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How to Write for the Wincanton Window

The following is designed to make contributing to the Window as easy as possible. You can contribute both articles and diary entries.

  1. Download the Article Template (Blank / Demo) (UPDATED 5-12-2011)
  2. Fill it in
  3. Email it to editor@wincantonwindow.co.uk

Below:
Updating the calendar
Understand the web site
Prepare an article for the system
Editing
How to write an article
Commissioning articles or photographs
Ordering copies of photographs
Boundaries and editorial policy
The Wincanton Window orbit
What to do next

 


 

Updating the calendar

At the bottom of the diary page you'll find a form you can fill in to send in your calendar entry directly. Be careful to include all the necessary details before submitting the form. Also be sure to include your email address correctly - you'll receive a copy of your submission by reply. If you don't, it's likely your email address was entered incorrectly, which means we may be unable to contact you if we need any additional details.

Understand the web site

Before contributing an article to the Window it's best to familiarise yourself with how it works, so go to the home page and have a look around. The site has a fairly basic structure - understanding it will make contributing to it an awful lot easier.

Along the top of each page is a menu; Home, About, Contact, Diary, Contribute etc. These pages contain basic information about the site and the people involved.

Down the right hand side is the list of some 30 categories, such as Sports. Click on those to reveal a further list of sub-categories, one for each sport or other related activity. Each category, or sub-category page shows summaries of articles contained therein. Check Shopping/Retail, Churches/Religion or Sport to see some examples of sub-categories.

The Home Page acts as a Front Page and features a selection of articles, picked by the Editor, each with a headline, a small picture (called a thumbnail) and a brief introductory paragraph, or summary. Each ends with a "read more" link. Click on that and the rest of the article appears, often with more pictures.

Note that with these 'front page' stories, and those on category pages, the most recently published story appears at the top left. When a new story is published it will push the bottom story off the page – BUT IT WILL NOT BE LOST – it will simply appear on page 2, and in its sub-category folder where it can be accessed directly via the category list. Click the 'older articles' button at the bottom of the page to reveal older articles which were published in the same location. There is no limit to the number of articles that can be stored in any sub-category.

In addition to the article summaries, the home page (only) presents a short list of the latest article headlines from ALL categories that have not otherwise been included on the home page, as well as a link to a full page of summaries that includes every single article on the entire site. This ensures that every single contribution will appear on the home page for at least a short period after it is published.

You can also access any article, old or new, by typing in an author name, subject or title in the Search box. This provides easy access to every singel contribution.

Prepare an article for the system

Which articles appear front page is an editorial decision. Every article however, be it news, information or opinion needs to be submitted using our Article Template which ensures you include all the necessary details we need to publish it quickly and easilly. Each requires a headline and a summary of up to 40 words to appear before a 'Read more...' link.

The Article Template has been arranged with all the necessary fields to make contribution as easy as possible. Simply download a copy of the template and fill in the boxes on the first page. Begin your article on the subsequent page and then email the final document and any relevant, good quality images you have to .

Editing

As regards content, our policy is to provide a platform and free access to individuals, associations and businesses to publish articles of significant local interest - regardless of the point of view of the sender - provided it is legal, decent and honest, we know who has written it and it is the author's own work. This means we do not publish articles that have been published somewhere else except when, in our editorial judgement, it is directly relevant to the people of Wincanton and our orbit. When we do this, as happens when we reprint part or all of an article from the local press, clear acknowledgement as to its source is always given.

This means if you send in an article, be it commercial, religious, sporting or political that has been published before, we will normally not publish it. If you think it is important, we would expect you to write an article about it. Articles should clearly be the work of the named author and any quotations from other articles should be limited to a paragraph or two and the source and authorship of the article clearly given. To write the words of someone else without acknowledgement is simply plagiarism and is not acceptable. Publishing advertisements, tracts or pamphlets which have been disseminated elsewhere is not what we are about. Further to this, search engines (google, Bing, etc.) may reduce our ranking if they find we are recycling widely disseminated articles.

