The Economist has a style guide online, but do not be fooled! They do not always follow it – and, besides, it leaves out tons of important stuff.
So here are the main things to keep in mind to write like The Economist:
1. Attend Oxford University. Cambridge, if you must.
2. Be White – like 97% of its correspondents. Or at least be near White, like the other 3%.
3. Be anonymous. You are allowed to call yourself “this correspondent” or “this reporter”.
4. Be Eurocentric. Westerners are 4.7 times more important than everyone else. The table of contents proves it! Everyone should be like the West. The US, Britain and Israel are the moral centre of the world, even when they break international law. Even when they slaughter civilians. Because they mean well.
5. Be racist – do not have “trembling racial sensibilities”. Be wilfully blind to racism! Say that slave owners were nice to their slaves – capitalism rocks! Use the Broken Africa stereotype, Black pathologies and Mock Spanish. Use the word “whitey”. Assume that everyone wants to be like White people. If someone does not want to wear blue jeans or date White women, there must be something wrong with them.
6. Use the four-and-a-half race model for the US: blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and, only when talking about the other races, whites.
7. Watch Hollywood films.
8. Article length: 450 to 1500 words.
9. Reading level: university.
10. Do not use an inverse pyramid style. Do not tell readers the most important facts first. Keep them guessing!
11. Headline: Use film titles, like “From Russia With Love”, “Face-Off”, or “As Good As It Gets”. They are so witty!
12. Think in terms of abstract nouns and weak verbs, not concrete actors and actions.
13. Use unnecessarily long sentences. This is a must.
14. Avoid single-line paragraphs. This is forbidden.
15. Overuse: chat up, bit, keen, loth, fret, row, sort, flog, sacked, ten years on, flog (again), put paid, one-off, knock-on effect, bizarrely, invariably and problem.
16. Do not use issue as a synonym for problem. Be precise. Use problem.
17. Use Briticisms: lorry, whinge, petrol, maths, quango, council estate, queue, come top, white goods, pushchair, fizzy drink, boffin, jam tomorrow. But do not overdo it – an article should have no more than two. Just to even it out, use the American spelling for aluminium.
18. Avoid slang, jargon, needless words and cricket metaphors. They are so good at this that I try to avoid baseball and basketball metaphors, like strike out and slam dunk.
19. Important terms:
- this newspaper – The Economist.
- terrorist – a non-state actor or regime that fights against Western interests.
- regime – a government that The Economist disapproves of, like those that go against against Western interests.
- Western interests – big banks and big companies owned by White people, like the ones most of The Economist’s readers work for.
- illegal immigrant – be reductive and imprecise!
- sub-Saharan Africa – because all Black people are alike.
- The dark continent – because it is still 1849.
- black-on-black crime – use when talking about police crime.
- white fathers – do not use.
- black fathers – use.
– Abagond, 2015.
- The Vast Talking Machine
- The Economist
- style guide – the one for this blog, partly based on The Economist’s authorized style guide.
- reading level
- What “world” history has taught me – not far different from what The Economist teaches.