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How to publish a story with the Northern Review

Contents:

  1. Guidelines to writing a story
    1. Article length
    2. Interview requirements
    3. Brief AP style guide
    4. Section editors
  2. About the different NR sections -- understanding the section's voice
  3. How to upload an article
    1. Adding a Soundcloud file
    2. Adding a YouTube video

So, you want a story published in the Northern Review. Great! This is an opportunity to share your news, arts, entertainment, opinions, life, culture, and sports with the rest of the ONU campus and Ada community. If you already have an idea that you would like to pitch, you can run it by us by emailing northern-review@onu.edu. We can accept press releases for the purpose of highlighting upcoming events or initiatives if they follow along with our style.

For those who are interested in being a part of our writing team, you can check out our weekly curated list, which is compiled based on emails sent by organizations and the ONU calendar. Once you have a pick, you should contact the editor of that section to let them know that you will be covering the story, and they can provide you with any guidance you may need. 

When writing a story consider the following criteria:

1. Do research beforehand

Who are the best people to contact? What can I find out about them/know before meeting them? What questions will give me the best, most interesting information I can use?

When asking questions, come up with several beforehand, but always be open to asking good follow up questions during the interview. Your questions should be open-ended, meaning that they cannot simply be answered with a “yes” or “no.”

Ex: “How has the program had an impact on campus?” is much better than “Do you think the program has had an impact on campus?”

2. Interviewing at least TWO people is preferred (usually all sections except op/ed)

One perspective is often not enough to provide a balanced, whole view. When there are two perspectives, they can each add to what the other has said, or even give you information that the other didn’t. It’s also helpful to have variation in the quotes you use.

Since we’re a multimedia publication, we’re often looking to include audio or video in our articles. If you can record your interviews with your phone, parts could be included on the website (in addition to making the note-taking process easier).

3. Answer the “So what?”

The audience is self-interested; they want to know how the article will be important to them. Why should students care about what you’re writing about? Would you even read your own article if you weren’t the one who wrote it? These are important points to keep in mind. Therefore, it’s best to get to the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How within the first three paragraphs of the article, in addition to making it relevant.

4. Let there be length

When it comes to writing for the web, it is true that articles usually need to be shorter than would be found in a printed newspaper. However, you must also have enough length to actually make up a story (which, by the way, is not just a couple of paragraphs). Try aiming for between 400-600 words when writing a normal article. Feature stories by all means can exceed this.

5. Break up your paragraphs and use transitions

In journalism, and especially online, it’s important to keep things short and simple. Neither you nor I want want to spend time reading long paragraphs of text, and neither do the people reading your articles. Instead, each paragraph should include three to five relevant sentences. However, it’s totally fine to have paragraphs with just one sentence if you feel it works. Make sure to provide some sort of transition so that your writing doesn’t come off as a bunch of choppy text.

6. Don’t be a PR person

This happens way too often among beginners. Avoid fluffy language that sounds like praising. Don’t insert your own feelings into the writing; you’re not in public relations, you’re a journalist who’s supposed to be unbiased. If you want to express an opinion, then find a quote from someone you’ve interviewed to express your point.

Ex: John thought the event went successfully and achieved its goal of getting freshmen involved on campus.

“It took a lot of effort, but in the end the event was great. People were really enjoying themselves and that’s all we can ask for,” he said.

Is much better than this: Everyone at the event had a wonderful time, which is no surprise considering how well put-together it was. The exec committee really did a great job and look forward to a great year.

7. Use media that adds to the story

Pictures and videos are often great ways to give a story more depth. Show the reader what’s going on. Engage them with visuals.

8. Keep up with AP

It’s important to have a basic understanding of the Associated Press Style Guide when writing your articles. Look at how other articles are written and take feedback from your editor into consideration. Here is an abbreviated AP guide. 

Keep in mind:

  • Identify people by their last names after first introduction. One of the only sections that is an exception to this is Life & Culture, where you can use first names since the feel of the section is supposed to be more laid back.
  • Capitalize titles before names. Lowercase titles after names.

Ex: "PRSSA Vice President Stacy Jones said…" or "Stacy Jones, PRSSA vice president, said..."

  • Don’t use today, yesterday, or tomorrow. Identify days by their weekday (if they are within about a week of the article’s publication) or month and day, but never both.

Ex: "On Jan. 22 the organization..." is correct. "This Wednesday the organization…" is correct.

  • Write out organization/group names on first reference. Afterward you can use the abbreviated form.

Ex: The Student Planning Committee will be hosting a movie on the Tundra on Friday at 9 p.m. Contact SPC President Jake Smith for more information.

