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MIT Libraries Staff Web

News site guidelines: Correspondents instructions


Who can post news?

  • Most departments have one or more news correspondents who are tasked with gathering, writing, and posting their department's news and events. Find your department's correspondent
  • If a unit doesn't have a designated correspondent, contact the Editorial Team.
  • If you have any news-related questions (technical, photos, editorial, etc.), contact the Editorial Team.

News writing guidelines

What makes a good news story?

  • Is it timely? The story introduces something new (example), or is related to a current event (example) or topic or time of year (example)
  • Will it help someone get something done? (example, example)
  • Does it reinforce an important message? e.g., the Libraries' brand or values (example), Institute-wide priorities (example)
  • Is it unique to the Libraries (example, example) or to MIT? (example)
  • Is it a human interest story? People like reading about people (example), not programs

Constructing your news story

  • Headlines: Make them brief and clear; sum up the story in few words
  • Sub-heads: Short sentence, building on the headline; provide more details to draw the reader into the story
  • Lede: The first paragraph (called the “lede” or “lead”) should succinctly answer “who, what, when, where, and how.” See 5 tips for writing good ledes.
  • Front-load the information: Readers will scan your news story; don’t expect them to read the entire thing. The most important information should go at the top of the story.

Writing style guidelines

  • Tone: Professional, friendly, helpful, not too formal or academic. Avoid using library jargon.
  • Audience: Write with a broad audience in mind; your news story may reach well beyond MIT. Some stories might have a specific audience, such as MIT students. In that case, make it clear in your headline or copy. 
  • Links:
    • Make email addresses and URLs clickable.
    • Don't paste URLs into the text of post or say "click here." Don't say "visit"; say "visit the MIT Libraries."
    • Create links to any libraries mentioned (only need to do this once per post).
  • Style: Refer to: MIT Libraries’ house styleMIT editorial guide, and AP style
    • Titles: Use sentence case for all headlines and subheads
    • Use Oxford (or serial) commas (Ex: apples, bananas, and grapes)
    • Use ampersands (&) only when space is limited (such as a story title that must fit on the homepage) or when it is part of an official name (Ex: AT&T). Otherwise, spell out "and."
  • Provide a contact for more information, if appropriate.

News stories: How to post

  1. Log into the news site  (if you're off-campus, you'll need to download and connect through VPN first)
  2. Click on "Posts", then "Add New."
  3. Enter the title and subtitle (see headline and sub-head guidelines above).
  4. Write the body text of the post.
  5. Insert images via the "Add Media" button. (see Image section below for complete details). 
  6. Format appropriately. Remember formatting standards and "Writing for the Web" guidelines. 
  7. Select categories. "All news" should always remain checked. Try to limit your selection to one or two categories.
  8. Do not use the "tag" field unless instructed by editorial team.
  9. Mark if urgent (use for time-sensitive posts).
  10. Notes for the editorial team -- use this field for anything you need to tell us.
  11. Save the post as a draft, make any necessary updates, then send for review.
    - Save as Draft - come back to it later
    - Preview - opens a new tab with a preview of how it will look
    - Submit for review - will send your post to the editorial team.

Events: How to post

Before Creating Your Event

  • Is registration required? If so, set up a LibCal or Eventbrite registration (you’ll need the link)

Creating Your Event

1) Log into

2) Hover over your profile pic in upper right, and click on “Calendar Admin”

3) Under “Events” tab on the left, click on “Add Event”

4) Fill in the appropriate fields:

  • Make sure to click “Include above…” to add a date
  • Under Event Place, if it's an MIT campus location, begin typing "Building." You can find the Building # in the drop-down to add a campus map link
  • Important: select MIT Libraries under Group
  • If there is a registration link (such as LibCal), add it to Ticket URL field (under the "Tickets & Registration" tab). We also suggest you include it in the description also as a hyperlink.
  • Under “Visibility,” leave it as "Public"

5) Save changes

6) Email Brigham at to say that you have entered an event

  • If it is urgent, please specify. 
  • If you’re having trouble finding an image or are concerned how it may crop, include that in your email.
  • If an event is co-sponsored and needs to be assigned to more than one DLC (see "Co-Sponsored Events" below), indicate that in your email.

