Editorial Guidelines

These guidelines assist people writing (or pitching) articles for Startup News to ensure consistency and clarity.

Our Guiding Light: why’s it of interest for WA startups?

If you’re going to write anything on (or send story idea to) Startup News, then you need to be able to answer this question – why would a West Australian startup be interested?

What’s in it for them? What will they learn? Will it add some value, some advice, a tip,  case study of success, or tell them what not to do? What’s ‘newsy‘?

I wish to register a complaint

Please read our Complaints Policy.

I’m a startup and want to be featured!

No doubt you’d like to feature yourself and your startup on the site, but it’s not about you, it’s about the reader. If you keep this in mind, you’ll be going in the right direction.

If you are a startup wanting to be covered in Startup News, then it might be a good idea to read this article, which explains how to write a good press release that is more likely to be picked up. (While you’re at it, read this and also this on how to win free media for your startup.)

I’m a contributor and have an article idea!

We’d love to hear from you, but please note:

  • all articles should be your own work;
  • all articles should be submitted with a couple of high-resolution images if possible (main image preferred size 1068 x 712 pixels, landscape format);
  • no links to any affiliate schemes or affiliate links, EVER!
  • any perceived bias or conflict of interest should be addressed with a disclosure within (or at the end of) the article itself.

Common guidelines:

  • we use //SN to refer to Startup News;
  • startup, not start-up or Start up;
  • full name first, then first name from then on;
  • the first time a person or organisation is mentioned, bold their name;
  • all introductory paragraphs should be in ‘Heading 2’ style, and all further sub-headings should be in Heading 3, or within one heading 3, a heading 4.
  • in the intro heading, add in the light blue ‘//‘ marks using html (the code is: <font color=”lightblue”>//</font>)

Australian spelling

  • always use Australian spelling, unless the word is part of a publication or organisation name;
  • use ‘re’ in ‘centre’, etc (not ‘er’), ‘s’ over ‘z’ (organisation), program (not ‘programme’) unless it is the name of a particular institution.


  • please do not use ppl, lol or any other internet abbreviations.


  • acronyms (eg AWIA, FI, UWA) should be spelled out with the acronym in parentheses in the first instance and all caps thereafter. First reference: “He is with the University of Western Australia (UWA)”. Second reference: “At UWA he does x”.

Ampersand (&)

  • ampersands are used in headings and table formats, otherwise use ‘and’.

At symbol (@)

  • use only within email addresses and Twitter handles or within scientific measurements. Do not use in titles, headings or regular text as an abbreviation for the word ‘at’.

Bullet points

  • where the list is part of sentence (preceded by a colon), begin each point in lower case with no commas or semi-colons, putting a full-stop at the end of the last bullet point;
  • if the list is not part of a sentence, begin each point in upper case and use full stops at the end of each complete sentence;
  • use number points when you will be referring back to them or if the order of the points is important.


  • our style is for minimal capitalisation; that is, only the first letter of the heading or title is capitalised, along with any proper nouns;
  • only people’s names, position titles, names of work groups, organisational units, degree titles (e.g. Bachelor of Art) and publications should be capitalised;
  • almost everything else should be in sentence case. Including the article heading.


  • Thursday 17 March 1917 (no commas). Use 12 May, unless directly quoting someone saying “May 12″. Do not say 12th of May!


  • to separate a range of dates or numbers. In this use the dash should NOT have spaces either side e.g. 7–8 pm;
  • a single dash can be used to introduce an explanation or expansion of what comes before it e.g. “But when the firestorm of January 2013 ravaged the nation’s capital, much of the two-storey brick home was destroyed – seemingly beyond repair”;
  • a pair of dashes can be used to indicate asides and parentheses, forming a more distinct break than commas would e.g. “Helen has only seen her father once in her adult life and – and until her flight from Sydney – had never met her brother.”


If the author has any relationship with any subject of the article (such as a business or working or personal relationship), then this should be disclosed. For example, any articles about sponsors of Startup News should mention they are a sponsor. Simply state: “Disclosure: Curtin University is a sponsor of Startup News.” at the very end of the article.

The fact they are a sponsor should be immaterial to what is published, but it should be stated in any case. Likewise, if the author works for, has an investment in, is related to or has some business dealings with an organisation or person mentioned in article.

The disclosure of any conflicts of interest should be clearly made, to ensure editorial integrity at all times.

enquiry, enquiries 

  • not inquiry, unless it is an official investigation into something.

Exclamation points

  • an exclamation point (which should be used sparingly to be effective) marks an outcry or an emphatic or ironic comment. If in doubt, don’t use them!!! And don’t ever use it more than once in a single communication.

Gender-specific references

  • avoid gender-specific references where possible i.e. ‘chair’, not ‘chairman/woman/person’.


  • use the dollar symbol followed by the figure ($1,000). Use a comma when referring to thousands or larger numbers;
  • use country abbreviation followed by currency symbol to denote currencies (A$1,000, US$1,000, NZ$1,000);
  • in headings, abbreviated forms of large numbers are acceptable, for example: $1B or $1M.


  • within regular prose, numbers one to nine should be spelt out and 10 and above should be numerals;
  • if starting a sentence with a number cannot be avoided, write the numbers as words, for example: use “Twenty-nine people attended the launch” instead of “29 people attended the launch”;
  • numeral form is acceptable when used together with a unit of measurement (weight, distance, date, time etc), in tables, in a series of numbers provided for comparison (e.g. 5 of 500 people), and in mathematical and scientific contexts.

Quotation marks

  • double quotation marks are only used for quoting speech or words from published work (i.e. newspapers, journals, books etc) e.g. “The University is world class,” said Mr Blah;
  • single quote marks are used for:
    • emphasising in text e.g. The ‘real’ story behind the fire was
    • quoting something inside a quote e.g. “Annabel said ‘The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain’ but she didn’t say why,” explained Mr Blah;
    • where the quote-within-a-quote ends the quote, put single quotes before full stop and double quotes after e.g. “When I asked him about the rain in Spain, Mr Blah said, ‘It falls mainly on the plain’.”;
  • quotation marks always come after the punctuation e.g. “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain,” Mr Blah said. Unless the quote is not a full sentence e.g. Mr Blah said the rain in Spain “falls mainly on the plain”.


  • preferred style for listing time. 10am and 2pm, not 10.00am and 2.00pm. Use a dash to show duration, not “to” (that is, 2–4pm not 2 to 4pm).


  • publications, plays, movies, conferences, album titles all in italics.


  • when including links on a webpage or in an email always hyperlink text that represents the meaningful action/name of the link destination instead of writing out the URL. An exception to this rule is when you have a short promotional URL you would like people to remember;
  • http:// should not be included in front of URLs in print. URLs without them take you to the same place, and so they are extraneous characters;
  • ensure the link opens a new tab like this, and does not replace the StartupNews.com.au website.