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Indybay Feature

How to Write for Indybay's Center Column

by Mahtin for the Website Collective
Submissions encouraged!
So you want to write for Indybay's center column...Here are some guidelines. Bear in mind that it is at the Indybay Website Collective's (and individual editors') discretion whether your story will appear in the center column, and we reserve the right to edit for content, clarity, grammar/punctuation, tone, etc.

Please read Indybay's Principles of Unity and Mission Statement so you are clear about who we are, what we do, and why and how we do it:

Center column stories could cover events that are going to happen or have happened, reports that have been issued, decisions in courts, etc...Include the date(s) of the event and names and relevant websites of organizations related to the story. One of the unique features of web-based journalism is that you can link to websites where people can get more info. It would be good to have something of a who, what, where, when, why (how many people attended, are affected, etc.)—but not laid out in that format. Look at center column stories to get an idea of the kind of thing that Indybay covers, and how blurbs are written. Center column stories often have a more objective tone than newswire posts, since the Website Collective does not take positions on single issues—we often link to both sides of an issue from the center column, and tend to use a somewhat neutral tone. Avoid exaggeration of the importance of an issue; avoid exclamation points, ALL CAPS, hyperbole, etc. We are more able to credit people for stories if the story originally came from the newswire ("As Indybay reporter so-and-so learned when s/he dug deeper into the issue..."

Center column features can be either the entire text of a post to the newswire, or a shortened version of a newswire post, with a link to an article that was posted to the newswire. This gives us the advantage of being able to keep center column stories short (sometimes!) and having a link to the newswire article, saying "Read more."

Photos for center column stories: We might be able to use a photo from a newswire post in the center column. However, sometimes a photo looks good at a large size, but doesn't look so good when it is cropped and made smaller. Photos should generally be more horizontal than vertical (longer up and down than side to side). Do not email photos to the Website Collective. If the photo is already in a newswire post: send the url of the photo that you want to use (right click on the photo to get the url) with your suggested post or resize the photo to a width of 200 pixels and add it as a comment to your newswire post (then send the url with your text). If you are able to resize the photo yourself, please do so and see if the image makes sense at that size (can we read the signs? Can we see people's faces?). Most editors can resize photos, so don't worry too much if you can't resize yours.

You can email a link to the newswire post that you want to use, to indybay [at]

Do you want to become an editor of the website? Check out and (the "get involved" page) for meeting times—we would suggest that you come to a New Volunteer Orientation before you attend a website meeting. If you don't see an update about when and where the next meeting will be, email us!
§a tip on posting to the newswire
by an editor
Please make each separate event or topic a separate post. This helps to highlight each event and makes it easier for the editors to find the information and link to features in the center column!
§see also, "How to Publish to this Site"
by website collective
YOU are encouraged to post your news, comments, event announcements, etc to the site!
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