Last updated on January 17, 2022. We track all revisions and include the latest changes below.
Language is messy. It can be inconsistent, nuanced, and have a lot of stigmas. Every word has the power to shape how communities see us and feel seen. So starting in May 2021, our newsroom launched Dialogue, an initiative from Southern California Public Radio to redesign its style guide informed by the desires of our communities and staff. (Here's how we did this and why it's important.)
People may also hear or read content informed by external style guides. For example, NPR-produced shows can be heard on-air at 89.3 FM, on the KPCC app, or at kpcc.org.
While journalists should make every effort to ask people featured in KPCC/LAist content what they prefer, we believe intentional and researched guidelines are important. Before this guide, we used the Associated Press Stylebook (a style guide commonly followed by American newsrooms).
The guidance below supersedes any previous internal guidance. We invite you to share your perspective below as this is a living guide that will be updated.
The addiction entry is an entirely new addition to the guide and contains multiple areas of guidance. It was developed through research and conversations in the newsroom to be compassionate about the public health issue.
Substance addiction and misuse are health issues that affect people deeply. Be very mindful about when and why you’re using language that depicts addiction as a disease or illness because it can create barriers to recovery, according to 2019 research in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. Instead of solely referencing addiction as a disease, include specific context about the person’s health issue and methods for recovery. Addiction and alcoholism are generally acceptable for the conditions but properly source and name the substance for personal experiences.
Don’t refer to people as addicts, alcoholics, users, or use other labels about substance use unless it’s a direct quote or an organization’s name (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous). Use person-first language: “Jamie developed an opioid addiction after they started a prescription.”
Avoid describing sobriety as clean or dirty. For clinical and general alternatives, see the National Institute of Health.
Beyond this, we rely on guidance from the AP Stylebook:
- Avoid words like abuse or problem in favor of the word use with an appropriate modifier such as risky, unhealthy, excessive or heavy. Misuse is also acceptable. Don’t assume all people who engage in risky use of drugs or alcohol have an addiction.
- Not all compulsive behaviors, including shopping, eating and sex, are considered addictions. Gambling is the only one classified as an addiction in the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual. The World Health Organization says excessive video gaming can be an addiction.
- The term misuse can be helpful in cases of legally prescribed medications, such as if a person with a painkiller prescription purposely takes too many … or excessively uses medical marijuana. Such actions do not necessarily entail an addiction but can progress into one.
Avoiding Othering And Monolithic LanguageEvery effort should be made to use language that promotes belonging and identity. We avoid charged language and coded words that can generalize or other groups of people.
Our newsroom avoids othering and monolithic language. Othering implies distance and casts a person or group as different, while monolithic language describes communities without including nuanced experiences. There is no hard and fast way to identify when these writing styles show up, but they go hand-in-hand in contributing to systemic problems and biases. For example:
- When working with a community that you're not a part of, avoid language like "those people say..." Instead, use language like "people in this neighborhood say..." when appropriate. Be aware of the reasons for your use of they, us, and we and why you're attributing any qualities to a person or group. Every time the aforementioned words are used, we say exactly who we mean.
- Avoid descriptions that cast a group as a monolith unless you're speaking nationally, statewide, or using statistics. Is there one Black community in L.A. County, or are there multiple communities in it? Use simple and specific language to reflect the experiences with sentences like "Members of South L.A.'s Black communities have said..." or "Some Black trans and nonbinary communities have said..."
There are dozens of neighborhoods in Los Angeles County, and the boundaries can change over time. To better reflect the breadth of experiences within our communities, our newsroom uses specific names of neighborhoods when we’re not speaking broadly. If a story includes Boyle Heights, we say that instead of East L.A. To determine these boundaries, we follow the guides in this map for all of L.A. County. If it’s a small neighborhood that our audiences might be unfamiliar with, add more descriptions in the story: "Japantown in West L.A." We also capitalize East, South and West L.A., but don’t use North L.A.
Our newsroom uses specific language that plainly describes any actions instead of using loaded terms like riot, clash, and looting. While we generally avoid these terms, staff should have thoughtful conversations with their editors if they feel a story or coverage situation merits it. When more succinct language would benefit our audiences (e.g. the insurrection at the Capitol), priority should be given to words that will accurately describe the impact of a situation. We do not use qualifiers like peaceful protest, unless it's in a quote, because it incorrectly implies that other protests are inherently unpeaceful.
