Story Template Checklist

A quick journalism primer for engineers

Walter Chronkite on Journalism (2006)

These are the directions on how to publish in ESTEEMStream.com. It is a rubric.

EDITOR’S PUBLISHING NOTES:

If you press SUBMIT FOR REVIEW and turn your article in with missing parts, the story will be placed back in your queue in “Draft Status.”  Check it against this checklist and fill out the missing parts.

THE EASY ROAD (The Easy Process For Writing Articles):

  1. CHOSE A TITLE FOR YOUR STORY:
    1. Enter the Title into the Headline Box, and choose “SAVE DRAFT.”
  2. SEARCH FOR RELATED STORIES USING YOUR STORY’S TITLE/HEADLINE IN GOOGLE:
    1. Search Google using the title/headline of your story, and place at least five RELATED STORIES in the body of your story.
    2. Press “SAVE DRAFT.”
  3. FILL OUT ALL THE BOXES:
    1. Using the checklist, fill out all the boxes in the story template and other elements of your story.
    2. Press “SAVE DRAFT.”
  4. USE RELATED STORIES TO GET MAIN IDEAS WRITTEN IN YOUR STORY:
    1. Open your first “RELATED STORY” and take the top three main ideas and write them into the Body of your story.
    2. Open your second “RELATED STORY” and take the top three main ideas and write them into the Body of your story.
    3. Repeat this for all five of your “RELATED STORIES” and you will have written 15 top ideas into the Body of your story.
    4. Clean it up.
    5. Press “SAVE DRAFT.”
  5. USE CHECKLIST TO CHECK YOUR STORY:
    1. Go through the checklist, paragraph by paragraph, and confirm you have completed all the tasks outlined in the checklist for your story.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE WRITING YOUR STORY:

CHOOSE A UNIQUE STORY: The story you write for ESTEEMStream.News must be unique–a story that has not already been reported in ESTEEMStream.News.

  1. SEARCH “ALL STORIES” TO SEE IF YOUR STORY HAS OR IS BEING WRITTEN: 
    1. Navigate to ESTEEMStream.News>Stories> “all stories” from the top menu, and then search for a keyword from your story to see what other stories are written on the same subject.
  2. YOU CAN NOT DO THE SAME STORY AS SOMEONE IS ALREADY DOING.

IF THERE ARE OTHER STORIES ABOUT YOUR SUBJECT, CHOOSE A UNIQUE “ANGLE” ON A STORY:

  1. If someone has done a story on the same subject, you will need to choose a unique angle on the story.
    1. The angle is the story’s point or theme. It’s the lens through which the writer filters the information they have gathered.  

PLAGIARISM: All writing must be your own words. No cutting and pasting. You can use the words of some other writer by formatting like this–

According to Mary Belweather at Wired Magazine, “blah blah blah.”

This format is the way we give attribution in a news article. There is no use of footnotes, nor are there citations in the way we do in a formal paper. If you are regurgitating what is in 10 or more articles on the subject–known and established facts–no attribution is needed other than the links to all those stories in the “RELATED STORIES:” which you will type at the end of your story.

LENGTH OF STORY & GENERAL “RULES” OF JOURNALISM:

  1. The average length of a news article can be anywhere between 200 and 800 words, averaging around 500 words. With less than that, it is difficult to create a story, but with more than that, it becomes difficult to put new and fresh information into the piece. *Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_(publishing)
  2. One way to judge the length of your story is to ask two questions:
    1. Is it so long that I am boring my reader? = Too Long
    2. Have I left questions in my reader’s mind? = Too Short
  3. Use the active tense and avoid the first person POV tense.  The word “I” should not be used.
  4. Here are some articles about how to organize your story.
    1. https://writingcenter.gmu.edu/guides/news-writing-fundamentals
    2. https://yl.sd53.bc.ca/mod/book/view.php?id=4531&chapterid=2136
    3. https://www.thoughtco.com/here-are-helpful-newswriting-rules-2074290
    4. https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/how-to-organize-information
    5. https://nieonline.com/coloradonie/downloads/journalism/GlossaryOfNewspaperTerms.pdf

FILL OUT THE BOXES OF THE STORY TEMPLATE:

HEADLINE BOX:

  1. The headline should be a short declarative statement with no punctuation. 
  2. DO NOT USE A QUESTION:  “Have you ever wanted to fly?”
  3. Capitalize The First Letter Of Every Word In Your Headline

RELATED STORIES:

  1. At the end of your writing type the words “RELATED STORIES:” in bold without quotation marks.
  2. Add a list of at least five websites on the same subject from around the web.
    1. simple links, nothing fancy.
    2. Turn each URL into a live link.

