Talk the talk: Tools for better DEI communications

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That childhood saying is unfortunately not true. We know that language is powerful and can cause great harm to individuals, communities, and systems. With the expansiveness of human experience, it can be intimidating to approach any topic and not leave anyone behind. Yet as communicators, we know that inclusive communication is impactful, educational, and credible. Here are six style guides to bookmark today to assist you in supportively writing across differences.

  1. National Center on Disability and Journalism Disability Language Style Guide: Learn words and terms associated with disability. Developed at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, users can expect lots of empirical background which informs each recommendation. 
  2. Diversity Style Guide: Explore dozens of style guides and resources for more than 700 terms related to race/ethnicity, disability, immigration, sexuality, gender identity, drugs, alcohol, and geography.
  3. Carter Center Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health: Delve into guidance on mental health and substance use issues, with the objective of encouraging media professionals to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions of traditionally sensationalized topics.
  4. Language, Please: A “living resource” of regularly updated style guidance on hundreds of terms with in-depth context, further resources, and related terms. Their site is also home to interactive editing exercises and an independent inclusivity reader directory.  
  5. Trans Journalists Association Style Guide: Created to “promote more accurate, nuanced coverage of trans issues and communities in the media,” this tool gives guidance on terminology, and also best practices for newsroom and source ethics and procedures. 
  6. Associated Press Stylebook: Tried and true, the AP Stylebook is a trusted resource for all things news journalism. It is free to access through University Libraries with an active University login.

Note: Any style guide is just a well-meaning recommendation. As language and subsequent research evolve, these guidelines will (and should) change. Some guides may even contradict one another. What matters most is making informed, holistic decisions that respect those you are reporting about and to. 

For more information, check out our Tools for Communicating About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. If you have further questions, reach out to University Relations at or the Office for Equity and Diversity at