Other Common Story Forms

General points

  • Headlines on all types of stories Reuters stories filed from Lynx Editor software should be no more than about 64 characters including the headline tags, as some Thomson Reuters products cannot handle longer headlines. Lynx Editor software will turn characters red after the 64th character as a warning that your headline may be too long.
  • ALL stories except Alerts and Briefs must have a slug.
  • ALL stories, including Tables, Factboxes etc should be filed in one page (or “take”) except in cases of extreme length (e.g. a TEXT item or Diary) where there are system limitations.

Contents

Spot story

Slug: XXX-YYY/

The basic spot news story is the mainstay of the Reuters file. Write it quickly, clearly and simply. Say what happened and why we are reporting it, in language that is easy to translate into some of the other languages in which Reuters publishes. Remember Reuters core values of accuracy, fairness and speed.

To enable regional editing desks to publish the story quickly, reporters should ensure that all the basic journalistic questions are answered. Who? What? When? Where? Why? And so what?

Sourcing should be clear. No reader should be forced to ask how does Reuters really know this?

All stories should include some context to explain the significance of the story. Why does this matter? What are the consequences or what will happen next? Put the news in context so readers can understand its significance, using quotes, color and background.

A lively, well-contexted and self-contained spot story is often all that is needed. Keep the story to about 400 words and do not update unless there are significant new details to add.

If the story is updated, the first version of the story should remain on the screen. The Update, if any, would carry a different Unique Story Number. Any further Updates would replace the previous Update in the series, but the first story should not be replaced.

Sidebar

SLUG: XXX-XXX/YYY (wild slug)

A Sidebar is a spot story that is filed as a companion piece to a running “trunk” story or series of updates on breaking news. It may be a related Alert and Newsbreak or a basic spot news story. It may cover reaction or some other development linked with a major running story. It may be a color story, or a historical or scene piece. Format and writing are the same as for the basic spot news story except that it may be possible only to sketch in the context and background. Any Sidebar should use the slug of the trunk story plus an additional identifier e.g. THAILAND-CARS/REACTION-

The tabular format or bullet points may also be considered as an option when you are planning sidebar treatment of a story. Sidebars are not usually updated.

Curtainraisers or Previews

Headline tag: PREVIEW

Slug: XXX-XXX (PREVIEW)

Topic Code: PRE

Curtainraisers or previews by definition are written ahead of set-piece events – meetings, visits, elections, trials, earnings, speeches etc. They should carry the PREVIEW tag in the headline and (PREVIEW) after the slug. In addition to relevant topic codes for screen clients, they are also filed with a PRE story format topic code.

Previews give readers a head start and give you a basis on which to build your story, and thus get it published faster, when the news happens. If they are written in a newsworthy fashion, they stand a chance with readers. Otherwise, clients are quite content to get the programmatic information (what, when, where, who, for how long) from our diaries and outlooks or from a factbox or special advisory listing dates and times. So the basic message is, there is no such thing in Reuters as a routine curtainraiser or preview. If your preview is going to read like an extended diary entry, then drop it. Don’t do a preview if no discernible news is going to emerge from the event. In all cases, consult your regional desk about your plans, including when to file.

A preview should usually be filed 2-3 days before the event and tell the story in no more than about 400 words. However, there may be interest by media clients in stories filed overnight to set up something that is going to happen during the coming 24 hours.

Overnight stories

No special tags or slugs. An "overnighter" is a way to restart a major ongoing story with a write through for the next news cycle by adding a forward looking element. It should be reserved for a story that is likely to appear on a top news page or the world news schedule. While Reuters is a 24-hour news service, there can be value in an overnighter for clients in the next major regional time zone also. One possibility for an "overnighter" is to write a more analytic piece answering the "what next?" question. In all cases, consult your regional editing desk on when one is needed. An overnighter takes its own USN.

Instant View

Headline tag: INSTANT VIEW or ANALYSTS VIEW

Slug: XXX-XXX/ (INSTANT VIEW)

Topic Code: INVU

Named Item Code: Some regular INSTANTS take a named item code.

INSTANT VIEWS or ANALYSTS VIEWS are designed to provide clients with rapid reaction from analysts and major decision makers to a significant political or financial breaking news story or expected event such as a major economic indicator release in a bullet point format.

