(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.
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. BRIEFs do not carry place names in the dateline.
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.
Story Links: Related stories, RICS, Graphics and TV URLs
We want to help readers of desktop products ( 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]. The contents of square brackets are visible to Reuters desktop products but not to media clients.
Link to RICs by using ANGLE BRACKETS as follows <XX.X>. These are visible to screen clients but not media clients.
Links to Reuters graphics or other internal URLs or third party source documents or website URLs, meant to be visible to BOTH Eikon and Media Express clients, should be placed in in SINGLE ROUND BRACKETS (or PARENTHESES) as follows:
( http://xxxxxxxx )
For Reuters URLs use a shortened version of a long URL in copy. To shorten a URL use bitly.com as DinkyLink is being retired. For the time being, all existing DinkyLink URLs will continue to work in stories, on Eikon and in archives.
To use bitly:
Copy the Reuters URL you wish to shorten
Go to bitly.com
Paste the URL in the text box at the top of the screen to shorten it
The screen should refresh with a reut.rs shortened URL. Copy and paste this to use as the new shortened URL.
For issues with URLs on reuters.com, consult the rcom desk at BLR-Online-Newsroom@thomsonreuters.com
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 from electronically released statements or websites 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 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 cities that are recognized by an international readership can stand alone, but if there is any doubt then use the name of the country, or in the case of the U.S. the state, 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;
- BRIEFs: These do not carry place names in datelines.
- 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 BRIEF, 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 And Subheads
Headlines are both a presentational and writing issue. 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.
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
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....
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.
Subheads or Cross Heads:
Subheads or Cross Heads may be used to improve the presentation of stories of 500 words (about 50 lines in Lynx Editor) or more. Subheads, like bullet points in the header field, should highlight the main points or sections of story to help the reader's understanding.
Subheads are written in ALL CAPS.
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.
EXCLUSIVE (EXCLSV) Reserved for stories based on original reporting that uncover major news not easily matched by our competitors. The significance of the scoop should be clear, easily explained and written into the story. An EXCLUSIVE should have impact, for instance it may alter readers' perception of a subject they care about, or change the direction of an existing storyline. Usually an EXCLUSIVE merits publication started by an alert to highlight it for readers attention. An incremental development should not be tagged EXCLUSIVE even if we are first with it.
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).
Media Schedules: NewsPlanner and Skedlines
Several times each day the main regional and specialist editing desks publish schedules of upcoming Reuters stories to help media clients (news websites, newspapers, television, radio etc).
Media clients continually tell us they want to know ahead of time what stories they can expect us to publish on BOTH EXPECTED and BREAKING news as it develops.
Desks can only publish media schedules if all bureaus and reporting teams consistently update NewsPlanner every day for stories EXPECTED in coming days in a format that can be adapted by media schedule editors AND ALSO file a SKEDLINE to the Lynx Editor GLOBAL SCHEDULES basket on significant BREAKING news of the current day.
Bureau chiefs and specialist reporting team leaders or their delegates are responsible for ensuring that NewsPlanner entries for expected stories have the "description field" filled out with the information used by production desks to compile the schedules..
NewsPlanner entries and skedlines need to answer the basic journalism questions: Who? What? When? Why? So What ?
Media Schedule issue times
The World News Schedule is issued at the following times all year round:
0200 GMT, 0600 GMT, 1000 GMT, 1400 GMT, 1800 GMT, 2200 GMT
Business News Schedules are sent Mondays-Fridays at:
ASIA: 0430 GMT (same time all year);
EMEA: 0830 GMT summer/0930 GMT winter and 1230 GMT summer/1330 GMT winter),
AMERS: 11:00 am ET (1500 GMT summer, 1600 GMT winter) and 2:30 pm ET (1830GMT summer, 1930GMT winter)
U.S. General News Media Schedules are sent at:
9:45 a.m. ET, 11 a.m. ET, 2:30 pm ET, 5:30 pm ET (weekends/holidays: 2:30 pm ET; same times all year)
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).
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 should 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.
File skedlines to the GLOBAL SCHEDULES BASKET in Lynx Editor by using the TRANSFER button and selecting the basket.
Sign-offs give names and contact details for the people most involved in reporting, writing and editing a story. They demonstrate accountability and give clients a contact if they have problems with a story or want to give us more information. Credits and contact information appear as two or more lines at the bottom of a story.
A sign off should look like this:
(Reporting by Marcus Cicero; Editing by Publius Tacitus)
((firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 222 333 4444; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com ))
Or like this:
(Reporting by Marcus Cicero, Additional reporting by Gaius Catullus, Editing by Publius Tacitus)
((firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 222 333 4444; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com ))
Or like this:
(Reporting by Marcus Cicero, Additional reporting by Gaius Catullus, Writing by Lucius Seneca, Editing by Publius Tacitus)
((firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 222 333 4444; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com ))
The information in single parentheses on reporters, writers and editors goes to all media and screen clients. The section in double parentheses containing contact information only goes to screen clients.