We are also mindful that individual actions should not always be attributed to all protesters or an organization, so care should be taken to provide context for an action. Whenever possible, we describe who did what and why and include how we know this.
We no longer use any version of L.A. Riots to refer to the uprising after the Rodney King verdict or Watts Riots to describe the events following Marquette and Ronald Frye’s traffic stop in 1965. While riot is used historically, we cannot ignore the media's role in popularizing a term that is now often used as a dog whistle for race, as NPR’s Code Switch highlights. Words like response, unrest, or uprising encourage our audiences to think deeper about its origins.
Because timing and space are crucial, using versions of "the L.A. uprising in 1992" and "the Watts uprising in 1965" are acceptable.
Certain phrases can further stigmatize suicide or undermine suicide prevention, such as commit suicide. This can imply a criminal act. Our newsroom uses guidance from Reporting on Suicide and the AP to report compassionately. For example:
- Use "killed themself," "took their own life," or "died by suicide" when appropriate.
- Avoid presenting suicide as an acceptable response to hardship or stress. We also avoid shaming people who struggle with suicide.
- When reporting a digital story involving suicide, include appropriate resources for suicide prevention and mental health at the top (there is also a shared infobox for stories in the SHARED module under Mental Health Infobox), such as:
- Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s 24/7 Help Line (Spanish available): 800-854-7771
- East Los Angeles Women’s Center 24/7 crisis hotline (Spanish available): 800-585-6231
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 for 24/7 crisis counseling
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
- When reporting a broadcast story involving suicide, include at least one of the aforementioned resources at the end.
For more guidance and best practices, staff should see Reporting on Suicide.
In general, our newsroom uses language that can apply to any gender. This treats people equally and includes people whose gender is not strictly male or female. We also avoid words that can emphasize one gender over another. This helps us be more inclusive and disrupt gender stereotypes.
An example: use business owner and business person instead of businessman or businesswoman, or use a more precise word if it's available (e.g. manager, executive, etc.)
When it’s appropriate, using the plural version of a description is also useful for clarity. An example: "Students who lose too much sleep may have trouble focusing during their exams."
Our newsroom only includes someone’s specific gender if it’s relevant to a story. If we’re not able to verify someone’s gender, use the source’s name in place of a pronoun unless there is evidence available from the source indicating the pronoun (e.g. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s website, which uses he/him).
We also use phrases like reproductive health, pregnant people, and birthing person when writing about abortion, birth control, and other reproductive health issues because this also affects trans and nonbinary people.
For more guidance on gender-neutral language and examples, staff should see the AP Stylebook.
Our newsroom is committed to including a range of voices in our coverage, and that includes across multiple generations. Generally, we only include a person’s age when it’s directly relevant to the story (e.g., "At 62, Jane Smith is now eligible for Medicare."). We write it as the number and avoid using elderly and senior unless it’s a part of a care facility name or the source prefers it. While these terms traditionally refer to people over 65, they often come with preconceived notions about mobility and independence. If either of these terms is a part of a facility’s name, we ask how this is defined to provide clarity for our audiences. In headlines and social copy, use people over 65 or a more specific age instead of seniors.
When our content includes someone under 18 years old, we specify that because future employers' and colleagues’ perceptions may be influenced by it.
Our newsroom uses person-first language in many cases, which puts the person before the descriptor. It's used by some to limit stigma and avoid objectifying someone’s identities, circumstances, or traits. An example: "People without health insurance face extra costs."
In social copy and headlines, identity-first language (e.g. uninsured people) may be better suited for length, but efforts should be made to stick with the style above. In most cases, only one extra word is needed. We do not objectify someone’s qualities (e.g. don’t use phrases like the uninsured).
We don't let person-first style stand alone. We also add more information about a specific identity or trait and how we know it because no experience is the same.
An exception with disabilities: Always find out how a person or organization wants to be described. There will be times when identity-first language (e.g. deaf people) is right. When this can't be determined, use person-first language. This follows guidance from the National Center on Disability and Journalism.
In line with the California Department of Education, our newsroom uses students with disabilities to describe students who receive special education services, unless a source says otherwise. See "Avoiding Abelsim" for more disability guidance.