  • For article titles we only capitalize the first word and any important nouns. Otherwise, the remaining words should be lowercase.
  • For photo credits, use the following format:

Ex: Members of the Northern Review pass out copies of their newspaper at Welcome Fest. (Northern Review photo/John Smith)

Ex: Two students help new Polar Bears move in during Welcome Weekend. (photo/Ohio Northern University Facebook)

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CONTACT YOUR EDITOR WHEN YOU ARE READY TO PUBLISH

After you put an article on the website, it is VERY IMPORTANT to contact the editor of the section you posted under. They need to know that you’re done so they can go in, make any necessary edits, and do the final publish. If you don’t contact them, it may take some time before they realize you put up an article.

Current Section Editors:

    News: Nick Pesetsky (n-pesetsky@onu.edu)

    Arts & Entertainment: Dominic Turnea (d-turnea@onu.edu)

    Life & Culture: Kasy Long (k-long.2@onu.edu)

    Opinion/Editorial: Sam Pontarolo (s-pontarolo@onu.edu)

    Sports: Grant Pepper (g-pepper@onu.edu)

If you have questions, ask.

We are here to not only put out a great publication, but to also help you. At some point we, too, started out not knowing what we were doing. We understand. So, if you ever have any questions, feel free to contact Editor-in-Chief Kasy Long (k-long.2@onu.edu), Dr. Shane Tilton (s-tilton@onu), or any of the other editors.


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About the sections 

News:

  • The News section focuses on current and or recent events occurring in and around the ONU community.  This section is the place to provide legitimate information regarding all things going on at ONU.
  • Each story should be concise and to the point with specific details. The focus is on the importance of the topic and how it will affect students, faculty, etc.
  • Topics could be positive, negative, or neutral; they need to matter in some way.  These could be policy changes, additions to the curriculum, student and faculty accomplishments/awards, special guests on campus. A variety of things could be News depending on how the article is written.
  • Instead of focusing on background pieces involving scholarships, guest lectures, and other generic-type stories that are often requested by the school, we want to focus on larger, encompassing events, such as new programs or big changes on campus.
  • We should also attempt to establish reliable contacts within the offices on campus. Developing solid relationships within security, residence life, and the higher administration among other areas will help us get better stories and more interviews with fewer hassles.
  • See the News section of the Northern Review.

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Opinion & Editorials:

  • The Opinion & Editorials section wants to hear what students have to say about recent events and issues, whether on campus or around the world. This section focuses on the importance of keeping an open mind and initiating change on the campus of Ohio Northern.
  • There is freedom in the Op/Ed section that allows students to express their opinions and concerns of what is going on at Ohio Northern University or in the world.
  • In the Op/Ed section, you can write in the first person and express your opinion to readers. This section represents the voices of students; use it to your advantage and write to tell your story. 
  • This section is not to be used for press releases and event announcements. If writing in the press release format, the piece will not fit the standards of the Op/Ed section because the student’s voice is eliminated.
  • We cover the important happenings on campus and give our reflective thoughts and opinions on them. We strive to spark discussion and thoughts in our readers that will lead to reflection and possibly change.
  • See the Op/Ed section of the Northern Review.

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Life & Culture:

  • Life & Culture is all about the student voice on campus. We highlight student events and activities at ONU -- the very culture of the university. What’s going on, and what are students involved in, and how can students get involved?
  • Examples of topics that would be under this section include: the World Student Organization held an international dinner, a fraternity held a fundraiser to raise money for a great cause, a homecoming dance is taking place, Black Student Union’s fashion show, mud volleyball, etc.
  • The voice of the L&C section is less news and more feature, with the use of first names and colorful language (in terms of descriptions and more than just the bare-bones like News would be). However, we must still provide a balanced viewpoint and refrain from inserting our own opinions into the piece.
  • Life & Culture strives to be relevant and relatable to students. Is this an event coming up that I can attend? If this something that’s already happened, why should I care? Are they going to have similar events in the future, or did something interesting happen at the event itself?
  • See the L&C section of the Northern Review.

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Arts & Entertainment:

  • Arts & Entertainment focuses on providing informational news about the vibrant arts and entertainment environment within Ohio Northern University’s community. Every weekend is filled with many exciting events, and a primary job of the Arts & Entertainment section is to publish up-to-date news about said events. What’s going on, where can you see the next show, and how can you get involved in the experience? Arts & Entertainment answers those questions for our readers.
  • Examples of entertainment events we cover include: Freed Center’s Performing Arts Series, ONU’s student theatrical productions, ONU’s music concerts, ONU’s art exhibits and galleries, and ONU’s English Department sponsored readings and discussions.
  • The voice of A&E is to inform and promote. Promotional articles are popular in the A&E section to help assist in the popularity of ticket sales and audience attendance in entertainment events. Preferrably the promotional articles should be paired with an inside-look to the production elements of the shows. If there is a unique story behind a show, tell it.
  • Arts & Entertainment strives to recognize the talented students at Ohio Northern. Creative work deserves to be promoted and recognized, and the Arts & Entertainment section is the first step to providing that recognition.
  • See the A&E section of the Northern Review.