As editor my responsibility is to the Trustees for the overall direction of the site as regards content and the development and encouragement of contributors and to make sure that our focus remains on the needs of the community within our orbit. I choose the front page stories and work to maintain an open, polite and friendly style, and a balanced discussion of issues at all times. I will do what I can to make all submissions interesting and readable. This will normally include rewriting headlines and often re-ordering paragraphs, shortening sentences and cutting out repetition. If I think I have significantly changed the substance of what you have sent me, or if I suggest a substantial rewrite to make a piece more readable, particularly as you get started, I will always email you a copy of my edited version for you to comment on before publishing. Please reply to such emails ASAP.

How to write an article

Imagine you are chatting to a friend, not making some formal announcement. This usually means you should write in the first person. ("It is now six years since I moved here," rather than "John Baxter came to Wincanton six years ago.") Short, simple sentences are best. Always avoid jargon and aim for clarity – we so easily take jargon for granted – be it medical, educational, social, or religious.

Always think, "How can I make what I am involved with sound interesting to those not yet involved."

Be enthusiastic. Sometimes it works if you imagine you are talking to someone who knows NOTHING about your interest or activity.

Sometimes it works if you set out your article in the form of the questions they might ask and the answers you might give. e.g. "What is the Balsam Centre?"

Increasingly as we get established I hope you will look at the Wincanton Window and see articles or entries you like and think have been well done. That should inspire and make it easier for you. If you get stuck do not hesitate to send a draft either to your sector promoter or to the editor.

Commissioning articles or photographs

We are prepared to give help to everyone to prepare an article for themselves at no charge, but for businesses who wish us to do this for them, we do charge to write an article or to come in and take a series of photographs of professional quality. This has proved popular. If you do this you will be commissioning the writer or photographer, not the Wincanton Window. Costs depend on what is involved. Discuss your needs with us and we will happily give you a quotation.

Ordering copies of photographs

The copyright of photographs that appear in the WW belongs to the photographer. John Baxter is a professional photographer and good quality prints of the images he takes for the WW can be ordered from him. For prices see his site, www.getshot.co.uk.

Boundaries and editorial policy

We are a small non-profit charity. We have five trustees who make policy decisions. We have a wider invited Management Committee who discuss and advise on policy. We rely on community support and donations in order to cover administration and publicity costs and will pay our professional website manager and editor when funds allow. All other writing and photography is done by volunteers.

  1. We are here to provide news, views, information and images from Wincanton and the villages within our orbit (see map), and to generate a stronger sense of community.
  2. We promote the arts, sports, festivals and local special events. We will consider any article or diary entry which draws attention to them.
  3. To do this we provide a platform and free access to individuals, associations and businesses to publish articles of significant local interest. Articles and comments should be decent, legal, honest and original. We do not accept articles sent to us by unknown contributors from outside our orbit or advertorial material from businesses outside our orbit unless the product or service they offer is not available here.
  4. The editorial role is to check and decide if an article meets our publication criteria and to help authors present good readable articles. The editor's decision is final.
  5. We encourage and welcome comments from anyone on any article, but we reserve the right to edit or remove comments at our own discretion.
  6. We have a special 'Have Your Say' section in which we encourage people to sound off and express their opinions on issues they feel strongly about.
  7. The WW is politically neutral, open and aims to act as a platform to facilitate and encourage frank discussion and debate from different points of view. We publish articles by or about our parish, town, district and county councillors and our MPs and MEPs if of significant local interest. During elections we will publish contributions from all candidates.

The Wincanton Window orbit

The map below illustrates the radius of our coverage of the Wincanton area, our orbit. The line is blurred to indicate that it isn't to be assumed 100% accurate, and that there will be inevitable exceptions.

A map showing a radius of the area covered by the Wincanton Window

What to do next

Download the Article Template below, save a copy, fill it in and then attach it to an email addressed to . We have also provided a demonstration template.

BLANK Article Template - (MS Word) - DOWNLOAD
(NEW VERSION 5-12-2012)

DEMO Article Template - (MS Word) - DOWNLOAD
(NEW VERSION 5-12-2012)

Any comments as regards the clarity of this guide and any suggestions you have as to how it could be improved would be much appreciated.

With thanks, John Baxter

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