem.
If a situation with a police or other official becomes confrontational, keep your composure at all costs, and if necessary end the conversation and report the incident to the newsroom manager or the director. Never make legal or procedural threats or wave the First Amendment flag – we’ll save that for later. But do be firm and clear about what you need, and the protocol The Daily Universe’s leadership expects from you.
Take information from written reports whenever possible. First-incident reports are deemed public records under Utah’s GRAMA. Follow-up and investigative reports are not always public. Always obtain and keep copies of written reports used for stories or background. The copy can be a photo or scan taken on your phone. Free apps like TurboScan allow your smartphone to make excellent copies.
When taking information over the phone, take copious notes and ask for spellings of ALL names and always ask for case numbers. Every police or fire incident has a case number. Ask where copies of that report can be seen.
Keep all notes and documents you take for every police story. Do not dispose of any story notes or documents until at least three months after your assignment as a reporter has ended. At that point, it is up to you whether you keep or destroy your notes, but make that an all-or-nothing decision: Keep everything or destroy everything.
Every profession has its jargon, and law enforcement is no exception. Sometimes we can use their jargon; sometimes we avoid it. Police reports are often wordy, and the grammar may be incorrect. Unless you are absolutely clear on when to use “copspeak” and when not to, start with their language and work with a newsroom manager to turn it into civilian English.
If an officer tells you “two males exited the
vehicle after it became disabled and fled on foot” and we know they are talking
about two 12-year-olds who stole their neighbor’s truck and high-centered it on a
big rock, we’re safe saying “two 12-year-old boys jumped out of the truck and ran.”
If police say “the person of interest is a juvenile” we do not say “the suspect is a
juvenile,” because there is a difference between a suspect and a person of interest.
If a police officer refers to other officers as “cops,” use that only in a direct quote, if
at all. Sometimes their jargon is just that – theirs. We’re better off leaving some of it alone.
Here are a few more important law enforcement terms that must be used correctly
or they can be overreaching or wrong if an incorrect synonym is used.
Arrest: When police take someone into custody and take them to jail. A person is
not arrested if they are only temporarily detained for a minor offense like a traffic
violation. Do not use “apprehended” unless quoting directly from a police report.
Booking or booked: When someone who has been arrested is taken to jail.
Chronologically, the person is now jailed “for investigation of” crimes law
enforcement may describe to us, but they are not yet “charged.” That comes a step later.
Arraignment or arraigned: When the arrested person is brought before a judge,
who listens to evidence presented by police and/or prosecutors that led to the
person’s arrest and the laws that the person is alleged to have violated. If the judge
decides there is sufficient evidence to support the charges, the detainee is formally
charged with violating specific laws, which are classified either as misdemeanors
(lesser crimes), or felonies (more serious crimes). Bail or other jail-release terms
can be set during or sometimes before the arraignment.
Suspect: Only use this word when police or charging documents use it. It is not
interchangeable with “person of interest.”
Thieves, rapists and murderers: Never use terms like this to describe specific
individuals still in the criminal/judicial process. Doing so convicts them of crimes
they may have been accused but not convicted of.
Several distinct court systems function in Utah. More information and a pretty good
tutorial on the state court system is available at utcourts.gov. Much of the
descriptive language below is taken from there.
Justice Court: The most local of all courts. Justice Courts are established by counties
and municipalities and have the authority to deal with class B and C misdemeanors,
violations of ordinances, small claims, and infractions committed within their
territorial jurisdiction. Justice Court jurisdictions are determined by the boundaries
of local government entities such as cities or counties, which hire the judges.
District Court: The district court has original jurisdiction to try all civil cases, all
criminal felonies, such as homicides, assaults, sex and drug offenses, forgery, arson,
and robbery, and misdemeanors in certain circumstances. An important part of the
district court caseload is domestic relations cases, such as divorces, child custody
and support, adoption, and probate. The state is divided into several “districts.” Utah
County’s, for example, is the Fourth District Court where Salt Lake County is the
Juvenile Court: The juvenile court is of equal status with the district court and has
exclusive original jurisdiction over youths under 18 years of age who violate any
federal, state or municipal law, and any child who is abused, neglected or
dependent. Most juvenile court proceedings and records are closed to the public.
Federal Court (see www.utd.uscourts.gov)
In the simplest terms, cases land in federal court if charges are brought by a federal
law enforcement or civil enforcement agency (FBI, ATF, Homeland Security,
Treasury Department, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs) or if
the primary violation(s) are of federal law. The U.S. District Court, District of Utah, is
situated in downtown Salt Lake City.
Civil cases include financial disputes between individuals or people or circumstances
like divorce, child custody or personal injury. Criminal cases are not just a dispute
between individuals but instances where there is the accusation of a violation of
criminal law, such as murder, assault or theft. Most news stories come from the
criminal courts, though some really good stories can come from civil proceedings.
MORE ABOUT JARGON
Reporters often use the term “POX” to describe police or the police beat. You’ll see that used in story or assignment slugs in professional newsrooms. So that’s actually journalists’ jargon, not police jargon. A police officer may or may not know what you’re talking about if you say you’re on the POX beat. Chicken pox? Pax Romana? Keep that one in the newsroom.
Another reason to be careful of bad-guy synonyms is because they are often libelous, and your only protection is using ref-flag words when citing a police or court document. That said, most of the time these troublesome words are the reporter’s synonyms for what a police officer or report actually says. That’s where the trouble begins. Here are examples from Synopsis of the Law of Libel and the Right of Privacy, by Bruce W. Sanford, a pamphlet for journalists published by Scripps-Howard, plus items unique to the Universe style supplement.
Newspapers, plus a few extras:
WHAT TO WRITE – OR NOT
Remember: The Daily Universe seldom names suspects, and even less frequently identifies crime victims. Get approval from a newsroom manager or the director before including any names in a story. Never name the victim of a sexual assault.
Arson: Always write
Child abuse: Sometimes write if involving a serial offender who is part of the campus community or if the crime takes place in campus housing. Do not typically name suspects to protect the identity of the victims.
Fire: Typically write if directly involving the campus community, or if the fire is large enough that it disrupts campus activities or is highly visible. Typically write.
Hate crimes: Typically write
Kidnapping: Write unless it is a domestic/custody situation.
Missing person: Usually write
Personal injury accident: Usually write if it happened on campus or is the result of something like a hiking mishap. Sports injuries don’t count. Oh, the humanity.
Public figures or public officials accused of a crime: Typically write, even if they are accused of a crime that otherwise would not be covered.
Stalking: Sometimes write
Sex crimes: Always write rape and sexual assault crimes committed on or near campus. For other sex crimes, typically write only if the suspect and victim are unrelated, or if there are unsolved serial events tied to the campus community. References to sexual acts or male or female genitals should only be as specific as necessary to convey the weight of the situation. Avoid details that serve only to be prurient, or to enrage or entice readers to take sides. Such a practice is likely to imply an editorial prejudice.
Suicide: Almost never write, unless the suicide happens in a very public way or involves a very public person. Then only cover after approval of a newsroom manager or the director.
Shoplifting: Do not write
Suspicious death: Always write
Theft: We cover a lot of these in the Police Beat. The idea is they serve as a warning to others about the most frequent petty crimes committed on and around campus: bikes, unattended backpacks, etc.
Weird crimes: Often write. This catch-all category can include unusual or damaging graffiti or significant damage to personal or campus property.