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Oxford Indymedia

How to contribute a feature

The principals of Indymedia lie in the open publishing system known as the Newswire: the articles, news stories, images and videos that anyone can post to the right hand column of the web site.

The editorial team of the Oxford Indymedia Centre produce Features, which are the editorial articles in the middle column. A feature is a short piece of text highlighting specific issues and summarising several related newswire posts to make them more accessible to readers. Features contain links to the original posts, usually with a single photo or picture alongside.

Features are topic-focussed (there is a complete list of these in the left-hand column under Oxford Topics) and group together postings into a coherent summary of what's going on in the local area. You yourself might have a favourite topic or campaign that you're most interested in? This could be anti-militarism, technology, feminism, the public sector cuts; it just has to be something that people are currently posting about.

We're after more features editors. Perhaps you can help?

As Indymedia is an open non-hierarchical collective, anyone can write and propose a new feature for the middle column.

To write a feature follow the guidelines below and then email the whole thing to the features mailing list (more on this below):

  1. Firstly the feature must relate to recent postings appearing in the right-hand column of the Indymedia Oxford web site.
  2. All features must follow the Oxford Indymedia editorial guidelines.
  3. Try to keep jargon out of the feature to make it accessible to all our readers. If you do have to use jargon or acronyms, do explain it the first time you use it by putting the explanation in brackets after it.
  4. A feature is often comprised of an article summary, which is displayed in the middle column and the full article text, which is displayed when a user clicks to view the whole article. Try to stick to between 50 and 80 words for the article summary. The full article text can be as long as you like, but short and to the point is better than long and laboured.
  5. Include at least one link to the newswire, and ideally two or more.
  6. Make sure you choose a photo or image to include in the article.
  7. Stick to short paragraphs. Use full stops; don't overuse commas, semicolons, colons or subclauses. Click to read more tips on writing.
  8. Try to be neutral: report on what is going on, not what you think. Refrain from insulting people.

Now email the whole thing to the features mailing list ( imc-oxford-features at lists.indymedia.org ). This is the email list we use to make everyday decisions about the website and to collaborate on features. Note: You don't need to email a copy of the photo you want to use to the list; just a link to it is fine.

If no one objects to the feature proposal within 24-hours, and if it is completed, it will be uploaded to the middle column by one of the editorial collective. The 24-hour rule ensures that everybody can contribute to the middle column and allows time for collaborative improvements and considerations. You should follow discussions on the list in the next day or two because people may have questions or ideas for improving the feature. You can see what people have posted here and you can join the list yourself here, although you don't have to be on the list to post to it - just send email to: ( imc-oxford-features at lists.indymedia.org ) and you can read everything posted to the list at the list archive..


Oxford Indymedia's short guide to writing plain English

Further to the guidelines above, here's a list of pointers to help you write content that is accessible to all speakers of English:

For more information and a more detailed guide, check out the Plain English Guide (link to external non-Indymedia site).

OxIMC, 07.10.2010 00:48

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