When working on a story involving historically excluded groups, it's important to view the contents holistically and individually to know if biases or stereotypes are present. Our newsroom examines a story's photos for typecasting and isolated depictions of activity (e.g. showing fires at a protest even if it was just the one).
We recognize that our choices may have a lasting impact on the people and/or issues portrayed, especially in high-profile cases, and become part of the ongoing social narrative about the communities involved. A good way to identify the best visual representation for a story is to plan ahead and work with the visual journalist to produce illustrations or images that are accurate representations.
Our newsroom is also required to use alt text functionality; it’s not an optional setting to glaze over. The purpose of alt text is to help audiences who are hard of seeing understand what’s on the page; i.e. someone might be using a read-to-text service. See WebAIM’s best practices for writing alt text.
When choosing a photograph of a trans person, efforts should be made to use gender-affirming photos regardless of how long the person has been out.
Our newsroom avoids using shorthand descriptions (e.g. constructions with anti-, pro-, and ___ supporter) in digital stories because these can be cumbersome to understand and oversimplify someone. Clarity is paramount for our audiences. This includes what The New York Times stylebook calls false titles, which are a description or job designation with someone’s name as if it were a formal title. For example, instead of "Trump supporter John Smith," the preferred characterization would be "John Smith, who supports former President Trump."
We may use some level of shorthand in places where short copy is needed (e.g. broadcasts, headlines, and social) due to timing and limited space, but effort should be made to stick with the style above. Clarity and ethics also come before the tone for LAist copy. We do not assume everyone knows shorthand phrasing. Staff should consult an editor if they believe shorthand is merited and be mindful to avoid negative connotations.
Using Victim and Survivor
When working with people who’ve lived through a deeply distressing or disturbing experience, some people may prefer to be described as a survivor or a victim. Our newsroom takes special care with these terms because the words can imply multiple meanings (e.g. survivor could mean someone who’s lived through cancer, endured a threat, or experienced sexual assault). We are also cautious of the assumptions that come with victim because it can depict someone as weak or powerless and hold legal connotations. We ask a person how they want to be described and explain the context compassionately.
When reporting a digital story involving trauma, include appropriate mental health and reporting resources at the top (there is also a shared infobox for stories in the SHARED module under Mental Health Infobox), such as:
- Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s 24/7 Helpline (Spanish available): 800-854-7771
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 for 24/7 crisis counseling
- East Los Angeles Women’s Center 24/7 crisis hotline (Spanish available): 800-585-6231
When reporting a broadcast story involving trauma, include at least one of the aforementioned resources at the end.
In our newsroom, we strive to avoid ableist language. Some of the English language’s most common phrases are ableist, meaning it uses words originally meant to refer to a condition someone has and/or takes it out of context with negative connotations. For example, crazy and turn a blind eye are considered ableist by some because it stigmatizes mental health and vision loss. Even tone-deaf and blindspot are rooted in ableism.
To avoid this, we do not use ableist hyperbolic words or expressions unless it’s in a quote that is necessary to a story. We say what we mean and ask sources how they would like to be described. For example:
- Instead of turn a blind eye, say what the idiom implies: To wrongly ignore something.
- Avoid using birth defect, deformed, and other phrases that describe conditions negatively. Instead, plainly explain the disability or injury.
Always find out how a person or organization wants to be described. There will be times when identity-first language (e.g. deaf people) is right. When this can't be determined, use person-first language. This follows guidance from the National Center on Disability and Journalism.
In line with the California Department of Education, our newsroom uses students with disabilities to describe students who receive special education services, unless a source says otherwise.
The understanding of ableist language is evolving. For more guidance and best practices, staff should see the NCDJ's style guide.
Our newsroom does not describe an individual as having a mental illness unless it is clearly pertinent to a story and the diagnosis is properly sourced and named. When included, identify the source for the diagnosis. Seek firsthand knowledge; ask how the source knows. Don't rely on hearsay or speculate on a diagnosis. Specify the time frame for the diagnosis and ask about treatment.
A person's condition can change over time, so a diagnosis might not apply anymore. Keep in mind that mental illnesses exist in degrees: from mild, to serious, to severe. This information should be included in reporting.
Avoid anonymous sources when discussing someone’s mental health. On-the-record sources may be family members, mental health professionals, medical authorities, law enforcement officials, or court records. Be sure they have accurate information to make the diagnosis. Provide examples of symptoms.
When meant broadly, we use mental illnesses because there are multiple diagnoses.
As with other illnesses, specific conditions should be named. Examples: "He was diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to court documents." "She was diagnosed with anorexia, according to her parents." "He was treated for depression."
It’s important to communicate pronouns in a non-othering way. Cisgender people who use she/her or he/him have the benefit of commonality on their side, but contrary to popular belief, they/them has been used as a singular pronoun since the 1300s. To remain fair and consistent, we do not explain a person's pronouns unless they are less common (like ze/zir). An example: Instead of "Jane Doe, who uses they/them pronouns, says they ride the bus," use "Jane Doe says they ride the bus."
When appropriate to include, our newsroom believes it is important to describe someone's sexual orientation in a way that does not imply choice. This includes avoiding words like prefers, decided to, or identifies as. If preferential terms are desired by a subject, explain that nuance (e.g. a person who's bisexual has a stronger attraction to one gender than another).
When it is appropriate to refer to someone’s gender transition, our newsroom does so affirmingly. Avoid the terms biological gender, biological sex, biological woman, biological female, biological man, or biological male even if used in the past tense. These terms are inaccurate and often offensive. Instead use, assigned male/female at birth, assigned sex at birth, or raised as a boy/girl. An example: "John, who was assigned female at birth, said he knew he was a boy at age five."
We do not deadname a trans person by using their former name unless it’s requested by that individual. If it is, we briefly explain this request to maintain trust since this can be harmful and offensive to trans people. We use someone's current name and pronouns when writing about that person in the past unless they tell us differently. When choosing a photograph of a trans person, efforts should be made to use gender-affirming photos regardless of how long the person has been out.
NPR’s guide to gender identity terms and the Trans Journalists Association’s style guide can help with spelling and structure. Staff should aim to use the same grammatical conventions used for cisgender people. For example, we don’t use gender nonbinary just like we wouldn’t use gender woman. We also avoid identifies as because this is an extra qualifier not used with cisgender people.
For more guidance and best practices, staff should first see the Trans Journalists Association's style guide.
When appropriate, our newsroom uses LGBTQ+ as an umbrella term for communities or groups of people in our headlines, stories, and social media copy. Though queer is also often used in the same way, this word is historically a slur that is now being reclaimed. We avoid using it unless it's desired by the subject.
There is no need to explain the acronym after its use unless you’re using a longer version for specificity. When working with individuals, do not describe someone as being LGBTQ+ and instead be specific with their identity. In most cases, it's not possible for someone to identify with all letters in the acronym at once.
For more guidance and best practices, staff should see The Association of LGBTQ Journalists’ style guide.
When someone's living condition is important to a story, our newsroom uses phrases like unhoused communities or people experiencing homelessness, unless you’ve asked the source and they’ve told you otherwise. Describing someone as homeless often brings many more descriptions to one's mind than just lacking a stable residence.
We also avoid the dehumanizing collective noun the homeless, but homelessness is acceptable. In headlines and social copy, use single words like unhoused.
When it’s appropriate to include immigration status into a story, our newsroom aims to specify how someone entered the country illegally and from where. For example, did the person cross a border or overstay a visa? Except in direct quotes essential to the story, we use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person. An example: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.
We do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals, or unauthorized immigrant unless it’s in a quote. Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution. Undocumented is acceptable as it is widely used by the communities we serve.
People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.
For more guidance and best practices, staff should see the NAHJ Cultural Competence Handbook.
When it’s necessary to include a person or group’s income level, it's important to reduce prejudice. Avoid terms like poverty-ridden and poverty-stricken, as these can make situations sound like a disease. Unless desired by the source, avoid using words like poor, underserved, and underprivileged. The terms can oversimplify complex issues and bring preconceived notions. Instead, use phrases like historically low-income to speak broadly or plainly describe a personal situation (e.g. "Jane can't afford to cover her bills"). Low-income is acceptable in places where brevity is needed, like in headlines and social media copy, or when referring to program eligibility.
In all cases, we should strive for specificity. As the Journalist's Resource puts it: "Rely on concrete statistics instead of labels or catch phrases." What makes an area low-income isn't universally understood. Use direct language like "80 percent of the adults living in this area earn $12,000 a year or less."
Our newsroom does not use minority to describe traditionally marginalized or underrepresented communities. Whenever possible, we plainly explain a community’s relative size or how it has been marginalized. An example: In the city of Los Angeles, Asian communities account for about 12% of the city’s population. Additionally, we avoid the term majority minority.
BIPOC And POC
Our newsroom uses the BIPOC and POC acronyms sparingly. The terms can lose meaning when overused. The terms POC (people of color) and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) are different because the latter emphasizes unique experiences for Black and Indigenous people.
When it's important to use POC or BIPOC, our newsroom does not use the acronyms for an individual because the meaning is usually plural. Using the expanded person of color or people of color is acceptable if a source wishes, but we strive for specificity. If we’re talking about specific groups of people (e.g. Latino communities in L.A.), we say that instead of using people of color, POC, or BIPOC.
We also avoid using the acronyms and the words racial and ethnic in objectifying ways. Examples of what to avoid include "BIPOCs protested downtown today," and "The restaurant serves ethnic meals."
Capitalizing Racial And Ethnic Identifiers
When including a person’s race is integral to a story, our newsroom capitalizes certain racial identifiers to highlight communal experiences. We capitalize the "B" in Black when referring to people connected to the African diaspora, within Africa, or who identify with that word. We also capitalize the "I" in Indigenous when referring to the original inhabitants of a place. This aligns with our long-standing capitalization of distinct racial and ethnic identifiers such as Latino, Asian American, and Native American (including tribal names).
For more guidance on capitalization, staff should see the AP Stylebook.
Including Race And Ethnicity
Our newsroom is committed to exploring how race and ethnicity affect every aspect of our society. However, including someone’s specific identity is not always relevant. Unless it’s necessary for our audiences’ understanding (like our Race In LA series), our newsroom does not include a person’s race or ethnicity. In medical reports, we exercise caution to avoid inferring that race or ethnicity could be a biological explanation for health outcomes.
Our newsroom also does not hyphenate any dual nationality or heritage terms. For example, we use Asian American instead of Asian-American.
Our newsroom uses Black instead of African American when speaking broadly. If you're unsure which descriptions to use and can't check with a source, keep this caveat in mind: Use the term that is most accurate and specific to the topic. For example, if a statistic uses the term African American, this should stay because it’s both accurate to the data and more specific.
In line with the National Association of Black Journalists, we also use biracial and multiracial instead of mixed to describe people with multiple racial identities unless a source tells us otherwise or shares more specific identities.
Including someone’s race or ethnicity should be done with care to avoid stereotyping people. We should not center whiteness as a default. There are times where race or ethnicity will explain impact, such as stories that involve groundbreaking and historic events, civil rights issues, and demonstrations. For example:
- Barack Obama is the first Black U.S. president.
- Jeremy Lin is the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.
- Black communities in Los Angeles are protesting against racial injustice.
In stories where law enforcement is seeking someone in connection with a crime, we do not include race or ethnicity. Police descriptions can often apply to thousands of people and dangerously encourage discrimination. In cases of extreme and immediate importance to our communities, we include race or ethnicity only when we know other distinctive information. An example: "The mass shooter is described as a 6 foot, 3 inch white man with a prosthetic leg, eyepatch, and three-cornered hat."
While our newsroom uses specific tribal names whenever possible, there isn’t a universally agreed upon term for Native American populations. We follow guidance from the Native American Journalists Association, which notes that American Indian or Native American is acceptable. We exercise caution when using Native as an adjective to describe style or appearance as this is commonly used as slang. We ask our sources how they would like to be described whenever possible.
For more guidance and best practices, staff should see the Native American Journalists Association's Terminology Guide or Indigenous Media Guides for reporting on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities as appropriate.
Historically, words for people with connections to Latin America have evolved multiple times. While our newsroom’s guidance is rooted in the AP Stylebook, we ask for a person's preference. When it’s not possible to verify this, or we’re speaking broadly, we use Latino. If a source has communicated to us that they use Latinx or Latine to identify themselves, we will use it in our story. An example: "Jennifer Lopez, a Latinx business owner in Mid City, applied for a PPP loan last year."