They should carry the headline tag INSTANT VIEW or ANALYST VIEW and must carry a slug (e.g. AUSTRALIA-BUDGET/VIEW (INSTANT VIEW)).

They usually begin with a dateline and short note describing the event or data being analysed. This is followed by a series of direct quotes from analysts or decision makers in reaction to the event or economic or corporate data just published.

Write the NAME, TITLE, ORGANISATION and GEOGRAPHIC LOCATOR of each commentator in UPPER CASE per case ABOVE his/her quote, separated by commas.

INSTANT VIEWS can be updated, as a normal story would be, but without the UPDATE tag, as each new entry is added.

The first INSTANT VIEW on economic or financial news should reach screens within 15 minutes of the event and the series should be completed within 30 minutes. If you have interesting views from analysts that are worth filing separately but which were obtained over several hours change the headline tag to ANALYSTS’ VIEW.

The INSTANT VIEW should look something like this:

INSTANT VIEW 1- Ruritania industrial production rises

Oct 1, (Reuters) – Ruritania industrial production rose 1.4 percent in August from July, more than expected and reinforcing a view among analysts that interest rates could rise soon. Production was 9.2 percent higher in the year through August, compared with a 7.8 percent rise in the year through July.

Key points

August July August Forecast
Change vs. prior month 1.4 % 0.8 % 0.9 %
Change vs. year earlier 9.2 % 7.8 % 8.8 %


  • Ruritania statistics official says strong auto production boosted August output
  • Analysts say data cements the case for a rate rise at November central bank meeting

Commentary:

JOHN Q. PUNDIT, ANALYST, PROSPEROUS BANK, RURITANIA: “We thought the number was on the high side and it definitely means the central bank will want to tighten at the next meeting.”

JOE H. MONEYMAKER, TRADER, INTERNATIONAL BANK, RURITANIA: “This obviously shows that the economy is firing on all cylinders. Ruritania interest rates will clearly be going up again now.: “The auto numbers show that consumer demand is showing no sign of easing. : The central bank will want to take action sooner than later.”

Market Reaction:

  • Dollar at 8.70 ruros vs. 8.95 before data. Ruro gets immediate boost from increased speculation of an imminent interest rate rise.

Links:


Background:

  • The Ruritania economy has been growing at a 6-8 percent rate for the past few years and analysts say this is unsustainable if the central bank is to meet its inflation target
  • With the exception of retail sales, most of the past two months economic figures have come in on the high side of expectations. ((Ruritania newsroom +123 456 7890))

Highlights

Headline tag: HIGHLIGHTS

Slug: XXX-YYY/ (HIGHLIGHTS)

Topic Code: HLGT

The Highlights format is an effective way to get key quotes and facts to clients during a fast-moving news event, such as the unveiling of a government budget, a monetary policy news conference or international policy events such as the G7/IMF meetings. Instead of filing urgents after alerts, the alerts are covered with an XREF line which directs clients to the HIGHLIGHTS box which is updated several times.

PRODUCTION:

  • Use the HIGHLIGHTS headline tag only and give the item a slug with (HIGHLIGHTS, UPDATE X) in brackets.
  • Publish updates by using the Lynx Editor function CREATE COPY WITH SAME USN..
  • Insert new information at the top, saying "LATEST QUOTES" or whatever.
  • Capitalise sub heads; the shorter the better.

Interview

Headline tag: INTERVIEW

Slug: XXX-XXX/ (INTERVIEW)

Topic Code: INTER

Interviews with decision makers and people in the news are an important part of the Reuters file and support our reputation by conveying exclusivity. We should reserve the use of INTERVIEW in the slugline and headline tag for substantive interviews with subjects of note and not debase it by applying it to accounts of a few questions shouted at someone in a scrum of reporters.

It is essential to prepare well for an interview and to advise Reuters photographers and videographers via a NEWSPLANNER ENTRY, which may want to do the same interview. The story should be bylined and say the interview subject “told Reuters” or “said in an interview”.

Outstanding interviews with major figures may also use the EXCLUSIVE tag, and EXCLUSVE topic code, which is reserved for stories of exceptional significance that are obtained solely by Reuters.

