Bylines are offered in two styles: Beneath the headline,
for stories showing significant enterprise on the part
of the writer and apt research including gathering of
quotes; and tag lines (author’s name appears at
story’s end) for stories that are less labor-intensive.
Please remember to include author’s name on all
submissions, and indicate those instances when you would
prefer that no attribution be used.
Record deadlines are 2 weeks before publication
date. Material submitted past deadline cannot usually
be accommodated. In general, however, past-due submissions
stand a greater chance of appearing if they are very
All stories submitted to the Record should
include headlines. They should be brief, catchy and
should summarize the story. Often, a “kicker”
or companion headline that runs atop the main headline,
can offer a one-two punch that grabs the reader.
We use italic typeface for words in foreign languages
(e.g., summa cum laude, or ad hoc) and for the titles
of books, publications, television shows, movies, plays,
song titles and other forms of entertainment. We also
use italics occasionally for emphasis within a sentence.
Parts of Speech/Verb Tense
If you begin a story using past tense expressions such
as said, added, noted, or explained, please be consistent
throughout the story. Present tense often works, too,
but the tense should not shift within the story.
The article “the” is rarely necessary when
preceding the name of an institution. We would write,
“Jones is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University
and now works at NIH,” not “Jones is a graduate
of the Johns Hopkins University and now works at the
NIH.” We almost never add the location of an academic
institution to the title, because most people know that
Hopkins is in Baltimore, Harvard is in Boston, Penn
is in Philly, etc.
Our convention is to name the people in photographs
from left to right, which we abbreviate “(from
l).” We prefer not to include within captions
people who are not shown, but sometimes it is necessary.
We prefer color digital images in jpg or tif form, and
in high-resolution (minimum of 300 dots per inch).
We are happy to credit photos if you supply us with
the name of the photographer. Note that we cannot offer
copyright protection on any photos, since all our published
work is in the public domain. If there are copyright
restrictions on an image, we cannot use it.
We don’t hyphenate the words email or online.
We always refer to NIH buildings as Bldg. rather than
the full word.
We do not use trademark or copyright symbols.
When referring to academic degrees, we use periods,
so that it is B.A., M.D. and Ph.D. rather than BA, MD
We use postal code abbreviations for states in addresses
only (as in an obituary when a memorial gift is directed
to a specific street address); otherwise we use AP abbreviations
— Massachusetts is Mass., California is Calif.,
We do not use the serial comma and remove it when it
precedes the last item in a series. For example, “He
was a scientist, writer, and musician” is more
properly “He was a scientist, writer and musician.”
Semi-colons should replace commas in a series of unrelated
Please consider 500 words the upper limit; shorter articles,
and especially photos/captions, are welcome. On some
occasions (such as an institute anniversary) longer
submissions are acceptable — please consult the
When a story is long, it is a favor to the reader to
break up copy by using subheads, which are brief but
catchy phrases signaling a shift in topic. Please insert
them when your stories are long; we add them, too, when
We use cardinal numbers, not ordinal (for example, we
use May 21, not May 21st). We also often add the day
of the week, if we think it helps the reader, i.e.,
it is more useful to know that May 21 is a Monday, for
planning purposes, than simply to know the date.
We economize all hour references, so that it’s
3 p.m., not 3:00 p.m. The p.m. and a.m. are always lower
case, separated by periods.
It is rarely necessary to add the year when mentioning
We use the words one, two, three, etc. through nine
when referring to people and places, but use numbers
1, 2, 3, etc., when referring to quantities. For 10
and more, we generally use the number only. A numeral
is always used if numbers appear in a series.
We repeat the order of magnitude in stories involving
large numbers. For example, “Disease X affects
between 3 and 4 million people” is more properly
“Disease X affects between 3 million and 4 million
When we publish phone numbers, the area code or any
3-digit code preceding the 7-digit number is put in
parentheses. For example, we use (301) 496-2125 rather
For numbers higher than 999, we use the comma (1,000,
Upper and Lower Case
The Record tries to avoid upper case “alphabet
soup.” Paragraphs filled with acronyms and initials
impede readers; so does excessive capitalization. In
general, for NIH, caps are appropriate at branch level
and above (but not for sections, units, groups, task
forces, interest groups or committees). Outside of NIH,
for universities, medical centers and colleges, we don’t
use caps for divisions, departments or other subgroups
same with state offices and departments. We use acronyms
to economize, instead of spelling out IC titles. In
other cases, we avoid them if there is no second reference
within the story.
The Record refers to both M.D.s and Ph.D.s
as “Dr.” on first reference, and thereafter
uses the last name only. The title “Dr.”
also means that any accompanying title that precedes
it is lower-case, for example: NIH director Dr. Elias
Zerhouni, or NIH deputy director for extramural research
Dr. Norka Ruiz Bravo.
For non-doctors, if the job title precedes the person’s
name, upper case is used (e.g., NIH Deputy Director
for Management Colleen Barros). However if the title
comes after the name, lower case is indicated (Colleen
Barros, NIH deputy director for management).
These are often helpful to guide readers to more information,
but can be unwieldy if the address is long. We tend
to omit them if they are excessively bulky.
It is not necessary to include the http:// prefix when
giving web addresses. Also, web site should be two words,