Types of news

The news pages on the Centre's website carry three types of news:

1. News about and from the Centre

Including:

  • News on the Centre's publications, events and other initiatives, whether in advance or retrospectively.
  • News on other developments related to the Centre: e.g. media coverage, a mention in parliament, a significant meeting or initiative involving one or more members of staff, organisational news.
  • The full text of press release or our bulletins.

2. Commentary and reaction to external developments

A news story of this category requires, as a minimum:

  • An external development worthy of coverage, and
  • A quote from a named member of staff – generally Richard or Will – commenting on the story.

As a general rule, the article should focus on our reaction to the external development in question, rather than offering a general news story with our comment. See, for example, Comment on further arrests over child prison

3. Linking an important development to one of the Centre's existing or past initiatives

This type of news piece requires, as a minimum:

  • An external development worthy of coverage, and
  • Some explanation of why we are covering it on our site. This might be in the form of a link to a recent publication or event, or a more general explanation of why we think this development is worthy of coverage on our site.

See for example: Solitary confinement in UK prisons, and David Cameron pressed on 40,000 preventable deaths.

These are the three types of news stories that should usually go on our site.

We should avoid publishing summaries of news stories or policy developments that do not include either a quote from the Centre
or some form or explanation of why we are covering it.

Writing a news story

1. Title

This should be no longer than 55 characters (including spaces). Use http://www.lettercount.com/ if in doubt.

2. Body

When writing the news piece, bear the following general points in mind:

  • Short sentences, short paragraphs. Avoid complex sentences and lots of subordinate clauses. Paragraphs should typically be no more than two or three sentences. One sentence paragraphs are fine.
  • Links should be kept to a minimum. In most cases a story should include a link to the cited publication, news story, event etc and to a relevant publication by us (were applicable).
  • The title of publications – for example our publications, newspapers, reports from other organisations – should always be in italics. 

In relation to quotations:

  • Extended quotations – whether quotes from a cited a news article, or a comment from a Centre representative – should be indented and italicised. No quotation marks should be used for indented quotes.
  • Short quotations within a sentence should be in single quotations marks, and in plain text (i.e. not italicised).

3. Date

Leave 'Show end date' unticked.

In general the date should be set as the date when the news piece was published. If, for instance, you are writing about a conference you spoke at a week ago, it's fine to date the news piece as the date of publication, referring in the text that this happened 'last week'.

Backdating a news piece is sometimes allowed. For instance:

  • To create retrospective news pieces for inclusion in the bulletin; news pieces that we did not get round to publishing at the correct time.
  • To avoid bunching of news stories or to ensure that an important news story is not bumped off the top of the list by something less important.

4. More on

This provides the facility to tag articles, to create connectivity between different content on the website.

Adding a tag does not improve discoverability of the article via the website search box or google.
Don't throw in a load of random words in this box
.

Here are a few pointers:

  • If the news piece refers to particular individuals – a leading politician, one of our own contributors or members of staff for instance – their name should be added.
  • Add in tags related to relevant CCJS initiatives (e.g. Justice Matters, UK Justice Policy Review, My Story).
  • Use relevant subject tags that will help to link the news story to other pieces on the site (e.g. Holloway Prison, revolving door, corruption).
  • Don't introduce spurious links by using the wrong tags. For example, the 'I would build' tag is used to link the various essays that were submitted as part of that series. Don't tag a news piece as 'I would build' just because someone is arguing a point that resembles the 'I would build' themes.

And finally: fresh eyes

Ask a colleague to give the news piece a once over prior to publication.

More on