7) If needed, you can edit an event after it’s published. Go to the event page; in the lower right, there is a box called “Admin” with a button called “Admin Event Editor.” Click on that and edit fields as needed.

Co-Sponsored Events
If an event is co-sponsored and should be assigned to another DLC in addition to the Libraries in the calendar, please indicate that when emailing Brigham in step #6 above so that we can make the request from calendar administrators. Please do this even if another DLC is adding the event to the calendar; we will need the Libraries to be added by administrators so that we can pull the event into the Libraries' website.

Accessibility Accommodations

  • Use language that demonstrates that we actively want people to participate and that we are happily willing to help make that happen. We would appreciate everyone’s help in incorporating this language into our templates and norms.
  • Disability Services may require up to 2 weeks to provide special access accommodations; you may want to add a date to your wording.
  • Sample wording:
    • Please contact [EMAIL or PHONE] by [DATE] if you need special services, assistance, or accommodations to fully participate in this event.

Resources for MIT Events Calendar

Spotlights: What are they and how to post

What is a spotlight?
A spotlight can be used for to highlight an existing page or to feature content that doesn't warrant its own story. You provide a title and a link. No need to worry about an image. 

The different types of spotlights are:

  • Check it out (a catch-all for something you want to highlight)
  • Featured collection
  • Featured exhibit 
  • Featured service
  • Featured story -- draw attention to a story on MIT News or other non-Libraries site
  • In the Media -- similar to the above
  • Featured video
  • Tip
  • Update (often used for closures or changes in hours with a link to the hours page)

How to post a spotlight:

  1. Go to dashboard
  2. Select "Spotlight" - add new
  3. Text -- say everything you need to say in one line, and say it well. Spotlights should be around 60 characters. Use a character counting tool like LetterCount to make your life easier.
  4. Select the spotlight "type"
  5. Add the link that this spotlight will link out to -- this is required. 
  6. If urgent (maybe in the case of hours or a closure) check the box.
  7. Add any notes for the editors
  8. Submit for review

Due to space and wrapping reasons we may need to edit your line of text a bit. 

Image instructions

Our news site is image intensive. It is important to have a quality image for every post.

Where to find images:

  1. See the Marketing Team's Image Resource List.
  2. Make sure you have permission to use an image, or that it's in the public domain. If you need to add a photo credit, use the image caption field.
  3. If you want/need to use a logo in your post - look for a high quality copy. You don't need to follow the dimension criteria below as we likely won't be able to use it on the "grid" view page. 
  4. If you have trouble finding an image, describe what you are looking for in "notes to editorial team" and we'll try to help!

Before you upload your image(s):

Huge images aren't good for the site. Use a basic image editing program ("Paint" on PCs, "Preview" on Macs) to resize (and rename) your image if it is large. 

  1. For the various uses on the main news page we (the editorial team) need an image at least 700 x 300. These dimensions will obviously vary depending on whether your image has a horizontal or vertical orientation. 
  2. Save your image with a meaningful file name. Make it concise, use all lowercase & dashes, no spaces or underscores. 
  3. Save your image as a JPGs (photos) or PNGs (line drawings, logos).
  4. Once resized your file size should be under 500 kBs. 

Uploading images: 

Click the button for "Add Media" & upload a new image, or select an existing image from the Media Library. Your image should already have a meaningful filename & and be a good file size - if not, stop, see above and start again.

See below for the eleven easy steps for a quality upload!

If you have more than one image to add, do this for each image. Once images are in place you can make sure they are aligning properly and text is wrapping/flowing ok.

Any problems or questions - let us know!