The Rapidian

What to look out for before publishing

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From The Rapidian staff*: You've done your research, meticulously assembled your words, edited and redited, and are finally ready to hit the publish button. But wait! Are you sure your piece is ready to go live? Before presenting your work to your devoted masses, check to make sure you've done the following:

First things first

  • Headlines: There's no need to capitalized the first letter in every word of your headline unless it is a proper noun.
  • Have you picked the appropriate quadrant? Is it associated with a specific geographic location? If so, map it!

  • Make sure the piece has been tagged. We've noticed that some contributors forget to separate each tag with a comma and create a mega tag, so be on the lookout for that.

Body

  • In the first paragraph, define what your piece is about.
  • Hyperlink appropriately if recognizable people, things or places are mentioned, or if you're referencing a concept that is unusual.
  • For readability's sake, we generally recommend breaking up paragraphs; huge chunks of text tend to scare readers.
  • If the piece is looking very long, consider whether there are multiple main ideas in the piece and if it should be broken up into a series. If it's long but doesn't merit a 2+part series, then consider whether it could benefit from subsections.

Add-ons

  • Make sure if there are photos, that Image Upload 1 is always filled. If you upload only to Image Upload 2, 3 or a combo, they won't appear unless Image Upload 1 has been used.


     
  • If you didn't take the photo, make sure to give a photo credit. If the photo wasn't licensed under Creative Commons, make sure you have explicit permission from the owner to use it; giving attribution doesn't cover it.
  • Is there a caption? If not, does the image need a caption for clarification?
  • If it's a video piece, is there an associated image? You can choose not to display the image in the article in Image Upload 1, but that image is still necessary for front page thumbnail purposes.
  • If it's a video piece, make sure to paste in the embed code. We've had confused manatees before wondering why a video isn't showing up because they posted the URL.

Tidying up

  • Before publishing, check the URL to make sure it reflects the current title. We've noticed some of you will save your piece and then change your headline. The URL for your piece is based on that headline, but the URL does not automatically synchronize itself to title changes. This link will take you to a screenshot of how to change the alias.


     
  • Before publishing, make sure the authoring information is accurate. We all sit for a day or two on articles, polishing and repolishing before they're ready for publication. The authoring information must be changed to reflect the date and time that it is actually being published or the article will be buried according to the timestamp.


Got that? If you went through this list and said to yourself, ✓, ✓, ✓, then friend, you've got this down.


Each week, a Rapidian staffer will publish a piece related to goings-on at The Rapidian, developments in the world of citizen journalism and tips for making the most of the site.

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