TAKE ACTION:

  1. Below RELATED STORIES: create another heading called “TAKE ACTION:” in bold without quotation marks just like RELATED STORIES:.
  2. Add a list of bullet points with places people can participate in aspects of your story, community groups related to your story your readers can join.
  3. Turn each URL into a live link.

FEATURED IMAGE BOX:

  1. GET YOUR IMAGES FROM OPENVERSE (https://wordpress.org/openverse/):
    1. Go to Openverse and find the image you want to use. 
    2. Press the yellow “COPY” button to copy the licensing information to your computer’s clipboard.
    3. Press the blue “GO TO IMAGE’S WEBSITE” button and go to the website where the high-resolution image lives.
      1. Using the download button (usually a downward arrow in the bottom right of your screen ), download a high-resolution copy of the image to your desktop. Usually, size medium (around 400 to 500 pixels) works best. 
    4. Paste the Licensing Information in the CAPTION BOX of your featured image.
  2. OTHER PLACES TO GET IMAGES:
    1. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES:  NASA and other government agencies allow using their images with attribution.
    2. PRODUCT REVIEWS:  If you are reviewing a product, you may use images from the manufacturer (not the store selling it, but the manufacturer) by attributing the image to the manufacturer’s website in what is called in the law “Fair Use” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use.
  3. DON’T GET YOUR IMAGES FROM GOOGLE:
    1. Most images on google images are protected by law by their owners. For example, Getty Images sells images for a living, guards their pictures throughout the internet, and brings lawsuits against those who use them without paying. If you use a Getty Image off a Google Search,  and you put in the source a link in the caption box that said it was from Getty Images, it would be kind of like shoplifting and then posting what you stole and where you stole it from on social media (kind of, exactly). 

PUBLISH BOX:

  1. The PUBLISH BOX is not a box to be filled in. It has three main buttons:
    1. SAVE DRAFT is what you push to save your work and continue working on your story.
    2. PREVIEW CHANGES is what you push to see what your current story would look like when published.
    3. SUBMIT FOR REVIEW is what you push when your story is COMPLETE!
  2. IF YOU ACCIDENTALLY PUSH SUBMIT FOR REVIEW BEFORE COMPLETING:
    1. Go to your stories list by navigating to STORIES>MINE.
    2. Hover over your story until you see the QUICK EDIT option.
    3. In QUICK EDIT, change STATUS to DRAFT and click the blue UPDATE button.
  3. CUSTOM PUSH NOTIFICATION:  COPY YOUR CUSTOM EXCERPT INTO THIS BOX

CATEGORIES BOX:

Categories correspond to menus on the website.  If you choose the category “Robotics,” your story will appear in the Robotics section of the ESTEEMStream.News Website.

  1. CHOOSE ONLY ONE CATEGORY FOR PLACEMENT: You want to choose only one category where your story will appear. Pick the most appropriate single category, even if it fits in multiple categories.
  2. CHOOSE ONLY ONE CATEGORY FOR EDITOR: Two categories are at the bottom of the categories list.
    1. Editor-Engineering, for Mr. Smith’s classes, and
    2. Editor-BIT, for Mr. Kim’s classes.
  3. UNCHECK “UNCATEGORIZED”:  After you have selected the category,  your story is no longer “uncategorized” so uncheck this. 

TAGS BOX:

  1. ENTER A MINIMUM OF TWO TAGS:
    1. Tags are hashtags or keywords that link your story with other similar stories in the category you chose. 
    2. EACH TAG STARTS WITH A “#” SYMBOL.
    3. WHEN YOU START TYPING, A POPUP DROPDOWN MENU APPEARS OF TAGS ALREADY IN USE–CHOOSE FROM THOSE WHEN YOU CAN.
    4. ENTER EACH TAG ONE AT A TIME.  
    5. DO NOT ENTER A TAG THAT IS THE SAME AS THE CATEGORY YOU CHOSE.
    6. THESE TAGS ARE KEYWORDS, NOT THE TYPE OF HASHTAG ONE USES IN SOCIAL MEDIA:
      1. Hashtags one uses in social media like “#G.O.A.T” or “#Old Stuff” or “Expensive!” should be avoided. 
    7. For example, if your story is about Drones, you would put it in the “Flight Category” and then further identify it with other similar stories in the “Flight Category” by adding tags like #Drone, #Quadcopter, #UAV, etc. 

