(also known as an EDS NOTE or “Trash Line“)
Advisory lines at the top of Updates, advise clients of additional new details in a running story and where to find the information in text. They are also an important news-editing tool because they help us decide whether we really need to re-edit the story. If possible, keep the note to one line (no more than two), enclosed in brackets. Indent one space and start with a capital letter. Be specific e.g. (Adds prime minister’s reaction in paragraph 3, updates death toll in paragraph 4). Do not start the advisory with “eds” or “eds note”. If you recast your story completely because of a significant development, say e.g. (“Rewrites throughout after military intervention threat”). Avoid journalese – e.g. “graf”, “graph”, “para”.
The aim of bullet points is to break complicated information down into digestible form or to highlight the main elements of a story. Bullet points also free us up to be more creative in our lead writing.
Bullet points work in many story formats: BRIEFs, UPDATES, WRAPUPs, INTERVIEWs, market reports and factboxes.
To add bullet points in a story in Lynx Editor, click on the More Actions tab and click Add Bullets to create a bullet field above the byline field in the story header. (Note: To add bullets in the TEXT of the story, click on the Format tab and click on the Text Bullets button)
Here are general guidelines:
- Bullet points must be succinct, in the active voice and in the present tense
- Every bullet point is preceded by an asterisk (*)
- The minimum number of bullet points is two, the maximum five
- They cannot exceed one line (about 10 words) in length
- Bullet points can be analytical or interpretative
- Both reporters and desk editors can write bullet points
Here are some details on the various story formats that currently use bullet points. We may extend this group to include other story types.
The BRIEF is an automatically generated item (by our Wire Engine alerting system) with a special headline tag. BRIEFs are meant to save time and ensure customers who cannot receive alerts get the guts of our stories. The bullets repeat the alerts verbatim, and that’s OK. A BRIEF can have more than 5 bullets. BRIEFs are used by company news but can be used by other files.
Updates and Wrapups
Bullet points on UPDATES and WRAPUPs are used to highlight the key points in a big story. They should not slavishly repeat the lead or the headline or focus only on what is in the first dozen lines. Across the file, bullets should be used on major UPDATES and WRAPUPs. Political and general news WRAPUPs will no longer have trashlines. In all other cases, we’re keeping trashlines for now.
On INTERVIEWs, bullet points must be used from the UPDATE 1 onward to give readers a bird’s eye view of the story.
On PREVIEWs, bullet points serve to identify the event being previewed, when it will take place and a key highlight. wo special rules apply: The first bullet point of a PREVIEW starts with * What: and describes the event. The second bullet point has * When: and gives the date, local time and GMT equivalent in brackets.
In market reports, bullet points can either take the place of a narrative (similar to BRIEFs) or top a narrative (here, the same rules apply as under WRAPUP or INTERVIEW). Check with your EIC which format works best for your market. In reports that consist only of bullet points, use more links [ID: nXX] to guide readers to full stories. For narrative market reports, avoid bullets with market prices but instead focus on short descriptions of factors moving the market.
Flexibility is key here. Some boxes contain just five bullet points. Some boxes are Q+A format and require long entries to explain a complicated issue. Consult with edref on its preferred style or look at previous examples of FACTBOXES to see what works best.
A correspondent’s byline underlines “ownership” and responsibility for a substantial part of the reporting. We do not byline routine reporting of a press statement or news release or a newspaper or other pickup.
Apart from newsbreaks, any news story may carry a byline if it contains original reporting. Length is not relevant.
Double bylines may be used on stories when the story is the product of significant reporting by two individuals, but should be used sparingly. Normally, other reporters contributions would be recognised in the “additional reporting” signoff. Use of more than two bylines on a single story may be appropriate at times on Special Reports but otherwise should be approved by a senior editor. Stories with a double dateline that are bylined should carry a byline from each location.