Strong interviews of major importance may additionally be reported after the story has been written as a TEXT of Q&A excerpts. This item should repeat all the quotes, with questions, used in the main story and may also carry additional questions and answers. The questions and answers should be written in order to give the reader a sense of the full interview.

Given the set piece nature of interviews which are usually scheduled in advance, the INTERVIEW format is not normally updated. If an interviews subject discloses breaking news though you may want to file an Alert or Urgent sourcing the news to an interview with Reuters, and then write up the full interview later under the INTERVIEW tag without further update.

Newsmaker/Obituary

Headline tag: NEWSMAKER

Slug: XXX-YYY/ZZZ (NEWSMAKER)

Topic Code: NMKR

Headline tag: OBITUARY

Slug: XXX-YYY/ (OBITUARY)

Topic Code: OBIT

A profile of a newsmaker is often written as a sidebar to a topical news peg. We use the tag NEWSMAKER in the headline and in brackets in the slugline. Aim for no more than 500 words (50 lines in Lynx Editor), making clear high up why this person is in the news. An OBITUARY is in effect a Newsmaker written when the subject has died.

The Newsmaker/Obitiary needs to be a self-contained pen-portrait. Subjects may be leading figures in politics, business, sport, arts and entertainment, science and other fields. Aim for comprehensiveness. Personal details are essential, as are precise dates. The top half of a profile should contain a concise summary of the main points of the subject’s claim to fame, with a minimum of biographical detail. The rest of the profile should review his or her career chronologically. Think color and description.

Bureaux should keep Newsmaker profiles and Obituaries on prominent personalities on file and with the regional desk. They are often needed quickly. Keeping the store regularly up to date helps when the pressure is on.

Witness

Headline tag: WITNESS

Slug: XXX-YYY/ (WITNESS)

No special topic code.

A Witness story is a first-person account by a Reuters journalist of an event or experience or an event with which he/she has been closely associated, usually as an eye-witness. Many of our staff experience extraordinary and unusual things in the course of their reporting. Their work gives them unique perspectives on other human beings and their behavior. These things are all the stuff of Witness stories. They are individual accounts of experiences and are an opportunity for the writer to express personality, feeling and engagement. They are not vehicles for prejudice or partisanship though. Reuters standards of accuracy and fairness apply. Reuters journalists working for text, picture, video and online services have all written Witness pieces. They are slugged WITNESS-XXX/, start with the headline tag WITNESS, and are accompanied by an Advisory giving some background on the author and his or her story. They should be illustrated by an image of the author and ideally by pictures appropriate to the subject matter. All Witness stories should be discussed with regional editors, who will supervise their production.

Brights or Odds

SLUG: XXX-XXX/ (ODD)

Topic Code: ODD

A “bright” or “odd” is a story that we report above all because it is funny, quirky or bizarre. A “bright” may also be poignant or sad and invariably involves people. It is the sort of story we would not bother covering if the details were not so unusual. Such stories lighten our file, are fun to write and are welcomed by clients. They should carry the ODD slug and topic code.

Sometimes, hard news stories contain elements that happen to be bizarre or unusual but we write these stories for more serious reasons. The first claim to have created a cloned human being came from a company, Clonaid, which is linked to a group that believes aliens cloned the first humans. That is bizarre, but it is not why we covered the story. These stories are not “brights” and should not carry the ODD slug or topic code.

The best “brights” virtually write themselves. If you have to agonise over the first paragraph, the chances are that the story does not make it. You may need a catchy headline and neat turn of phrase to “sell” the story, but don’t strain for effect. Good “brights” are almost always so funny, unusual, poignant or offbeat that they can be told straight without heavy use of adjectives and adverbs. Most good “brights” can be told in about 300 words, a decent amount of space in any newspaper or on any Web site. They work best with a telling quote and humorous detail.

“Brights” must be properly sourced and must be tasteful. Before writing your “bright”, ask yourself whether it will interest a foreign reader. Some offbeat stories only work in a given culture or language.

Analysis

Headline tag: ANALYSIS

Slug: XXX-YYY/ (ANALYSIS)

Topic Code: ANV

We must analyze news as it happens, making analysis part of breaking news. Usually this involves adding some context to explain the significance of the news and possible future developments. Information users are under increasing pressure to take a view on events as soon as they occur so what is likely to happen in the near future is often as important for clients as what has just happened.

