Thanks to Shane at the Telegraph for highlighting the new Daily Telegraph style guide. Written (or more accurately, drafted?) by Simon Heffer, it’s online now for consultation, prior to hard-copy publication in a few months.
As you might expect it’s a curious mix of the web-friendly and the conservative (with a small, and probably also a large C). So you get rulings like these:
Increasingly, as the distinction between publishing the newspaper and producing the website fades, we will stop using such words as “yesterday” and “today” in copy except when necessary to avoid confusion or to promote exclusive stories.
On the internet the priority for any headline is to inform search engines (and therefore readers) what the article is about. Its language should therefore be concrete, not abstract, and contain full names.
We use imperial measures except where for accuracy’s sake – as in some scientific or foreign story, or one detailing the calibre of armaments – metric is appropriate.
Bah. Just as you think the Telegraph is reinventing itself and its journalism for the imminent future, it drags you crashing back to pre-decimalisation days.
The death of ‘today’ is well judged, though. I’m seeing too many (government) press releases with eager press officers falling back on the old rule of getting the word ‘today’ in the first sentence, to make it seem more urgent. I’m not sure it ever worked; now it’s positively counter-productive.