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Newsies Team: Getting Started

Newsies Team

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Facilitator: FltAdml. Wolf



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If you've just joined the Newsies Team, welcome! This guide will help you get started on the team, walking you through each of the steps to putting together articles and submitting them.

Why is this important?

The Community News is a nexus for a number of community goals which are important to both our members, and recruiting.

For our members, the Community News provides a daily stream of information about what's happening around the fleet. It keeps everyone updated on important events and issues, as well as giving everyone information about the plots of other ships, so that everyone can know what others are simming.

When it comes to the face we present to the outside world, and recruiting new members, our Community News serves three main goals:

  1. Ensuring our website is active and updated. Google gives extra "points" in the search rankings for those websites which are regularly updated with blog posts. By posting at least one thing a day, we can ensure that our site doesn't begin to look abandoned.
  2. Social media posting. There's also the benefit of keeping our social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter, updated with new content that is linked to our Community News. This also helps our search rankings.
  3. Showing activity to prospective members. By showing prospective members that our website is regularly updated, we can prove that we're highly active and involved, which is great for people who want an active community.

Content aims and goals

Our goal with the Community News is to keep the vast majority of what we post directed toward the community itself. This means making sure we're highlighting important things happening in the community, interviewing our members, and talking about the community itself, rather than just posting Star Trek news. It's okay if we post about Star Trek or science-related news that's of interest to our members, but we try and keep the number of posts like this as small as possible.

But don't worry, you don't have to figure out content all on your own! We have a big list of posting ideas right here on the wiki that can get you thinking about the types of things you want to post about. At the beginning of each month, the team facilitator also posts a list of ideas for articles. Everyone is welcome to claim a story from that list, or come up with their own idea.

WordPress

Our main website, where the Community News is displayed, is built on WordPress. WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS), which means that it's a piece of software that has a graphical user interface as a front-end to all the code. This allows you to easily use a form-based environment to add your articles and save them for review by the team facilitator, instead of having to learn HTML.

You should receive login information from WordPress when you sign up for the News Team and are added to the email list for the team. If you don't, just contact the team facilitator and he or she will get you a login.

Once you have logged in, follow the instructions on the Working with WordPress page to get your account properly set-up. If you have any problems, you can always ask for help on the Newsies Team email list! Everyone is friendly and open to helping you.

Writing articles

We highly recommend that you spend about 15 to 30 minutes reviewing our news archive to see what our articles look like. Just read through past articles, get a feel for the types of things that are being posted, and what they look like. This will give you a good foundation for starting on your first article.

Once you've done that, review the monthly roll call / list of article ideas from the team facilitator. (You can either go to the email list archive, or if you've been on the list for more than a few weeks you've probably received a copy directly to your inbox.) Make sure to read down the thread to see if anyone has claimed any of the articles yet, and then consider what strikes your fancy. If nothing is of interest to you, take a look at that posting ideas page (linked in the sidebar navigation on the right-hand side of this page!) and see if there are other ideas on there you might be interested in.

Don't feel compelled to "forge a new path" or do something completely unique. The vast majority of what we do on this team is recycle the format or concept for old articles and make them fresh. "Command Closeups," for example, are interviews with commanding officers in the fleet. There's no need to do something new -- just pick a CO to interview, create a list of questions and send it to them, and ask them to reply below each question in the email. Then put all that together into a post. You can even take inspiration from previous interviews, just tweaking the questions for the person you're interviewing. Always use previous articles as a guide and takes as much inspiration on formatting and content from them as possible.

Preparing your post

Once you've got your content assembled, review the Style Guide here on the wiki for all the nuances about how to assemble your article.

Then, log in to WordPress and open a new post. Add a title and your content. Then review the Submission Checklist to make sure you've got everything correct. Finally, save your post for review.

Getting published

After you submit your post for review, it's best to email the Newsies Team email list to let the facilitator know you're done. Then he or she will will review and edit your article. If everything is ready, it will then be scheduled for publication. Keep in mind that we try and get one article onto the Community News per day, so your article may not be published for days or even weeks, when it will best fit into the publishing timeline. You can learn more about this on the News Cycle page.