However, a separate stand-back look at a trend or development may take the ANALYSIS tag and examine what is likely to happen next and what impact it will have. It should be an informative, in-depth look at an issue. It should usually have a spot news hook, or at least be topical.

But an ANALYSIS is not meant as a vehicle to break news and consequently is not usually updated. Breaking news that relates to an ANALYSIS should be handled using the Breaking News story formats - Urgent, Update etc - with links embedded in the text to the earlier ANALYSIS

(For the INSIGHT format see Special Reports and Enterprise Reporting. A piece with the headline tag INSIGHT is a short special report and should reveal something that our readers did not know. INSIGHT pieces should be more than a roundup of news combined with a survey of experts. )

An Analysis stems from the writer’s authority and expertise in the subject area but is not a vehicle for personal view (see COLUMN). It should pursue an angle or line of argument and the argument should be supported by facts or data and quotes from named authoritative sources. An Analysis needs to acknowledge both sides of an argument even if the conclusion comes down squarely on one side or the other. When analyzing investment issues, an Analysis should use financial metrics such as valuation measures and historical performance as well as quote experts in the field.

An Analysis should be no more than about 800 words.

Pitch ideas for analyses to your editor before you start work. An Analysis should not be written without prior approval from a regional specialist editor or his/her deputy.

Dealtalk

Headline tag: DEALTALK

Slug: XXX-YYY/DEALTALK

Topic Code: DLTK

Named Item Code: DEALTALK/

DEALTALK is an news analysis story format that provides details and insight on capital raisings, such as initial public offerings, or secondary equity issues, or mergers and acquisitions.

DEALTALK can also be an outlet for stories about developments in an ongoing transaction. It should be well-sourced additional information about the real story behind a deal.

We should write DEALTALK in a bright tone, noting views and counter views. Named sources are sometimes difficult to find during mergers and acquisitions but, even if sources are unnamed, these stories need to be defensible by being based on multiple authoritative sources as single unnamed sources can be unreliable. Deal makers have agendas and vested interests also so we need to be wary of banker spin.

All DEALTALKs should use the DEALTALK named item code, and include a line at the top: ((For more Reuters DEALTALKs, click [DEALTALK/] )).

DEALTALK should also be used in place of the old and rarely used IPOVIEW headline tag and related Named Item Code IPOVIEW/ given clients are often unaware of IPOVIEW.

Moves

Headline tag: MOVES

Slug: XXX-YYY/

Named Item Code: MOVE/

Topic Codes: INVB


Short items about move of key people between banks and brokerages.

Feature

Headline tag: FEATURE

Slug: XXX-YYY/ (FEATURE)

Topic Code: FEA

A story that takes the FEATURE tag is an insight into a trend or an issue or personality. It must be accompanied by illustrative material such as a picture, graphic, video or factbox. It uses specific examples to illustrate that trend or issue and puts them in a broad framework that allows the social, economic, corporate, or political implications to shine through, whether national or global. A feature is essentially cross-sectoral i.e. it should appeal to anyone in a global audience of politically and financially aware readers.

A Feature gives a correspondent the chance to report in depth and against a more relaxed deadline. Features must be well sourced, accurate and fair like any Reuters story. Readability is the key and usually involves adding color by means of telling details, vignettes, quotes and context, rather than heavy use of adjectives and adverbs.

A feature may benefit from the use of an anecdotal, scene setter, exemplar, question, or even a quote introduction.

A feature should be no more than about 800 words or about 80 lines in Lynx Editor.

Feature writers MUST ensure that they have approval for an outline of the story from a regional or specialist editor before proceeding. Editors should help arrange visual or other material to enrich a feature in ways that make it particularly valuable to web based clients.

