The Groton Line is an ongoing experiment in Community Based Journalism.
Which means that if you want to write for The Groton Line, you can, and we’d love to have and help you get going.
Follow these steps to get set up:
- Register as a user — if you’re reading this, you probably already have. Students with an interest in journalism are especially encouraged to apply; internships may be possible.
- Finish reading this page, so you know the baseline expectations.
- Contact the editor, Art Campbell, and let him know you’re interested in writing.
- Include a couple of story ideas in your email that you’d like to write, or topics that you’d like to address.
- News stories about something that’s happening now are great.
- Feature stories are fine.
- Press releases from an organization are fine.
- Including digital photos or short video clips is a big plus.
When you have your account set up, you can start writing:
Write an Article
Writing an article is easy, especially if you already know how to use a word processor. Just follow the steps below and take a look at our short how-to video.
- Log in to The Groton Line. You should be automatically directed to your Dashboard page, which has entries that let you create new and edit old posts. If it doesn’t automatically display, type: http://thegrotonline.com/wp-admin/ into a new browser tab or window.
- On the left side of your Dashboard, clickÂ Posts and select Add New.
- The editing window opens; your cursor is in the Headline field. Type a short, active headline that describes your story.
- Move your cursor down into the next field, the story field, to write your story.
- You can write your story in your favorite word processor and copy-and-paste it from your computer into the story field. Or write directly in the Story field — whichever is easier for you. (Formatting is not critically important. We use basic HTML tags for headlines, paragraphs, lists and so on, but we don’t expect you to put that in — just the words. If you’re familiar with coding, feel free to include it, but don’t worry about it — it’s secondary.)
- As you work online, click Save Draft on the right side of the page to keep your content safe. If you need to, you can click Save Draft and log completely off; your story will be waiting when you return.
When you’re done writing, go on to Publish your article.
Publish your article
When you finish writing, perform the easy second step: Publishing. When you Publish, you assign tags and categories to help readers find it, and then let the editor know the story is ready to go. View the Publishing video to see how this works.
- Type tags in the Tags field on the right side of the page.
- Scroll down to the Category field and select one or more categories.
- Look over your story one last time, and click Submit for Review. This moves your story into the “Pending” queue for an editor to review.
- Just so we don’t over-look anything, it’s a good idea to send an e-mail to let us know that your story is Pending.
If you’re thinking: “Well, yes, that sounds easy. But I’ve never written a news story before… Where do I start?” … this section can help.
If you have time, the best thing you can do is to let your story rest for a few hours or overnight between finishing it and publishing. Just Save Draft, go away for a while, and come back to re-read it. You’ll probably see a few things you want to change, or remember something you forgot to include.
In general, we follow the Associated Press style book for writing style, but if you’re not familiar with it, don’t worry. The story is more important than the style, and your writing will be looked at by an editor or two before it goes live.
While you’re writing, though, DO follow these general guidelines:
- Try to write in active voice — avoid “ing” constructions if you can.
- At the end of a sentence only put in one space. Two spaces creates too much white space.
- Put in a space (carriage return) at the end of your paragraphs.
- You can include photos and videos, but the server is finicky about handling them. If the built-in tool doesn’t work, ask for help instead of getting frustrated.
- Remember that you can write in Word or another editor, off-line, and then copy your work into the online tool.