Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Formatting for blog posts

Follow these standard formatting rules when writing stories on the MC1313 class blog.
  • Headlines
Use down style - that means use uppercase only for the first word of the headline and for proper nouns
  • Bylines
 The byline should be at the top of the story before you begin the text and formatted as in the example screen grab. Note that this example is from the Mass Comm Week blog, which uses a different font than most of our class blogs.

Sample of correct byline style. Sample take from Mass Comm Week blog.

  • Text
The text should conform to the style of the blog. Do not indent paragraphs. After each paragraph, simply hit return once and begin typing the next paragraph. The blog formatting will insert one space between your paragraphs. If you plan to cut and paste from Word, follow the cut-and-paste directions posted on this blog. If you view your post on the blog and the format or the font looks wrong, please correct it. The default or correct font on most of the class blogs should be something similar to Ariel rather than Times New Roman. It should look the way this post looks. Also, see the sample post below.
  • Links
All posts should include appropriate links. When writing online, links help provide the reader additional information.  Links are best when they are tied to appropriate words rather than inserted as URLs or added at the end of stories. If you want to link to the Mass Comm Week blog, this would be the appropriate way to do that. 
  • Photos
Insert photos in a way that works well with the design of the post. Blogs don't afford much control of the design, but you are able to select a size and placement. Don't make the photo too large or too small for the content. Add a photo caption, or cutline as journalists refer to it, and a photo credit. After you insert the photo, click on it and you will see the sizing options and the "add caption" option.
  • Video
If you include video, include an intro paragraph of text that acts as a lead explaining a bit about the session so that the video makes sense. You don't have to explain what readers will see on the video but offer a short intro to the session and then embed the video. Include a byline before your text.
  • Corrections or errors
It is very important that all names and proper nouns be spelled correctly and that all facts be correct and fact checked. This publication reflects on you, the school and the university.
If you make a mistake or need to edit your post, please sign in to the blog and click the pencil icon at the bottom of your post to access your post and make the correction.

  • Sample post
This post is not perfect. It needs links and could use a byline and a photo credit, but it gives you and idea of what your post should look like.

Sample page from MC1313 lab blog with correct formatting

How to cut and paste from Word

It is important to keep the style of the class blogs consistent. To do that, you should either type your content directing into the blog post box or, if you cut and paste from Word, you must remove the text formatting before you publish the post.

To remove the formatting, use the remove formatting tool. The tool is visible when you are in the compose rather than html post window. Highlight the text in which to wish to remove formatting. Then click the remove formatting tool. This sometimes adds and extra space between paragraphs, so you may need to go in and adjust spacing.

It is a good idea to preview before you publish.  You can also publish and then go back and edit to make any adjustments.

If you are worried  you won't remember how to do this, you can always check back on this blog for instructions. A link to these instructions will remain active in the right column of this blog. 

Failure to correct mistakes in formatting will result in a grade reduction on your story.