The word FEATURE is the headline tag. The slugline should carry an addition in brackets categorizing the type of Feature by the most appropriate subject, e.g.:

  • (SCIENCE FEATURE, PICTURE)
  • (POLITICAL FEATURE, PICTURE)
  • (BUSINESS FEATURE, PICTURE)
  • (SPORTS FEATURE, PICTURE)
  • (ENVIRONMENT FEATURE, PICTURE) etc

Special Reports, Insights, and Enterprise Reporting

Headline Tag: SPECIAL REPORT or INSIGHT

Slug: XXXX-YYYY/ (SPECIALREPORT)

Topic Codes: SREP

Named Item Code: SPECIAL/

What does "enterprise reporting" mean? By enterprise journalism, we mean deeply reported stories, done on our own initiative, which otherwise would never come to light. Here’s a sampling of the kinds of stories we’re interested in: Investigative journalism - accountability or watchdog reporting; exclusive looks inside a topic now in the news - the real story behind the story; revealing profiles of the people who run the world; scoops of trend-spotting and scoops of explanation

How much time should an enterprise story take and how long should it be? Some enterprise stories are quick-hit pieces that take just a day or two to pull off. Some are out-of-the-blue stories that take months.

Enterprise stories vary in length but may run to magazine length of about 2,000 words or 200 lines in Lynx Editor.

Enterprise stories that are quick hit pieces researched and written in a day or two can carry the INSIGHT headline tag and are generally no more than 800 words (80 lines in Lynx Editor), but like full length SPECIAL REPORTS should reveal something that our readers didn’t know with original reporting. INSIGHTS should not be a roundup of news combined with a survey of experts.

How do you get an enterprise story published? First, talk over your idea with your bureau chief or editor-in-charge. If you both agree you have a good idea, send the Enterprise Editor a story pitch.

Send pitches to the email distribution list called Enterprise Pitches (EnterprisePitches@thomsonreuters.com).

CC other reporters and editors who should know about the project.

Column

Headline tag: COLUMN- unless there is a product name.

Slug: XXX-YYYY/ (COLUMN)

Topic Code: CLM

A Reuters column is a showcase for the expertise and insight of seasoned journalists who use the format to bring fresh perspectives and novel thinking to their area of specialist coverage. Columns offer extra value to our audiences by challenging assumptions, bringing clarity where there is confusion and by casting doubt on comfortable orthodoxies.

A column is opinion and is distinct from the rest of the news file in that the author is licensed to express a point of view. Each must carry a disclaimer at the top, above the byline, making clear the views they contain are not those of Reuters.

They should contain a strong argument that is properly reasoned and backed up with evidence. They should also be fair, acknowledging the existence of other arguments or viewpoints. They should not be politically or ideologically partisan, nor should they contain invective. The column’s argument should be such that if challenged it can be defended robustly and sensibly by the author.

Once appointed to cover a sector or topic columnists are free to decide their own subject matter, but close collaboration and consultation with a senior supervising editor is essential. Since columns are the work of an individual, variations between them in tone and style are welcome. Columns should only be written by dedicated columnists. The appointment of a columnist needs the approval of the Editor-in-Chief.

Material that is in the nature of opinion/editorial but written in a blog style, sometimes called "service journalism" that offers readers recommendations about personal finance or other matters (e.g. "What you need to know about....." or "You might consider these options etc" ) should also carry the slug XXXX-YYYY/ (COLUMN) or XXX-YYY (PERSONAL FINANCE) and the topic code CLM to enable software used by media clients to distinguish this material from hard news.

Blogging

Blogging is an informal approach to content creation that has evolved in response to Web users' need for a simple publishing tool giving maximum engagement with readers. Blogging is by nature a flexible format and there are few rules governing its use. Reuters journalists blog to trigger discussions on topical issues, point to the most interesting material on a subject elsewhere on the Web, take readers behind the scenes of our news-gathering, solicit questions for interviews, and to add color, anecdote and angles that don’t make it into our other story types. In addition, blogging is the easiest way we have of handling multimedia story-telling and some Reuters journalists produce video blogs, also known as ‘vlogs’.

A Reuters blog should:

  • Be interesting.
  • Be conversational: raise questions, invite contributions, discuss what’s happening on other blogs, and respond to comments made by readers.
  • Link to external sites with relevant information
  • Monitor other blogs in the same space and attempt to build reciprocal links with them.
  • Tag posts so that they are easy for search engines to find.
  • Inject some personality into the post and include observation and anecdote.
  • Make use of multimedia whenever possible and think about a post’s layout.
  • Credit the original source of all content embedded in posts.
  • Make sure posts are seen by a second pair of eyes before publication.
  • Ask desks to place a link to their blog/post on relevant stories.