Cross-heads (Sub-heads) and Story Links
CROSS-HEADS OR SUB-HEADS
Cross-headings are used in all stories of 500 or more words to break the mass of copy into more digestible morsels. Cross-heads are sub-headlines of two to four words, all in upper case. Aim for something simple, informative and unbiased. Insert a line feed (that is a blank line) before the cross-head. One or two cross-heads are enough in a 500-600 word piece. Three or four will do in an 800-word story. Make sure the cross-heads don’t break the flow of the story, for instance by breaking up a speaker’s quotes.
LINKS TO OTHER CONTENT
We want to help readers of desktop products (Kobra, Eikon, ThomsonOne etc) to refer to ticker symbols or RIC quote pages, or to other Reuters stories, or to graphics or video or to other source documents.
Link to other Reuters stories by placing the USN in SQUARE BRACKETS as follows: [ID:nXXXXXX]
Link to RICs by using ANGLE BRACKETS as follows <XX.X>
Link third party source documents or website URLs should be placed in in SINGLE ROUND BRACKETS (or PARENTHESES) as follows:
To shorten URLs, which link to web pages, you can use the dinkylink shortener:
All of the types of brackets mentioned above will preserve the link for desktop clients (Kobra/Eikon/ThomsonOne) but delete them for media clients, including reuters.com for the time being.
RICs, USNs and Reuters graphics and video URLs mostly refer to Reuters desktop products or to internal websites which are inaccessible to media clients anyway. In many cases media clients receive Reuters pictures, video and other visuals via separate feeds anyway. And in the case of URLs for public website, most media clients do not want links to third party sites or want to control them themselves anyway.
All of the content including links inside “Sandwich Boxes” in Lynx Editor will also be deleted for media clients. So it is not necessary to put URLs inside sandwich boxes inside double parentheses.
Instant view - U.S. GDP contracts: [ID:nL1N0AZ4EV]
Instant view - ADP payrolls data: [ID:nL1N0AZ3KP]
Instant view - Fed policy decision [ID:nL1N0AZGKG]
Graphic - ADP payrolls: http://link.reuters.com/fex44t
Graphic - GDP: http://link.reuters.com/wed65t
Datelines are essential to demonstrate Reuters proximity to the action, to show that we have feet on the ground and are reporting with authority.
In a global organization, however, with large teams of specialist reporters in major centers, Reuters often covers stories from locations that have nothing to do with the scene of the action. Examples include: stories based on corporate announcements, including earnings reports; actions by credit rating agencies; bond issues by governments and companies around the world reported from major financial centers; and reports released electronically by international organizations. In these cases the reporter’s location in the dateline adds nothing and at times can be confusing.
So do not use place names in datelines on stories that are either largely written off electronically released statements or otherwise done by journalists remote from the scene of the action. Such stories may still carry reporter bylines, however, and if so should indicate in the contact information at the bottom of the story where the bylined journalist is located.
Just to be clear: Reuters continuing preference and policy is to use place names in datelines on all stories where the bylined reporter is near the scene of the story, but if there is a doubt about whether a place name in a dateline could confuse or mislead the reader then omit the place name.
USE PLACE NAMES IN DATELINES IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES:
Stories with place names in the dateline could include:
- Main stories, updates or wrapups where Reuters has reporters, stringers, photographers or camera operators near the action – use the place name of the main journalist closest to the action;
- Main stories in which significant reporting from multiple sources has moved the story beyond a press statement rewrite may also justify a place name in the dateline so long as it is not confusing or misleading. Editing desks and EICs will be the final arbiters of when to use a place name in a dateline;
- Major market reports where the reporter is based in the financial center where the market is largely based;
- Initiative interviews in person (including Reuters Summit stories) or by phone, mentioning the location of the interviewee in the story:
- Analyses, (including stories using the tags or formats PREVIEW, INSIGHT, NEWSMAKER, DEAL TALK, BUY OR SELL etc ), and features, special reports and columns (including BREAKINGVIEWS) where the byline and dateline add credibility to the story and there is no risk of confusing the reader. See also Handbook guideline on bylines.
Double datelines may be used on stories with a broadly similar amount of substantive information from two locations where we have a reporting presence.
