Reporting guides

Helpful reporting guides for local journalists


There’s “positive adoption language” and “honest adoption language.” Then there’s what Merrill Perlman of CJR calls “traditional adoption language,” or the way society used to refer to adoptions.

Breaking News

To help you make sense of the rumors and revelations, the myths, the misleading language, and the tired media narratives that clog up news coverage, On The Media brings you this ongoing series of Breaking News Consumer’s Handbooks, from WNYC Studios.

Building trust

This helpful guide from the Free Press News Voices project is meant to help reporters build deep relationships with the communities they cover, and it to enhance community trust in newsrooms.

Covering climate (list)

Compiled by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism to help journalists cover the climate crisis with depth, nuance and accuracy. Feel free to add! Questions? Email


Equality Labs created this medically-vetted series of coronavirus information cards, in an expansive array of languages, to help combat disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collaborative projects

These tip sheets are pulled from the seminal report, “Comparing Models of Collaborative Journalism” by Sarah Stonbely and should provide useful advice and best-practices for each of the six collaborative journalism models studied in Sarah’s research.

Collaborative workbook

A comprehensive workbook from Project Facet to help newsrooms plan and manage the details and logistics of editorial collaborations and collaborative reporting projects.

Combating protest disinformation

Disinformation around these protests is out of control, so PEN America created this guide for protesters & the public on how to verify images, videos, sources, & news sites so you don’t get duped by all the misleading info (there’s a lot of it).

Community engagement

This toolkit from Free Press will show you how newsrooms can engage the communities they serve using techniques that help journalists better understand and address residents’ needs and concerns.


Stories about people with disabilities often fall into two broad categories: so-called “inspiration porn” and crime stories. Kristin Gilger says the lack of nuanced disability coverage might stem from a lack of representation in newsrooms.

Distributed newsroom

Newsrooms have quickly had to reconfigure as distributed, digital spaces. This playbook from Fathm and Google News Initiative has been designed to help you chart a sustainable path forward, based on experience and strategic thinking.

Economic language

Reporters working on Broke in Philly stories asked the people they were reporting on how they describe themselves, or how they would like to be described in the article or broadcast.

Equity + inclusion

Heather Bryant provides a roadmap for looking at journalism as a process instead of an institution or identity.

Gender identity

Journalists from all beats and publications need to be able to write about transgender and non-binary individuals without promoting stereotypes and harmful narratives.

Global Press Style Guide

The Global Press Style Guide establishes rules for referring to the people and places around the world where Global Press Journal reporters work to promote dignity and precision in their journalism.

If It Happened There

An occasional series from Slate in which American events are described using the tone and tropes normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries.

Incarcerated people

Journalism is a discipline of clarity. That’s why the Marshall Project solidified its policy about how to talk about people who are currently in or have previously been in prison and jail.

Info needs assessment

This toolbox from the Listening Post Collective includes guides and templates you’ll need when creating your own project as well as resources to help you keep organized and learn from your work.

Immigration reporting

Researchers systematically interchanged the words “illegal,” “undocumented,” “unauthorized” in questions on immigrant rights and asked respondents how they felt toward immigrants.

JOC resource guide

A compilation of resources for journalists looking to level up their career and the newsrooms they work in, created with support from The News Integrity Initiative.

Journalism for Black Lives

Free Press and outlined tactics that support journalists attempting ethical journalism by bringing truth to light and shifting power away from the anti-Black status quo, and into the hands of communities fighting to build a shared future.

LGBTQ+ representation

A guide from SeatUp on the importance of accurate representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the media, and how incorrect portrayals can affect their mental health.

Mass shootings

​Mass shootings challenge the skill, capacity and ethics of news professionals. These tip sheets and other resources from the Dart Center can help reporters who are covering these tragedies.

Non-extractive reporting

What vulnerable communities stand to gain — or lose — from sharing their stories with reporters, and what reporters are doing about it.


A tip sheet from Journalist’s Resource to help journalists think more deeply about how they select and cover stories.

Race Reporting Guide

The Race Reporting Guide includes guidelines for covering key issues with a racial lens and reporting on specific racial and ethnic groups while avoiding harmful racial discourse practices.

Remote reporting

Looking to do solutions journalism without leaving your living room? This guide from Solutions Journalism Network explains what you need to do.

Trans and nonbinary

Five tips for journalists on covering trans and nonbinary people, by Lewis Raven Wallace for the Columbia Journalism Review.

White supremacy

To help journalists better understand issues around white supremacy and right-wing extremism, Journalist’s Resource interviewed two experts in the field.

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