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Sports:

  • The Sports section covers anything and everything that has to do with ONU athletics. This means that stories can be news, feature, or multimedia-oriented, depending on the story topic.
  • We will be covering every sport at ONU, but not without purpose; that is to say, all articles will be of some meaningful interest (we aren’t just going to talk about golf because we haven’t talked about golf yet). We must find the story, and the story will run if it has an element of newsworthiness, human interest, or other importance that serves as its relevance/connection to the ONU campus community.
  • Like the News section, we will cover all that happens, good or bad. If an Ohio Northern athletic team is involved in a gambling scandal, we will make it our priority to thoroughly cover the investigation -- and we will give this story no less importance than that of a positive one (ex.: an ONU sports team wins the national championship).
  • We will be balanced with our reporting and will cover all sides of the issue. This is true for any style of story (news, feature, multimedia, etc.). For example, if we’re writing a feature story, we will get the opinions of multiple people (teammates, coaches, friends), not just the one that the feature is focused on. By being balanced, we will be providing the whole story for the reader.
  • We will also want to establish good relationships with the coaches, athletes and fans of Ohio Northern athletics. In doing so, we will create opportunities for better stories and experiences in reporting. This will also allow us to gain more respect as an organization; however, the best way for us to gain respect is to provide solid, truthful reporting for the student body.
  • While the ONU website provides occasional write-ups about sporting events, it does not have the freedom that we have at the Northern Review. We can expand on our news, feature and multimedia coverage to offer the ONU sports follower an authentic, perspective-filled experience with Ohio Northern athletics.
  • See the Sports section of the Northern Review.

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How to: 

Get a Northern Review site account:

Go to northern-review.info and sign in with your ONU email address and password. You now have an account through which you can post content to the site. (It must be reviewed and okay'd by an editor before it is published for everyone to see).

Upload articles to the Northern Review site:

  1. Log in to the site by going to northern-review.info
  2. Click on “Add Content" in the top left corner of the webpage.
  3. Click “Article” (the top choice).
  4. Put in your article title and paste your article text into the body. Make sure to click on “Edit Summary” to add a short summary of what your article is about.
  5. Upload any pictures you have by choosing and uploading the files.
  6. Don’t forget to add in your article tags. First put in the section the article is for. (News, Arts & Entertainment, Opinion & Editorials, Life & Culture, Sports). Make sure to spell it correctly, including the & instead of “and”. Then add your name, followed by any other relevant tags.
  7. Scroll down and click “Save.” Then notify your section editor that you’ve submitted an article. Congratulations! You’ve finished the first step and now wait until the editor gets back to you with edits.

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Add in a Soundcloud audio file:

  1. Upload your file to Soundcloud.
  2. Click the “Share” button underneath the file.
  3. Click the “Embed” option at the top, and select the right square.
  4. Copy the link provided under “Code & Preview.”
  5. Go into the editing mode for your article.
  6. Click on the globe in the top right above the body area.
  7. You will see what is called an iFrame. Copy and paste your link into the available space, as well as make the other adjustments noted (100% width, 150 height).
  8. Now you need to edit the full link that you pasted in. For example, you will be given a link that looks like this:
  9. <iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks..."></iframe>
  10. You will need to remove the parts highlighted in red so that it looks like this:
  11. https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks...
  12. You will know the link works by going to the link and having the whole page just consist of the audio file.
  13. Click “OK.” This should then appear in your article, and you’re good to go. It should look like this: 

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Add in a YouTube video:

  1. Upload your video to YouTube.
  2. Click on the “Share” button underneath the video and select “Embed.”
  3. Copy the link provided.
  4. Go into the editing mode for your article.
  5. Click on the globe in the top right above the body area.
  6. You will see what is called an iFrame. Copy and paste your link into the available space, as well as make the other adjustments noted to get the video to be the right size (560 width and 315 height is good).
  7. Now you need to edit the full link that you pasted in. For example, you will be given a link that looks like this:
  8. <iframewidth="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1iBrCZ6Mb1M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  9. You will need to remove the parts highlighted in red so that it looks like this:
  10. https://www.youtube.com/embed/1iBrCZ6Mb1M
  11. You will know the link works by going to the link and having the whole page just consist of the video.
  12. Click “OK.” You should then be good to go. It should look like this:

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