A Reuters dateline is indented four spaces at the start of the text field. Write the city in upper case. The date and the name (Reuters) are in upper and lower case. A dash between spaces separates the dateline from the opening paragraph of the text. The names of major world cities can stand alone, but if there is any doubt about whether an international readership would be familiar with the city then use the name of the country as well in lower case. Do not use a period or full stop when abbreviating months.
NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) –
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Sept 12 (Reuters) –
Again, if there is any doubt as to whether a place name in a dateline would confuse or mislead the reader, omit the place name from the dateline.
DO NOT USE PLACE NAMES IN DATELINES IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES:
Do not use place names in datelines on stories largely written from press statements obtained via fax, press statement wires, electronic feeds, or websites, or stories largely based on information gathered from other electronic sources like conference calls, webcasts, or databases.
Such stories may still carry bylines, and should indicate in the tag line at the bottom of the story where the bylined reporter is located. Also note in the tag line the name and location of any other reporter who has contributed to the story.
Items that do not carry a place name in the dateline should still identify in the text the country or city where the company or individual is based, or the location of the speaker or action, or the means by which we obtained the information – “in a written statement”, “on a webcast”, “said on television” etc.
The following stories fall into this category and do not usually take a place name in the dateline:
- Stories largely based on corporate announcements from press releases received via fax, email, wire, feed, or website, including earnings releases, M&A announcements, and credit rating agency actions;
- Stories largely based on industry events (often closed to the media) that we cover remotely via analysts conference calls and webcasts;
- Stories largely based on online court documents such as the US’s court system’s PACER database or the US SEC’s EDGAR database or other databases;
- Stories largely based on analysts’ research emails;
- Stories largely based on newspaper or online journal pickups;
- Stories largely based on television appearances by newsmakers.
Items that are tabular, entirely numerical, compilations of established background facts, and bullet point items, do not take place names in datelines. These usually take the headline tags Factbox, Timeline, Q&A, Earnings Table, Text, Diary, Advisory, New Issue, Sports Results, Sports Fixtures, Sports Standings, Sports Summaries, Take a Look, Top News, Highlights, STXNEWS, FXNEWS, MMNEWS, etc.
To meet the needs of the top news packager software that feeds the Eikon and Kobra desktop products and NewsPro for mobile devices, and other product formats, items that do not carry a place name in the dateline must carry a date and Reuters identification. Indent the date four spaces at the start of the text field. The date and the name (Reuters) are in upper and lower case. A dash between spaces separates the dateline from the opening paragraph of the text, as follows:
Sept 12 (Reuters) -
Editorial’s Lynx Editor software auto-loads the dateline based on pre-specified location and time zone. These preferences can be adjusted to remove the location, or it can be manually deleted. Reporters who mostly work on stories that do not require a location in the dateline can remove it from their preferences and story formats will autoload without one.
To ensure transparency, and to meet the needs of Thomson Reuters product formats, items without place names in datelines, with or without bylines, must carry a signoff tagline in single parentheses that provides the name and location of the writer(s) and the name of the main or last copy editor on the story. For example:
(Reporting by Joe Bloggs in Anytown, Anycountry; additional reporting by Jane Doe, Sometown, Somecountry; editing by Roger Rerite).
The usual sign offs in double brackets should follow that tag line:
((firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 234 567 8910; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com ))
For more on sign offs Click here.
Headlines are both a presentational and writing issue. Far too many are dull, unclear and uninformative, prompting the reader to switch off, rather than tune in. They must be sharp, clear and informative. In the case of spot stories, they should contain the basic information investors need to make a decision. Use short words instead of long; use the active voice, not passive; use present tense and avoid unfamiliar abbreviations. It is better to convey one idea crisply and clearly rather than cram in two ideas awkwardly.
Headline tags (see below) are usually written in ALL CAPS but sometimes with the first letter of each word capitalized e.g. UPDATE 1- or GLOBAL ECONOMY or Soccer-Beckham scores....
