A style guide for sending in news stories or events for use in Chester Diocesan News or on www.chester.anglican.org Note: this advice is also useful if you are sending publicity to local newspapers or other media.
Diocesan publications, including this website and our printed Chester Diocesan News, exist to publicise events, projects, people and mission throughout the Diocese. To help me and others at Church House do this as efficiently as possible, I have drawn up some guidelines on how best to present information sent in for publication.
1. Keep what you send to us short, ideally no more than 120 words. If we need extra information, we will contact you.
2. Include names of people to contact regarding the event, concert, or news story. Please give several phone numbers, including out-of-office-hours numbers or mobile numbers.
3. Remember, we cannot simply replicate all the words you send us, for reasons of space. Expect some editing.
4. Diocesan publications exist to tell about the news and events of the Diocese, so if an item is to be published it must have a connection to the Diocese or one of its churches or parishes or its people. We can’t provide free adverts for organisations or products that have no connection to the Diocese and its mission.
5. Do not write anything in block capitals. We only have to retype them, thus increasing the risk of errors being introduced. Spell out the names of organisations in full at first mention, rather than merely giving their abbreviations, unless they are universally known acronyms, such as PCC, BBC or RAF.
6. Do not use exclamation marks. They are almost always unnecessary and we take them out.
7. Please do not send us heavily stylised pieces in unusual fonts and differing sizes of typefaces. We only have to waste valuable time unpicking it all. Just send us the words – plain and simple.
8. Please don’t highlight words with underlines or make them bold. We will introduce emphasis where appropriate.
9. Please do not incorporate pictures and/or logos into Word attachments or other text attachments that you e-mail to us.
10. Use Ariel, 12pt, for everything you send to us, or plain text.
11. Do not use ‘&’. Instead, write out ‘and’.
12. Use a person’s Christian name, not merely initials.
13. The style for clergy is thus …‘the Vicar, the Revd Frederica Bloggs’ etc.
14. When telling us about forthcoming events, state the day and the date, like this … ‘Saturday, 12 November’ (which is house style) and not like this ‘Sat., November 12th’ or in any other form such as ‘12/11/05’.
15. For times of events, use ‘10am to 4.30pm’ which is house style and perfectly clear in meaning. Do not use ’10.00-4.30 p.m.’ or ‘ four o’clock’ or other ambiguous variants.
16. Try to avoid using dashes (-) and unnecessary tabulation in your news releases. Just write everything in simple sentences.
17. When telling us about a forthcoming event, cover the basics of who, what, where, when, how and why (time and day and date).
18. Any relevant photographs, particularly in digital form, such as JPEGs, are most welcome (indeed essential if you are sending an item for the website news section).
19. Send digital photographs (JPEGs ) as separate attachments. Do not incorporate pictures and/or logos in Word attachments or other text attachments. It can be difficult and time-consuming for editors to extract those pictures for use. It is another barrier to communication; more download time.
20. Send pictures simply as separate attachments. Do not drop them onto the email’s memo pad.
21. Pictures are important and can be a powerful aid to gaining pre-publicity for parish events or campaigns. Always attach pictures separately, and give each one you send a unique name. Then at the end of the press release provide a caption, in this way …
Organist Paul Broadhurst (left) receives his award from the Dean of Chester, the Most Revd Prof Gordon McPhate
22. Please do not send logos (unless it is part of a national campaign, and even then be sparing) or marketing clip-art. These only waste space and time. Good pictures and words tell the story much more effectively.
23. It is better if you can send material by e-mail, rather than by post. Items for Chester Diocesan News or this website news section should be e-mailed to email@example.com
Information about events should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
24. Be sparing in your use of initial capital letters. Restrict them to the formal titles and names (of people, buildings, courses etc). For instance, ‘winter’, ‘summer’, ‘religious instruction’ do not need capital letters.
25. Use the corporate singular: eg ‘The PCC has’, not ‘The PCC have’; ‘The church has’, not ‘The church have’. Corporate plurals should be used only when referring to sports groups or teams: eg ‘St Paul’s FC have had a good season’.
26. Send your press information about forthcoming events to us in plenty of time. If you are publicising events or special occasions, then send the information and any pre-pictures at least two weeks before the events actually happen.
Please do not feel intimidated by all the do’s and don’ts listed above. Consider them a ‘best practice’ guide to be followed as closely as you are able. If people do try to follow the guide it allows for efficient handling of editorial material.
18 June 2011