A Reuters blog should NOT:

  • Be one-sided opinion. You are free to make observations, ask questions and make an argument, but blogging in Reuters is not a license to vent partisan views or invective. You are still bound by the Trust Principles of fairness and balance.
  • Respond in anger to comments that appear on posts.
  • End each post with the line, ‘tell us what you think’. If you have a specific question for readers then ask it, otherwise let the comments box do the work for you.
  • Knowingly link to material that infringes copyright.
  • Have the color and personality subbed out of the post.
  • Take an idea or insight from another blog or site without acknowledgement.

Reuters use of blogging is constantly evolving and up-to-date guidance on how blogs are being used is available on the blogging wiki at http://wiki.ime.reuters.com/index.php/Blogging

Diaries

Headline tag: DIARY

Slug: XXX-YYY/ (DIARY)

Topic Code: DIARY

The Diaries Desk (now part of StreetEvents) assembles general, political, central bank and corporate diaries from both its own sources and also bureau diaries and Lynx NewsPlanner calendars into subject-matter diaries.

The Diaries desk manages the following diaries with the Named Item Codes listed below:

General/ political news events diaries: POL/DIARY, M/DIARY, EMRG/DIARY, D/DIARY, KEY/DIARY, CEN/DIARY, CEN/EMRG, EURO/BIZ, EUR/DIARY, VOTE/DIARY

Corporate events diaries: WEU/EQUITY, GB/EQUITY, EURO/DJSTX, CH/EQUITY, CEE/EQUITY, EASTERN/SP, NSP500/WK, RESF/US, US/CCALLM, US/MEETM

All queries to Diaries Desk should be sent to diaries@thomsonreuters.com

Factbox

Headline Tag: FACTBOX

Slug: XXX-YYY/ZZZ (FACTBOX) As a sidebar to a trunk story or update series a FACTBOX will usually need a third slug or wild slug.

Topic Code: FBOX

A Factbox offers a way to present information clearly and comparatively. The format may vary according to the subject matter but the essential issue is that they should be short, written primarily in bullet point form and easy on the eye.

Basic general news background factboxes on people, countries and issues can normally run at a maximum of five key facts. Other factboxes, for example on a corporate boardroom battle or complex political procedure, may need to be done in a Q&A (Question and Answer) format.

Economic and financial news lends itself to a tabular format in the factbox, listing such issues as market capitalisation, interest rate progression and various comparatives.

A factbox does not have location in the dateline but begins e.g. May 6 (Reuters) –

The name of the person who compiled it and the location must be in the signoff line at the bottom

Chronology

See Timeline.

Headline Tag: CHRONOLOGY

Slug: XXX-YYY/ZZZ (TIMELINE)

Topic Code: TMLN

A Chronology is a form of TIMELINE listing in chronological order events related to a major news story. Keep entries to the essentials, usually no more than 10 key dates with a line or two on each. Customers want information they can use, not the history of the world. Start with the oldest information first.

A chronology does not carry a dateline but begins e.g. May 6 (Reuters) – The name of the person who compiled it and the location must be in the signoff line at the bottom of the item.

Q&A

Headline tag: FACTBOX or INTERVIEW

Slug: XXX-YYY/ZZZ (FACTBOX) or (INTERVIEW) Topic Code: FBOX or INTER

A Q&A format is a form of factbox used to explain complicated issues or used for interview transcripts. It is a means of highlighting our depth of understanding on newsworthy themes. Factbox format in question and answer style.

Scenario boxes

Headline tag: FACTBOX

Slug: XXX-YYYY/ZZZ (FACTBOX)

Topic Code: FBOX

A scenario format is a form of actbox used to throw a story forward by describing what our correspondents think are the possible outcomes of a crisis or situation. Where possible they should give some guidance on the probability of each scenario.

They are:

  • written in bullet points
  • can be bylined and datelined but do not need to be.

Example:

THAI-CRISIS/SCENARIO (FACTBOX) FACTBOX - Scenarios for how the Thai political crisis might unfold

BANGKOK, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters have been occupying Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s official compound since Aug. 26, vowing to remain until he and his elected government fall. Following are some scenarios for what might happen next:

Table

Headline Tag: TABLE

Slug: XXX-YYY/ (TABLE)

No story type topic code.