The body of the headline is written with the first letter of the first word capitalized only unless there's a name involved e.g. UPDATE 1-Caesar crosses Rubicon
Headlines will turn red in Lynx Editor after 64 characters, including the headline tag. That is a warning that the headline has probably run long enough. If you need a few extra characters at times, there is space to do so but remember that it may need to be trimmed to fit on Top News displays.
Tags are used at the start of a headline to give screen clients a clearer idea of the type of story behind the headline. Most tags are in UPPER CASE, but some are in Upper/Lower case.
Tags should be followed by a dash (no space) and the headline immediately after the dash (again no space). e.g.:
ANALYSIS-White House change on Iran may reap benefits
To avoid a confusing clutter of tags on screens, headlines carry only a single tag (so just UPDATE X or ANALYSIS or EXCLUSIVE for instance, but not UPDATE X-ANALYSIS-). The tag to use is down to the judgment of the regional editing desk. The exception is if you correct or refile a tagged story, when there would be two tags.
Note, the EXCLUSIVE tag is for our very top exclusives and its use should only be approved by news editors.
APPROVED HEADLINE TAGS - NOTE SOME CARRY STORY TYPE TOPIC CODES AND SOME DO NOT:
ADVISORY (ADVS) Notice to subcribers about specific stories.
ANALYSIS (ANV) Analysis of a topic drawing on data, research and credible third party sources.
COLUMN (CLM) Commentaries providing insight, analysis, context, opinion, and expertise expressing the view of the author.
DAY AHEAD (no code) U.S. preview for following day's markets.
BREAKINGVIEWS (BRV) Commentaries on current events by Reuters BreakingViews columnists.
DEALTALK (DLTK) Stories aimed a providing behind the scenes details and insight on corporate mergers and acquisitions and capital raising activities.
DIARY (DIARY) A list of scheduled events.
FACTBOX ( FBOX ) Contains background fact and figures linked to a story or analysis, including factboxes in Question and Answer format.
FEATURE (FEA) Stories aimed at enlightening the reader about a trend, issue or personality in a broad context, illustrated with specific examples.
HIGHLIGHTS (HLGT) Highlights from a live news event in the form of bullet points or selected quotations.
INSTANT VIEW (INVU) Quick reaction to a news event with direct quotes from named sources.
INTERVIEW (INTER) Stories primarily based on exclusive interviews.
NEWSMAKER (NMKR) Stories profiling an individual currently in the news.
OBITUARY (OBIT) Stories profiling a newsworthy individual who has recently died.
POLL or EARNINGS POLL (RPOLL) Polls conducted by Reuters or third parties on a variety of issues and topics.
PRESS DIGEST (PRESS) Summaries of reports in significant newspapers.
PREVIEW, WEEKAHEAD (PRE) A predictive story ahead of a scheduled event or events. (Note GLOBAL ECONOMY can take the PRE code when it is previewing events).
RESEARCH ALERT (RCH) Highlights broker research on particular companies or sectors.
REUTERS SUMMIT (RSUM) Stories generated by Reuters Summits on a specific topic.
REVIEW (REV) A critique of a consumer product or service including books, films, restaurants, shows etc
SPECIAL REPORT or INSIGHT (SREP) Investigative stories that are in depth and revelatory on a current news topic or theme. SPECIAL REPORTS tend to run to magazine length of 2,000-4,000 words, while INSIGHTS are shorter pieces of no more than 1,500 words.
TAKE A LOOK (TAL) At-a-glance index of stories on a particular news issue.
TECHNICALS (INSI) Predictive statistical analysis of markets based on historical price movements.
TEXT or TRANSCRIPT (TXT) The entire original text or verbatim transcript of a statement or speech.
TIMELINE or CHRONOLOGY (TMLN) Chronological list of significant news events in the history behind a current news story.
TOP NEWS (TOP) Lists of Top News headlines.
TRAVEL POSTCARD (PCARD) Tips for short trips to cities and countries from Reuters correspondents.
UPDATE (no code, generated by Lynx Editor automatically) Adds further data, details, quotes, background to an earlier story.
