Online editing, training editors

As an Editor-in-Chief overseeing my paper’s online division, it is not the responsibility of my advisor to show our online editors the reigns on SNO, it is largely my responsibility.

Training students to edit and publish stories on SNO can either be very sequential and organized, or it can be a stress-riddled mess. For me, keeping it sequential and orderly has been more successful than letting students self-explore, so I introduce it as an orderly step-by-step process, allowing them to explore after they become more confident on their own.

For the duration of this article I will be referring to the training document I have created for my editors. To see a full copy of the document, click here.

To begin editing, my fellow editor and I decided we should start with the most time consuming parts and get gradually easier- assuming that once our editors are over the hump, they will then be able to work confidently and efficiently alone. These mutual decisions between my fellow editor and I are what helped me create this document.

We decided to begin with author’s name, staff job, links and plus one stories. For our editors to accurately find name and job, our advisor has been nice enough to provide us two separate documents where the list of assigned jobs are given, and a separate document that lists what stories were assigned to what students. Since these two documents are not my work, I will not post them here, but the idea is self explanatory.

Once they pull names and jobs from our class website, the editors are free to begin the nitty gritty work. We insert links (fairly easy) and then we add plus one stories.

For our paper, each story has the possibility to have either a podcast story, photo story, information graphic story, and/or rarely a broadcast story. All of these can be inserted into a story by clicking “add media” as pictured above, and either inserting the link to the podcast or video, or selecting one or multiple images from the media (photo) library.

As easy as it sounds, the above process is something that most often throws our editors off. When it is a foreign process to them, it is important for my other editor and I to understand we need to be there every step of the learning process, to assure accurate outflow of stories.

We then move onto our editor’s righthand sidebar. This is where they can change the layout of the story, categorize, tag and add the featured image (the image that shows up next to a story on a home page). These are the most crucial parts to getting a story not only recognized by outside sources, but to get a reader interested as well. Most of this part is self explanatory as well, except for format.

For format, I drafted a specific style guide dedicated to specific types of stories- by clicking on the link to the above document, the style guide will be on page five. We have chosen to dedicate most long form layouts to longer stories (features, editorials, focus, people) and more non-home or full width to shorter stories (news, sports, A&E, student life). For more on formats, see Online Layout and Design.

Furthermore, within the story, we always add pull quotes (those big sectioned off quotes you see in an online or print story) and related stories (a way to give our other writers publicity). Not only are these crucial in adding a design element to the story, but they attract readers. The SNO interface is perfect as well, because after clicking “Add SNO Story Element” all editors need to do is paste their cited quote or select their related stories, and SNO creates the link for them. These can then be moved around within the story to complete the most valuable aesthetic appeal.

Lastly, as part of our paper’s policy, our advisor checks all articles to make sure they are proper for online publishing. This has helped with consistency, because with an outflow of nearly 100 stories each month, a prior check is perfect to assure we are convention ready.

This is just a small snippet to preparing stories for online, and even then my paper’s SNO interface is different behind the scenes than this WordPress site is. It is truly a fun experience to see your editing work online and I highly encourage anyone to check it out or even trying it- you could find a new passion, such as I did.




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