Note the format: 'Reporting and Editing' are capitalized, 'by' is not capitalized.
The first section does not contain contact information, only roles and names. The second section contains contact information such as telephone numbers, email address and RM address for the principle reporter. Telephone numbers include + and country dial code. sections are separated by a semi-colon. Do not add contact information for other people unless you clear it with an editor, bureau chief or editing desk and note on the comment line that it has been approved and by whom.
Guidelines for particular story types:
1. 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 should also contain the "Reporting by" entry in the sign-off because when stories go to online clients bylines are often stripped while sign-offs are often retained.
2. BYLINED STORY WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTER(S) – Other reporters who contributed to a bylined story are credited, with their locations if they are different from the dateline: Reporting by Marcus Cicero, Additional reporting by Gaius Catullus in Rome; Editing by Publius Tacitus. NOTE: "Additional reporting by" credits are generally not warranted if all you did was get a ‘no comment’ from a company spokesman. Let’s chalk this up to teamwork.
3. NO BYLINE – Story carries single "Reporting by" credit in the sign-off that lists one or more reporters who worked on the story. For example: Reporting by Marcus Cicero, Gaius Catullus and Valerius Maximus
4. NO DATELINE - In the absence of a location in the dateline, include the location of the reporter. For example: Reporting by Marcus Cicero in Rome.
5. 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 published the story. This field should never show more than two names.
6. WRITING BY – Used on stories where the bylined reporter 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. A writing credit may also be used when a journalist has written a story that draws substantially on a series of stories from another Reuters service (such as the Spanish language service). The signoff would look like this: Reporting by Pablo Neruda, Writing by Dylan Thomas; Editing by Harold Pinter (firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 555 666 7777; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))
7. TRANSLATIONS – Writing by credit is also used when a story is translated into another language, alongside credits for the original reporter(s), as illustrated 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 Marcus Cicero; Writing by Virginia Woolf) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +88 9999 0000; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))
8. SENSITIVE OR DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES - Our reporters sometimes cannot be named because they are working in difficult or dangerous circumstances, where identification could endanger them or a source or both. If this is the case, leave the name of the reporter off the story and use the contact details for the editing desk or bureau editor. In such circumstances, consult the reporter or bureau chief to decide whose contact details should be used.
9. STRINGERS - If the reporter is a stringer, who does not have Reuters contact details, use his or her name as reporter but use contact details for the bureau or the editor who handled the story. If you cannot use the stringer's name, use the name of the editor and his or her contact details.
Slugs and Slugging
Getting key word slugs right is an editorial priority. Slugs allow media clients in particular to find our stories, using Reuters Media Express product or their own content management systems, and ensure that stories appear correctly on reuters.com. Many of our clients are increasingly focused on multi-media, so they need consistent slugging in order to package our related text stories, pictures, video and graphics.
A slug is a combination of TWO OR THREE words and data appearing in the header field of Lynx Editor to identify each story. All text items, except Alerts and Briefs, require slugs.
A slug may have three parts: a PACKAGING SLUG, a WILD SLUG, and a FORMAT SLUG
For example, ROME-CAESAR/RUBICON (URGENT)
When creating slugs think in terms of the key words that help to identify the story for clients and avoid vague subject categories.
Think in terms of some of the basic journalistic questions:
Who? PERSON or COMPANY NAME or INDUSTRY SECTOR
What? EVENT or SUBJECT
Where ? GEOGRAPHY
CLARITY is important to help identify what the story is about but CONSISTENCY is even more important. The packaging slug 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 a series of updates and wrap ups. Once a packaging slug has been established, it should be adopted by all regions, text and visuals, for as long as the story lasts which can be days, or weeks or even longer. For example: SYRIA-CRISIS/.
Make decisions on slugs as part of your news planning. 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. List the slug in Lynx Newsplanner for all expected stories.
If you are not sure which slug is currently being used, use the auto-suggest function in the Lynx Editor slug field for recently used slugs, or run a Lynx Editor search on a slug word to ensure you use the same packaging slug as on earlier stories, or check the bottom of previous stories on the topic in Eikon.
If you need to change a slug on a trunk story, we MUST send an Advisory to media product codes advising the slug change.
You should also email Reuters online production desk in Bangalore at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as the global pictures desk at Global-Pictures-Editors in Reuters MS Oultook.
Also use the RM/Eikon messenger chatroom used by regional desk editors globally at: rmchat://room/thomsonreuters.com/Global_Desk to advise of the slug change, or email relevant reporters and editors.
The PACKAGING SLUG consists of the TWO words before the forward slash /
For example, ROME-CAESAR/
All slugs should carry a forward slash even if there is no third or wild slug.