WEEKAHEAD (no code) Outlook for the following week, including some diary items.
WITNESS (no code) Eyewitness reports from significant news events.
WRAPUP (no code) Combines elements of previously separate stories into one trunk or main story. (Note: Use the "Copy with USN" button in Lynx Editor to update WRAPUPs and change the update number. Do NOT use the UPDATE button.)
A pool is a limited group of journalists from different news services who report on behalf of the entire press corps when space is limited or there are other constraints, such as safety, on general access to an area or event. A single reporter may also constitute a pool.
The ground rules for pools, and in many cases the procedures for selecting pool members, should be clearly defined and understood.
Basically there are three kinds of pools:
- A single story is written on behalf of all pool members.
- Individual pool members write their own stories which are filed on a collective pool basis.
- The pool writer provides a detailed, chronological account of what happened in note form and journalists write their own stories from that.
If we know that the Reuters member of the pool has written the story we should use his or her byline, including an advisory line like this:
(This story was written by Reuters correspondent Jane Smith on behalf of the pool of White House correspondents in Saudi Arabia.)
If the Reuters correspondent did not write the story we should not use a byline and should file an advisory line like this:
(The pool of White House correspondents in Saudi Arabia of which Jane Smith of Reuters is a member wrote this story.) Add the word (POOL) to the slug of a pooled story, e.g. BC-TRANSMENIA-HOSTAGES (POOL).
The Schedule (or Sked in newsroom jargon) is primarily a planning tool for media clients, providing a present tense approximation of the first paragraph of major stories that are planned, about to move or which have already moved and are worth highlighting. It does not list all stories on the file. The Schedule also serves as a news planning tool for editors. News must never be “saved for the Sked”. We are a round-the-clock operation and publish news as it happens. Desk editors compile the Schedule from “skedlines” submitted by reporters and bureaux.
World News Schedules are issued six times a day on the Reuters World Service (RWS) main media wire and World Business News schedules three times a day on the business wire. Reuters Americas also issues two schedules for the Reuters North America (RNA) wire and three business schedules per day for business wire clients in the Americas. Wires go only to media clients so RICs should not be used on business schedules.
Schedule issue times
The World News Schedule is issued at 0200 GMT and 0600 GMT all year round and at the following GMT times during the London summer/winter; 1000/1100; 1400/1500; 1800/1900; 2200/2300.
Business News Schedules are sent at 0500 GMT (Asia) and by London at 0830/0930 GMT and 1230/1330 GMT.
In the Americas, skedlines must be filed early enough to meet the following deadlines:
(All times New York time, i.e. EST in the winter or EDT in the summer)
0700 RAM general news media schedule
1030 RAM Reuters Business Report (RBR) media schedule
1030 RAM general news media schedule
1430 RAM Reuters Business Report (RBR) media schedule (Update 1)
1430 RAM general news media schedule
1700 RAM general news media schedule
Offerings for the Schedules are commonly known as “skedlines” and allow Reuters editors to see what stories are developing and select the most important for the “Sked”...
UNITED NATIONS – Zimbabwe should immediately halt its bulldozing of urban slums, a campaign that has been carried out in “an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering,” U.N. report says (ZIMBABWE-UN/ (UPDATE 2), moving at 0900, pix, tv, by Evelyn Leopold, 575 words).
There should be no “cycle identifier” (i.e. “BC” meaning “both cycles”) preceding the slug. In this example from the World News Schedule, 0900 is understood to mean 0900 GMT. If this were a U.S. Schedule, the time would be styled 9 a.m. and would be understood to be EST or EDT. The skedline must state whether there is a picture or television images to accompany the story, at what time the story moved or is expected to move, and how many words the story has or is expected to run to.
Desks will go back to the bureau if they think the story will be too long, or too late or should have accompany images.
In the Americas, reporters send a skedline either to the World Desk, Americas or to the relevant desk in New York, using the appropriate desk code. (A one word slug SKEDLINE on the Cy-Slug line of the DECADE header is sufficient. No headline needed on the GN-Head line of the DECADE header).
For other regions, skedlines should be coded NEXT plus the relevant desk code (LON for London or ASDK for Asia), depending on which centre is compiling the next World Schedule.
Skedlines should be sent at least half an hour before the Schedule is issued. Add a reasonable amount of time for desk editing when estimating the time you expect the story to be published. If you are unable to meet the landing time noted in the Schedule, you must advise the desk. If the delay is significant, an Advisory may have to be issued.
On a big breaking story, the skedline should be sent after the Newsbreak. On a late breaking story, desks can take a skedline until the last minute as long as there is notice that one is coming. If an important news event is due, send a holding skedline stating briefly what is coming, the slug, when expected, author and wordage. If you miss a Schedule, send a skedline anyway so the desks can highlight the story as MOVED in the next one.
Sign-offs give the contact details for the people most involved in researching and editing a story. They demonstrate accountability and also give clients a contact point if they have problems with a story.
A sign-off comprises a first line of content in single parentheses that lists the main people involved in creating and editing the story, followed by a second section in double parentheses that gives contact information for the reporter, or the primary reporter where more than one contributed.
So it would look like this:
(Reporting by Sam Thomas; Editing by June Singh)
((firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 646 897 1898; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com ))
The information in single brackets will go out to all clients; the section in double parentheses will only go to financial clients, as everything after the first set of double parentheses in any story is always stripped before the story goes out to media clients.
Note the format: single indent for both lines of content; Reporting and Editing are capitalised, by is not capitalised; first line has single parentheses and does not contain any contact information, only roles and names; second line is in double parentheses and contains the contact information such as telephone numbers; no mention of e-mail or Tel; Reuters Messaging: is written just like that; telephone number includes + and country dial code; sections are separated by a semi-colon. Do not add items for other people, such as Editing by xxxx - this does not make it easier for the desk and all too often the result is that the xxxx goes out to clients.
Guidelines for particular story types:
- BYLINED STORY – A byline gives the name of the reporter or reporters who have made the most substantial contribution to a story and have a responsibility for the bulk of the content.A story that carries a byline does not carry a "Reporting by" entry. Reason: duplication of information. Sign-off then would be: (Editing by June Singh)((firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 646 897 1898; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com)) For double bylined stories add both sets of contact details in double parentheses, on merit.
- BYLINED STORY WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTER(S) – Other reporters who contributed to a bylined story are credited, with their locations if they are different from those of the dateline: (Additional reporting by Mohan Kumar in Bangkok; Editing by June Singh)((firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 646 897 1898; Reuters Messaging:email@example.com)) NOTE: "Additional reporting by" credits are generally not warranted if all you did was get a ‘no comment’ from a company spokesman. Let’s be generous and chalk this up to teamwork.
- NO BYLINE – Story carries single "Reporting by" credit that lists one or more reporters that worked on the story (in that single field). Reason: puts same information across in less space.(Reporting by Sam Thomas and Mohan Kumar; Editing by June Singh)((firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 646 897 1898; Reuters Messaging:email@example.com))
- EDITING BY – Should usually show the name of the last person who edited the story or the person who did the most substantial edit. If the story was edited in the bureau before being sent to the desk, the "Editing by" field should show the name of the bureau editor and the person who finally pushed the button on the story. This field should never show more than two names.
- WRITING BY – used on stories where the bylined reporter on the spot can report but not write, for whatever operational reason. Note that the contact details in this case should also be for the writer. Reason: the reporter in this case is very probably not easy to reach. This field may also be used where a journalist has written a story that draws substantially on a series of stories from another Reuters service, possibly even adding some local reporting, rather than producing a straight translation of a story. (Writing by Olaf Brandt; Editing by June Sink)((firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 646 897 1335; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))
- TRANSLATED BY – used on stories that are translated into another language, alongside the credits for the original reporter(s) either in the byline or the sign-off, as outlined above. Contact details should be those of the translator unless the reporter can also easily field questions in the new language of the story. (Reporting by Sam Thomas; Translated by Jeanne Bouchard)((firstname.lastname@example.org; +33 1 1234 5678; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))
- SENSITIVE OR DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES - our reporters sometimes cannot be named because they are working in difficult or dangerous circumstances, where identification culd endanger them. If this is the case, leave the name of the reporter off the story and use the contact details for the desk or bureau Editor.
- STRINGERS - if the reporter is a stringer who does not have Reuters contact details, then use their name as reporter but use contact details for the bureau or editor which handled the story. If you cannot use the stringer's name, use the name of the editor and his/her contact details.
Slugs and Slugging
Getting slugs right is important to ensuring your story appears correctly on reuters.com and is visible to media clients. .
A slug is a word or combination of words and numbers appearing in the header field of Lynx Editor software to identify each story and, where necessary, establish links with related stories. All text items, except alerts, require slugs. Slugs can be up to 50 characters in Lynx Editor.
A slug has three parts:
The PACKAGING SLUG comes before the forward slash /
This is the part that is used to pull a package of stories together with visuals and so MUST STAY THE SAME for as long as the story runs through updates, wrap-ups and for days, weeks or even months.
This means, for example, that we must stop changing our election slugs from RURITANIA-CAMPAIGN/ to RURITANIA-ELECTION/ on the day of an election, as this confuses media clients and their computer systems.
It also means that if we use the same slug for different stories, one will overwrite the other in some media clients systems (e.g. FACEBOOK/ for a lifestyle story and FACEBOOK/ for the IPO results in pictures and text stories getting mixed up for clients).
- It’s more important that a packaging slug is consistent than that it is perfectly clear. Don’t change a packaging slug to improve its relevance to a story.
- For this reason, keep the slug simple and keep it to what you know at the time, so it is unlikely to need changing (e.g. RURITANIA-BLAST/ rather than RURITANIA-BOMB/).
- Generally, USE TWO WORDS for the packaging slug so that you can distinguish different stories about the same company or country.
- Don’t guess a slug if updating an earlier story. Do a Lynx Search on the slug or do a search on Kobra/Eikon and see what slug was used previously and be consistent.
- A trunk story (update or wrapup) does NOT have a wild slug. Use only the packaging slug for trunk updates and wrap-ups – nothing goes after the / for updates or wrapups except the story format information in parentheses.
- All slugs should carry a forward slash / even if there is no wild slug.
A WILD SLUG comes after the forward slash /
This is the bit that tells people this story is different from earlier stories. Clients use it to split up the stories within a package – so it needs to be unique for each newsbreak/urgent/, sidebar story, analysis, factbox etc.
- - No two stories published on the same day should carry an identical wild slug.
- - All urgents, sidebars, related analyses, factboxes etc should carry a wild slug.
AAA-BBB/ (UPDATE 1)
AAA-BBB/ (WRAP UP)
If you do not use a wild slug on sidebars like analyses and only slug a side bar with the story format information in brackets, you run the risk of the sidebar overwriting the trunk story in media client systems.
e.g. Use AAA-BBB/XXX (ANALYSIS) not/not AAA-BBB/ (ANALYSIS).
STORY FORMAT information goes in parentheses at the end of the slug.
This is the third part of the slug, and includes information such as (ANALYSIS, UPDATE 1, PIX, TV).
Plan slugs in advance where possible. Make decisions on slugs part of your news planning process. Check with your regional editing desk, which has the final say, and then advise all involved what the packaging slug for the event will be. There is a field in Lynx News Planner where you can list the slug.
On breaking news, set the packaging slug as something that will last through the story – even if it lasts days or even weeks. Even if the story changes, we should avoid changing the slug.
If you are not sure of the slug used previously check the bottom of the previous story on Kobra/Eikon or in a Lynx Editor search to ensure you use the same packaging slug.
If for some reason we are forced to change a slug on a trunk story, we MUST send an Advisory to media product codes advising of the slug change AND also email Reuters online production desk in Bangalore at firstname.lastname@example.org
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON STORY SLUGS:
Do slugs appear on Kobra/Eikon?
In Kobra and Eikon, they appear at the bottom of stories labelled Keywords but they generally appear without the hyphen but with the forward slash e g. CAESAR STABBED/BRUTUS. In Lynx Editor this would have been CAESAR-STABBED/BRUTUS.
Do I have to put a forward slash in every slug?
Yes. It's far easier to remember to always put one in than to do it sometimes and other times not. Trunk stories (updates, wrapups) only carries the packaging slug, e.g. CAESAR-RUBICON/ (UPDATE 3)
Can the "branch slug" be hyphenated too?
Yes, you can put a hyphen after the slash to identify a subsequent urgent or sidebar e.g. CAESAR-STABBED/ANTONY-SPEECH
What about country-only slugs, such as AFGHANISTAN/?
Generally don't use single country-name slugs. The problem with using single word packaging slugs is that if there is a second story the same day or in the next few days on a completely different subject about that country then any visuals attached to the first slug will transfer to the next story even though they are not related. So add a second word that describes the story more clearly. e.g. AFGHANISTAN-KARZAI/
What about company name only slugs such as FACEBOOK/?
Generally don't use single company names as slugs. The problem with using single word company root slugs is that if there is a second story the same day or in the next few days on a completely different subject about that company then any visuals attached to the first slug may transfer to the next story even though they are not related. So add a second word that describes the story more clearly. e.g. FACEBOOK-EARNINGS/ or FACEBOOK-IPO/
What about slugging using company names in mergers and takeovers?
Use the name of the TARGET company e.g. YAHOO-OFFER/. Then if a second or third bidder emerges you are not stuck with an inappropriate packaging slug.
What do you do about long company names?
Generally avoid acronyms and contractions, unless known worldwide, but in some cases you might have to use a standard contraction (e.g. BOFA for Bank of America. But BANKAMERICA might be clearer.
Remember many acronyms do NOT work around the world. BOC, for example, refers to a central bank in Canada, an industrial gases firm in Europe and a commercial bank in China.
What about slugging regular company earnings or profits stories?
Use the COMPANYNAME plus the word EARNINGS or RESULTS e.g FACEBOOK-EARNINGS/
What about stories on broad themes?
In general try to avoid vague categories or themes, but regular items like USA-ECONOMY (WRAPUP 1) or USA-FED/ are acceptable.
What about market reports?
Market report slugs usually follow the existing convention MARKETS-USA-STOCKS/. As with other slugs, it is vitally important that market report slugs are consistent.
What about slugging sports stories?
Identify the sport and the tournament or team or location or player etc e.g. SOCCER-UEFA/ or SOCCER-ARSENAL or SOCCER-CHELSEA/TERRY
If I get it all wrong, what do I do?
Ask one of the regional editing desks to help you sort it out. Remember it is more important to be consistent than right.
If we must change a slug we need to issue an ADVISORY to media clients saying we are doing so.
Unique Story Numbers (USNs)
The Unique Story Number (USN) links together pages of a story on terminals. As long as the same USN is used on each page of a story, our systems can join together the pages into a single item. The USN also allows us to correct, overwrite and replace stories on the screen. It is a basic desk and reporter function to check that correct USNs are used.
Please note that USNs must be enclosed by square brackets and preceded by an “n” when they are used as a navigational tool in TOP NEWS SUMMARIES, TAKE A LOOKs etc. e.g.:
“This story is accompanied by a Table. To retrieve, click on [nSYD12345].
The USN drill
A snap and newsbreak carry the same USN. The UPDATE 1 to that newsbreak takes a new USN and all subsequent updates retain that USN through the rest of the 24-hour news cycle.
When a story begins without a snap or a newsbreak, the USN remains the same on all subsequent updates through the rest of the 24-hour news cycle. This applies to all types of story.
A corrected story should take the same USN as the story it replaces. The next update in the series should take a new USN which remains on all subsequent updates.
Market reports each take a separate USN.
Category: Guide to Operations
This page was last modified 20:34, 30 April 2013.