The Dialogue Editorial Style Guide

1.1 Impact
The short-term impact we are seeking is to drive engagement between citizens and people and policy influencers through a constructive debate, let by the informed articles published on the website. We want to provoke a response from the reader. We want to sensitize them over exactly what is happening in India, how India is developing, where India is headed and the concerning issues which needs the attention of the stakeholders in the country. This will hopefully make the people more conscious about India’s growth story, which in turn shall direct their energies towards progressive growth.

We hope that in the long run this informed portal will drive constructive debates in the country on policy and development, as after all, that is what really matters if we are to grow inclusively and be a global force to reckon with. We want to make people smarter by giving them knowledge over mere information.

1.2 Nature of Articles
The articles can be analytical, topical, data driven, commentaries or opinions. They should be ideally written in a simple language between 800-1200 words. The writer is free to propose any topic within his/her area of expertise or interest. At the same time, we would be happy to send in ideas on which the writer may draft and publish articles.
The following themes must be catered to:
• To disseminate knowledge – Analyze the development from a perspective of India’s growth and impact to people
• Call To Action – Propose policy recommendations to existing challenges
• Positive Stories – Report and promote constructive developmental activities
• Innovation – If there is a new technology will can solve development issues, and then report them. Also inform how this can scaled up
• Demonstrate Impact of Existing Policy – Report the failure/success of the existing policies in driving development to the people
• Critique of existing policies – Comment whether a particular decision of the Government, a scheme, plan or a policy is functioning alright or not
• Ideas Sharing – Propose how an Indian system can benefit from solutions practiced abroad
• How governance effects people – Demonstrate how a particular system impacts the lives of the people and why it needs to continue or change

2.1 Drafting a Story
The primary objective of The Dialogue is to make everyday policies easily accessible to each and every person in India. This means it should be easily readable with clarity of thought.

2.2 Nut graph
The first paragraph or the lead of an article is called nut graph- the para that explains the news value of a story. The nut graph demands to know what the article is about and should consists of 5W’s and H (What, When, Why, Where, Who and How). But for a narrative style like The Dialogue our most essential component should be Why and How. Why would a reader want to know about a particular topic and how does it impact him.
A ‘how’ should also explain the solution to the questions raised by the author, the article can be left open-ended as long as the article has a simple symmetry.

2.3 Middle and Ending Sections
Once the nut graph has been introduced, the upcoming paragraphs should explain in detail the current scenario. Whom and how is a particular policy affecting. Assertion and stated fact by the author should be accompanied by evidence.Concluding paragraphs are as important as the lead paragraph. There should be decisive end to an article. The concluding paragraph shouldn’t be a moment of epiphany and neither should it paint a dark and grim picture on any policy. Let the readers be imaginative, just state facts and follow verity.

2.3 Brevity is Bible
We at The Dialogue want to sensitize and make people aware of the state of our policy, so that they understand the state of affairs. Unnecessary, repetitive words spoil the idea of good reading experience. So avoid them. Be crisp. Be punchy. Be assertive.

2.5 Visual element
Always look for a visual element for a story, they are appealing and connects better with audience.

George Orwell’s elementary rules for effective writing (“Politics and the English Language”, 1946):
• Never use a Metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. It kills all innovation and creativity, try something else. (“There is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles’ heel, swan song, hotbed.”)
• Never use a long word where a short one will do.
• If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out. (Avoid strike action (strike), cutbacks (cuts), track record (record), large-scale (big), the policymaking process (policymaking), sale events (sales), weather conditions (weather), etc.)
• Never use the Passive where you can use the active.
• Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a Jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
• “To write a genuine, familiar or truly English style”, said Hazlitt, “is to write as anyone would speak in common conversation who had a thorough command or choice of words or who could discourse with ease, force and perspicuity setting aside all pedantic and oratorical flourishes.