CUSTOM EXCERPT BOX:

  1. The CUSTOM EXCERPT is the blurb about your story that shows up with your HEADLINE and FEATURED IMAGE when your story appears in the newspaper, and it’s what makes people want to click through and read your story.
  2. FILL IN THE CUSTOM EXCERPT BOX LAST
    1. The “Custom Excerpt” box should have the two most compelling sentences from your article that make readers want to read your story. 

SNO STORY PAGE DESIGN OPTIONS BOX:

  1. THIS BOX IS PRE-FILLED WITH THE STANDARD NON-HOME SIDEBAR DESIGN.
  2. YOU DO NOT NEED TO CHANGE THIS BOX.
  3. YOU MAY ADD A SECONDARY HEADLINE
    1. A SECONDARY HEADLINE (also called subhead, sub-headline, subheading, subtitle, or deck) is a subordinate title under the main headline. It is a heading that precedes the main text.
    2. An example of a secondary headline is in this Story Template Checklist and reads, “Directions on how to fill out a story template”.
    3. A secondary headline is usually a complete sentence without ending punctuation.
  4. YOU MAY CHOOSE ANOTHER STORY PAGE TEMPLATE FROM THE LIST PROVIDED.
    1. After your story is complete, you can try out other designs by choosing them in the SNO STORY PAGE DESIGN OPTIONS BOX, then in the PUBLISH BOX, choose SAVE DRAFT, and then PREVIEW CHANGES.

CUSTOM FIELDS BOX:

  1. WRITER’S NAME BOX: Type your full name into the “Writer’s name” box. The first time you do this, a red ribbon will come up asking you to create a “Writer’s Profile.” Say YES. After that, your name will pop up in a dropdown menu, which appears when you start typing your name. Choose your name from the popup dropdown menu of names.
  2. WRITER’S JOB TITLE BOX: Your title is “Journalist” without the quotes and with a capital “J.”
  3. FEATURED IMAGE LOCATION BOX:
    1. The default “Beside Story” is the best option. 
    2. You don’t want the “Featured Image Location” box and the “Video Location” box to be displayed in the same place. Both don’t look good if they are both “Above Story,” nor does it look good if both are “Beside Story.”
    3. And clearly, if you select “Do Not Display,” the image or video won’t show up.
  4. VIDEO EMBED CODE BOX:
    1. A video is required for each story.
    2. Find an appropriate video on YouTube.com and place the URL from the unique page the video is located in YouTube.Com in the VIDEO EMBED CODE BOX.
    3. You do not need to use the actual “Embed Code” from YouTube.com unless you would like to select certain features like no ads or starting the video at a certain point other than the beginning.
  5. VIDEO CREDIT LINE BOX:
    1. If your video is from YouTube.com, please type this into the Video Credit Line Box. 
    2. You will see the YouTube.com shown in the popup dropdown menu when you start typing youtube.com. Please select it from the popup dropdown menu, so you do not misspell it.
  6. VIDEO LOCATION BOX:
    1. The default “Above Story” is the best option. 
    2. You don’t want the “Featured Image Location” box and the “Video Location” box to be displayed in the same place. Both don’t look good if they are both “Above Story,” nor does it look good if both are “Beside Story.”
    3. And clearly, if you select “Do Not Display,” the image or video won’t show up.

WHAT TO CAPITALIZE:

1) Capitalize the first letter of every word in the headline of a newspaper article.

2) Capitalize the first letter in people’s names.

3) Capitalize the first letter in the first word of a sentence and put a period at the end.

4) Capitalize the first letter in someone’s title, including yours in the “Writer’s job title” box.

ADDING ADDITIONAL VIDEOS IN THE BODY OF YOUR STORY: Additional videos can be added in the text of your article by simply pasting the URL of the video from YouTube.com on a separate line from any other text. It will automatically embed.

ADD MEDIA BUTTON (ADDING PHOTOS, AUDIO PLAYLISTS & VIDEO PLAYLISTS TO THE BODY OF YOUR STORY): You can add additional photos to the body of your article by placing the cursor where you want the image and then pressing the “ADD MEDIA” above the main writing area of your story template. 

  1. You must use copyright-free images in the body of your story, just like one does in the featured image. 
  2. One must also paste the copyright licensing information into the caption box of photos used in the body of the story. 
  3. There are images on Openverse.  NASA and other government agencies allow using any of their images with attribution. If you are reviewing a product, you may use images from the manufacturer (not the store selling it, but the manufacturer) by attributing the image to the manufacturer’s website in what is called in the law “Fair Use” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use.

RUN SPELL CHECK: