Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Style and formatting for Mass Comm Week blog

Follow these standard formatting rules when writing your Mass Comm Week story.
  • Headlines
Use down style - that means use uppercase only for the first word of the headline and for proper nouns
  • Bylines
 The byline should be at the top of the story before you begin the text and formatted as in the example screen grab at the bottom of this post.
  • Text
The text should conform to the style of the blog. Do not indent paragraphs. After each paragraph, simply hit return once and begin typing the next paragraph. The blog formatting will insert one space between your paragraphs. If you plan to cut and paste from Word, follow the cut-and-paste directions posted on this blog.
  • Links
All posts should include appropriate links. Consider linking to the speaker's place of employment, his or her work samples or website or other relevant material mentioned during the presentation. Links are best when they are tied to appropriate words rather than inserted as URLs or added at the end of stories. If you want to link to the Mass Comm Week blog, this would be the appropriate way to do that. 
  • Photos
Insert photos in a way that works well with the design of the post. Blogs don't afford much control of the design but you are able to select a size and placement. Don't make the photo too large or too small for the content. Add a photo caption, or cutline as journalists refer to it, and a photo credit. The sample screen shot below does not include a photo credit or cutline, but you should.
  • Video
If you include video, include an intro paragraph of text that acts as a lead explaining a bit about the session so that the video makes sense. You don't have to explain what readers will see on the video but offer a short intro to the session and then embed the video. Include a byline before your text.
  • Storify
If you post a Storify, add an intro paragraph that tips to the Storify. It should be a lead-in paragraph and then insert a page break, which is the tool called insert jump break that looks like a page with a jagged line. You might even consider doing a screen grab of a piece of your Storify, a photo from your Storify or even a photo you took and adding that before your page break so that your post is more visually appealing. The page break will put the Storify on the next page for readers who click read more. Be sure to add a byline at the top of your initial post.
  • Corrections or errors
It is very important that all names and proper nouns be spelled correctly and that all facts be correct and fact checked. This publication reflects on you, the school and the university.
If you make a mistake or need to edit your post, please sign in to the blog and click the pencil icon at the bottom of your post to access your post and make the correction. If you don't see your post on the blog, it may have been placed in draft mode pending corrections. If you cannot access your post to make corrections, contact your professor for instructions.
Fact errors and name misspellings will result in a significant grade reduction, but that is nothing compared to the embarrassment of having a mass comm speaker tweet about how a Texas State student got a name wrong.
It is a good idea to find an editing partner to read your post before you post or right after you post. We are all better with editing.
  • Class Assignments
Refer to your specific class assignments for what is required in your class. These guidelines are designed to help you present your material in a professional manner on the Mass Comm Week blog. The blog is viewed by thousands of people during Mass Comm Week, including the people you are writing about, so you want to make a good impression.

  • Sample post
This post is not perfect. It needs links and could use a cutline and photo credit, but it gives you and idea of what your post should look like.

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