Welcome to Language, Please — a living resource for all journalists and storytellers seeking to thoughtfully cover evolving social, cultural, and identity-related issues.
You might be a copy editor looking for a deeper history of a sensitive word; a writer rethinking who your beat is serving; or a manager trying to make a tough call on deadline. The challenge is the same: Language is ever-evolving, and the words we choose to use can have lasting, consequential outcomes.
At a time of changing standards, our aim is to provide the greater context of these debates, dig into some history you might not have known about a term, connect related terms, and inform thoughtful decision-making.
On this site, you will find style guidance spanning six main categories: borders and populations; class and social standing; disabilities, neurodiversity, and chronic illness; gender and sexuality; mental health, trauma, and substance use; and race and ethnicity.
You will also find a directory of independent inclusivity readers who can be hired at any stage in a project and a set of reference tools to spark conversations and thoughtful decision-making around story framing and language usage.
Our opinion on how language usage is (and should be) evolving might not match yours. In fact, you might not agree with all the guidance you find here. We don’t know your audience and the language of your beat like you do, and we created these resources with the understanding that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to these language debates. We intend for this to be regularly updated; we will be adding new terms and adjusting guidance to reflect changing language practices. Your input can be a big part of that. Please get in touch.
This Anthem Award-winning and Webby Award-nominated project was established by Vox Media with funding from the Google News Initiative’s Innovation Challenge. Language, Please is a shared effort by a diverse group of writers, editors, designers, engineers, industry leaders, DEI advocates, human resource and legal professionals, and more. It is inspired by and builds on the crucial work of many organizations and resources — including those listed below — and feedback from members of the Language, Please Advisory Council.
The name Language, Please is both an ask and a call to action: a reminder of how vital it is to engage in conversations about how we use language and why it matters. And it reflects our intent with this project: to give context instead of edicts, to compile guidance on social, cultural, and identity related topics — and the countless ways they intersect — all in one place.
Language, Please is not intended to replace or erase the amazing work so many journalists, academics, advocates, and others have done in these spaces, but to build on their incredible work. Please see some of the resources that informed this project below, and others linked throughout the style guidance.
- ACES: AP Stylebook updates race-related terms
- Asian American Journalists Association Guidance on Coverage of Anti-AAPI Violence
- Carter Center Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health
- Conscious Style Guide
- Dart Center Style Guide for Trauma-Informed Journalism
- Disability Is Natural: People-First Language Articles
- The Diversity Style Guide
- Fortune Society: Words Matter — Using Humanizing Language
- GLAAD Media Reference Guide
- Kaiser Family Foundation HIV/AIDS Reporting Manual
- Made of Millions
- The Marshall Project
- Maynard Institute
- National Association of Black Journalists Style Guide
- National Association of Hispanic Journalists Cultural Competence Handbook
- National Center on Disability and Journalism Disability Language Style Guide
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Words Matter — Terms to Use and Avoid When Talking About Addiction
- Native American Journalists Association Reporting Guides
- Native Governance Center Style Guide
- NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists Stylebook
- Poynter: Ethics & Trust
- Racial Equity Tools
- Trans Journalists Association Style Guide