Criminal Justice Reporting
Too often, newsrooms repeat the police version of events with little revision or context, including when covering officer shootings. There are media reports of people losing their lives or being critically injured at the hands of police. Often, the initial accounts of the circumstances surrounding those deaths come directly from the police.
The risk of taking an agency’s statement or press release at face value has been evident in numerous incidents, including the initial police account of the murder of George Floyd, which was completely centered in the police narrative. Our newsroom follows certain guidelines for all criminal justice coverage, including:
- We do not take any law enforcement press release at face value, and do not reprint or broadcast police statements verbatim. We seek eyewitness accounts whenever possible. If no other information is available, we summarize the initial report and make clear that it’s based solely on an agency’s uncorroborated or unconfirmed account.
- We avoid vague attribution. Ask for names and use direct attribution at the beginning of a sentence, not the end, and be specific about how we reached them (e.g. “Lt. Jane Doe, a spokesperson for the LAPD, said in an interview/in a written statement/in an email, etc.”). We do not use attribution such as police said or according to law enforcement officials.
- We do not use law enforcement jargon. Phrases like officer-involved shooting, active shooter, vehicle pursuit, police action, or transported to a local hospital are all examples of police-speak that should not appear in our coverage. Use direct language, and avoid centering accounts in the police narrative. We center our accounts on the most reliable, credible sources we have.
- We do not use any militaristic terms to describe equipment or tactics used by police. Verbs like deploy (as in, “police deployed surveillance drones”), neutralize (as in “police neutralized the threat”) or disperse (“police dispersed the crowd”) should be avoided.
When our newsroom can specifically describe confirmed police use of force, we use that in place of "...at the hands of police," and do so in the active voice.
Our newsroom follows AP Style, which advises against using suspect as a catch-all to describe an unknown person who committed a crime. In other words, don’t use suspect as a substitute when words like robber or shooter could be more precise. This helps reduce ambiguity and priming before someone is arrested. Use suspect when it is the correct word. For example:
- "Lt. Jane Doe, a spokesperson for the LAPD, said in a press conference that the robber stole $15,000 in merchandise. The LAPD arrested a suspect the next day."
In stories where law enforcement is seeking someone in connection with a crime, we do not include race or ethnicity. See "Including Race And Ethnicity" for more. In line with AP Style, we also do not name suspects in brief stories involving minor crime when we won’t follow up.
Since it takes very little evidence to make an arrest, we should avoid naming someone who's been booked on suspicion of a crime(s), unless it's absolutely necessary, such as an elected official getting arrested. Once someone is charged, we can use the name but need to follow up when they're arraigned.
Given that 45% of the people in L.A. County jails have not been tried for the crime they were arrested for and wrongful convictions occur, it’s important to be mindful about how we describe people impacted by the justice system. Our newsroom follows The Marshall Project’s direction for covering people and incarceration, which prioritizes person-first language.
We do not call people inmates or convicts when they’re confined in correctional facilities. Instead use specific sentences like "people in Orange County prisons," "people in the Metropolitan Detention Center" or "John Doe was detained in the Men’s Central Jail."
We do not use felon, offender, sex offender, offense, parolee, and probationer. Instead, use sentences that explain context, like "people with felony convictions or low-level offenses…"
Exceptions are made for direct quotes that are essential to a story and personal essays. In cases where brevity is needed, staff should work with an editor to incorporate person-first language. For more guidance and best practices, see The Marshall Project.
Our newsroom does not use the term accident for traffic collisions. This makes a crash sound like an unavoidable result of increased vehicle use and risks minimizing responsibility when little is known. Unsafe speeds, inattentive driving, and decades of transportation disinvestment also contribute to a collision. Using words like collision and crash are acceptable.
Avoid using the phrase hit/killed by a car. This removes the onus of responsibility from the driver. Whether a crash was intentional or not, vehicles are tools used by people. Acceptable phrases include the driver hit a person with their car (or a phrase more accurate to the story).
Ashley Alvarado, Dana Amihere, Caitlin Biljan, Megan Garvey, Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, Caitlin Hernández, Josie Huang, Sal LoCurto, Harold A. Maio, Tony Marcano, Giuliana Mayo, Kristen Muller, Nubia Perez, Brian De Los Santos and the KPCC/LAist staff.