Editorial principles

Write your bulletin in a consistent format and style to help users navigate, consume, understand and use it.

To do this, follow our eight editorial principles for statistical bulletins:

  1. Bulletin means bulletin
  2. Tell a story through the data
  3. Find a topical angle
  4. Understand what your users want
  5. Don’t bury the story in stats
  6. Every section must have value
  7. Every section should be self-contained
  8. Write concisely in plain English

Bulletin means bulletin

Only include new and essential commentary unique to this release. Leave any information that doesn’t change from release to release in other parts of the website, such as Methodology.  

Avoid lengthy commentary. Use visual elements such as charts to help users understand the information at a glance.

Tell a story through the data

Your bulletin must tell the story that the new data reveals. Replicating the previous bulletin is likely to obscure what has changed or emerged.

Find a topical angle

If your data and its analysis can help shed light on current events then place it in the context of a topical news subject or story.

Understand what your users want

Keep in mind who the users are when writing your bulletin. What do they need to know and what is the best way to tell them?

Don’t bury the story in stats

Decide what the most important messages are and only include these. Include everything else in other, more detailed, articles and methodology reports.

Every section must have a value

Write and structure your bulletin so that every section justifies its inclusion. Will commentary help users or is the information better presented just as data?

Every section should be self-contained

Bulletins are not news stories with a beginning, middle and end. Structure your bulletin into sections which discuss different subjects or information. Users must be able to read and understand each section on its own.

You should not have a section that is simply used for information that doesn’t fit anywhere else, like Background notes. The new structure accommodates all your bulletin needs, and static information should be provided elsewhere on the website.

Write concisely in plain English

Put the most important information first. Follow our guidance for writing releases in plain English, and consider how users read information online.