A packaging slug should usually consist of AT LEAST TWO, BUT NO MORE THAN TWO, WORDS that include a GEOGRAPHY, a COMPANY or INDUSTRY SECTOR or PERSONAL NAME, or an EVENT or SUBJECT category. The problem with 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 or company, then any visuals attached to one slug will transfer to the other even though they are not related.
GEOGRAPHY: Use a geographic identifier that will be recognized by clients internationally, such as a country or regional name or well known city name. Avoid using more than one geographic identifier in the packaging slug.
COMPANY/INDUSTRY SECTOR: Use TWO WORDS to distinguish different stories about the same company or person. For example, use FACEBOOK-RESULTS/ for an earnings story and FACEBOOK-IPO/ for new stock issues.
EVENTS: Keep the slug to what you know at the time, so it is unlikely to need changing (e.g. NIGERIA-BLAST/ rather than NIGERIA-BOMB/).
SUBJECTS: Some global stories more easily package related stories using a subject category like CLIMATECHANGE-XXXX/.
The names of PEOPLE recognized by an international readership may also be useful in the packaging slug e.g. USA-OBAMA/
A WILD SLUG comes after the forward slash /
A third word or wild slug is used to distinguish ALL items or sidebars from the related main or trunk story or update/wrap up series.
For example, ROME-CAESAR/POMPEY
Urgents, instant views, analyses, fact boxes, sidebar stories or columns etc should carry a third or wild slug after the forward slash to distinguish them from the main trunk story.
If a sidebar item does not carry a wild slug it will overwrite the trunk story in some media client computer systems and for reuters.com
Similarly, no two sidebars should carry an identical wild slug.
STORY FORMAT information goes in parentheses at the end of the slug.
For example, ROME-CAESAR/ (UPDATE 3, PIX, TV, GRAPHIC)
The (PIX) or (GRAPHICS) slugs should ONLY be used when the reporter/editor knows there are pictures or graphics specially commissioned to match the story or specially selected from the Reuters pictures and graphics databases for the story. The PIX or GRAPHICS slug in media schedules then alerts media clients, and reuters.com editors, so they can use the visuals. Media clients can usually search Reuters pictures and graphics databases for file items to add to a story but that does NOT mean the PIX or GRAPHICS slugs should be used on every story. If in doubt, the tag should not be used.
So the template for slugging a package of related stories might look the following:
ROME-CAESAR/ (UPDATE 1)
ROME-CAESAR/ REACTION (INSTANT VIEW)
ROME-CAESAR/ (UPDATE 2, PIX, TV)
ROME-CAESAR/ (WRAPUP 1, PIX, TV, GRAPHIC)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON STORY SLUGS:
What about country-only slugs, such as AFGHANISTAN/ or company-only slugs, such as FACEBOOK/ ?
All slugs must have at least two words. Usually a geographic identifier like a country name or well known state or city name OR a company name OR personal name PLUS a subject category works best. 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 or company, then any visuals attached to one story will transfer to the other story even though they are not related. Also, editorial systems for many media customers cannot manage one-word slugs. So add a second word that describes the story more clearly. e.g. AFGHANISTAN-KARZAI/
What do you do about long company names?
Avoid acronyms and contractions, unless known worldwide, but in some cases you might have to use the company names mandated by the Reuters RIC for a company. Remember many acronyms do NOT work around the world. BOC, for example, refers to a central bank in Canada, an industrial gas firm in Europe, and a commercial bank in China.
What about slugging company earnings, profits or outlook stories ?
Earnings, Profits: COMPANYNAME-RESULTS/
Outlooks, profit warnings etc: COMPANYNAME-OUTLOOK/
What about mergers and acquisitions ?
Mergers, Acquisitions: TARGETCOMPANY-M&A/BIDDER
Do not include the bidder company name in the packaging slug in case a second bidder emerges which would mean the two stories would not be packaged together using the same packaging slug.
What about IPOs, equity, debt issues and unit sales?
What about company stories on management changes?
(Stories about financial services company staff changes also carry the MOVE/ Named Item Code)
What stories about company accounting issues, investigations, or tax issues, or restructurings?
What about market reports?
Market reports slugs should use the following convention:
A third wild slug is acceptable if need be:
What about stories on broad themes?
In general try to avoid vague categories or themes, but some global stories more easily package related stories using a subject category like CLIMATECHANGE-XXXX.
Similarly, regular items like COUNTRYNAME-ECONOMY (WRAPUP 1) are acceptable.
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
Can the "wild slug" be hyphenated too?
Yes, you can use a hyphen to identify a subsequent urgent or sidebar e.g. HEALTH-EBOLA/BRITAIN-DRUG but try to avoid this construction and keep it simple as much as possible.
If I get it all wrong, what do I do?
Ask one of the regional editing desks to help you. Regional editing desks make final decisions on slugs and are responsible for consistency in story slugging.
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 18:13, 10 February 2016.