A quick guide to creating great content on NewsBreak
Welcome to the NewsBreak Contributor Network! We’re excited to have you here. Whether you’re already a pro or just getting started, there are a few things you should know about our platform and our audience.
First, you’ll want to find an interesting story.
There are lots of places writers and video producers can find inspiration or story ideas. At NewsBreak, we 💗 local. Local writers. Local businesses. Local users. NewsBreak is all about helping locals thrive. While it’s not a hard rule that you must write local content, we definitely would prefer it if you do. This doesn’t mean you should label national content as local, please be honest and reliable in your local coverage (our humans and computers will catch on if you aren’t). Also, while you can and should be inspired by local publishers like your local newspaper or TV station, this doesn’t mean that you should just look at what they are covering and copy their work. This is wrong for a number of reasons, and we’re here to support local journalism and offer diverse and useful content to our users. So having the same story 10 times really isn’t helping locals is it? If you have a different voice, unique perspective, original source, then by all means go for it, but your work should be distinct and original.
Here are some pro tips for creating local content:
- Cover a local happening, issue, etc that you are truly passionate about and interested in (maybe it’s even something you have some expertise in)
- Check out our Local Insights tab for some inspiration
- Focus on the local impact
- Interview a trusted source or expert to make your story original
It’s time to start creating.
Once you’ve signed up for an account, logged into our portal and filled out your profile, click the “New Article” tab. NewsBreak is a creative platform that allows for many different styles of writing, but quality, standards and style are key. In addition to our Content Policy, all content should be fact-checked, properly sourced and attributed, contain information and facts, and be free of major spelling or grammatical errors.
It’s important to craft your headline.
Headlines, and almost everything, should follow AP Style. That means you’ll want to use sentence case and not capitalize every word in your headline (i.e. “VHS Swap presented by the Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival premieres tomorrow” and not “VHS Swap Presented by the Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival Premieres Tomorrow.”) Headlines are very important on NewsBreak as they are often the first thing someone will see and read. Headlines can serve many purposes or utilize different techniques, but you don’t want to overlook your headline. Usually, you want to give just enough information away so that the reader understands clearly what the story is about, but is also intrigued to continue reading. Often, a good headline touches on why the story matters to the reader.
Keep the formatting simple with the reader in mind.
We offer a bunch of different formatting options with the Contributor Portal, but you should not feel obligated to always use all of them. Instead, you should prioritize legibility and flow. This means do NOT bold, italicize and so on whole paragraphs of text (not to mention the whole article itself). Also, you can simply use “quotation marks” for some quotes and don’t always need to “pull quote.” Yes, it’s good to break up long paragraphs, so we recommend using a list, or bolding a few words, but anything more is probably too much.
Sticking to the facts and information in your story.
We want to allow for creativity and diverse voices on our platform, but that doesn’t always mean that you need to insert yourself into the story, especially if it’s a news story that doesn’t have any connection to you. We’ve sometimes seen writers add “My Thoughts” at the end of a news piece—we don’t recommend this. If you are uniquely qualified to speak on a topic, then you can weave your expert opinions into the article, but otherwise you should cite other sources. If you are creating a local guide, reviewing a local event or discussing the latest local trend, of course it can be written from your point of view. Use your best judgment for what makes sense for your story, but we don’t recommend inserting yourself or opinions into a story where it isn’t warranted.
Don’t forget about images, embeds and thumbnails.
Images and multimedia can definitely enhance a story when used right, but can also distract and break laws if used incorrectly. Make sure you are using relevant photos and if you are not using your own photography you can select to embed an image directly from Unsplash. For more on sourcing correctly, how to embed content from sources like Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, and what images are okay to use, check out this article.
You’re almost ready to publish.
Now that you’ve picked your topic, crafted a headline, added images and proofread your piece, you should be ready to publish. Click on the "Publish" button and then select your cover image and double-check your headline. At this stage you will also see a preview of how your article will appear in our app. If you would like to optimize your headline you can generate a new title with our title recommendation system. Once you are happy with your cover image and headline click "Next" and make sure to add any relevant tags and select the location. Once you have finished that part go ahead and hit that publish button!
Looking for some great examples? Here are a few:
- Littleton city leaders discuss potential solutions for $6.5 million revenue crisis, including raising the marijuana tax
- Country hitmaker Jordan Davis moonlights as shark researcher
- Florida prisons may soon ban physical mail for inmates
- More bus and bike lanes are coming to The Bronx—but are they enough?
Thanks for reading this quick guide. Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments here. We plan to update this periodically with the best advice.