Tabular presentation after an Alert, whether of corporate results, economic indicators, bond issues or commodities data, is often the quickest way to supply a specialist market the key numbers it needs.

A text Newsbreak is often essential after the Table is filed when a story is particularly newsworthy as media clients usually don't get the table. The same applies to the automated BRIEF format, consisting of bullet points, often used by Company News teams to cover corporate earnings. Some Alerts of strictly specialist interest may be covered by a Table and not require textual treatment, i.e. not every Alert needs to be covered by a full text Newsbreak. Like all stories, the Table requires a slug.

The results of elections may also be filed as a Table either once at the end of the count or regularly updated throughout the count depending on how important the vote is.

Guidelines for Tables:

  • Clearly label tables. Use the TABLE headline tag.
  • In Lynx Editor, click on the Format tab in the header field and use the Add Table button.
  • In Lynx Editor, place the cursor where you want the table to go and click on the “Add Table” button. Format the table using the dialog box.
  • Organise Tables logically and neatly.
  • An opening paragraph may define the contents and can sometimes shift words out of the tabular section and avoid clutter e.g. “OPEC monthly oil output (in millions of barrels per day).”

Text

Headline tag: TEXT or TRANSCRIPT

Slug: XXX-YYY/ (TEXT)

Topic Code: TXT

Clients often want to read the text of a major announcement or speech. We should say in the lead paragraph whether it is a full or a partial text. Use TEXT (not FULL TEXT) as a headline tag.

If the original is in a language other than English, say so, and whether this is an official or Reuters translation.

Strong interviews of major importance may additionally be reported after the story has been written as a TEXT of Q&A excerpts. This item must repeat all the quotes, with questions, used in the main story and must also carry additional questions and answers, which may be edited. The questions and answers should be written in order.

Timeline

Headline Tag: TIMELINE or CHRONOLOGY

Slug: XXX-YYY/ (TIMELINE)

Topic Code: TMLN

A Timeline is a form of sidebar listing in chronological order events related to a major news story. Keep entries to the essentials, usually no more than 10 key dates with a line or two on each. Customers want information they can use, not the history of the world. Start with the oldest information first.

A timeline has no dateline and begins with the date e.g. May 6 (Reuters) –

The name of the person who compiled it and the location must be in the signoff line at the bottom of the item.

Top News summaries

Headline Tag: *TOP NEWS*

Topic Code: TOPNP

Top News pages are the “front page” for many of our desktop products such as Eikon, ThomsonOne. They are among the most retrieved items and offer a chance for us to highlight the main stories, help clients with navigation and promote other parts of the service.

Expert news judgment is required when choosing headlines and arranging the running order. Aim for no more than 12 stories.

All cross-references should work and take users to the intended instrument or directory. Stories must be carefully selected and categorised clearly and sensibly, usually with the most significant story first if not the latest. An Analysis section should be used. Coding protocols must be observed.

Top News Pages and Glances are usually compiled using Lynx Packager software.

Poll (Polling)

Headline tag: POLL

Slug: XXX-YYY (POLL)

Topic Code: RPOLL

Polling is a growth industry across the media, playing to the desire to know what others are thinking. Reuters polls are popular with our clients, helping to strengthen the Reuters brand. Only stories on Reuters polls should have the POLL tag and the word in brackets after the slug.

Every poll story we run is an exclusive. Reuters produces polls on a variety of subjects but often they cover financial market expectations. When we report that an economic indicator or a company result was above, below or in line with expectations, how do we know? As often as not it is because a Reuters poll established the consensus view beforehand.

Polls linked to a set event in the future - announcement of company results, publication of economic data, country election etc - should carry a PRE topic code as well as RPOLL. Polls on company earnings should take an EARNINGS POLL tag in the headline and in brackets after the slug.

How to poll:

  • Chose a subject. It can be short term, such as economic data due next week, or long term, such as where analysts expect a stock index to end the year. It does not have to be a pure numbers game. You could, for instance, ask analysts to rate the performance of your central bank governor or finance minister.
  • Set your questions. They must be clear, unambiguous and fair. Leading questions, aimed at getting a pre-ordained answer, have no place in Reuters polls.
  • Find respondents. Make sure they are bona fide, know what they’re talking about and are willing to take part.
  • Collect responses. This can be done by phone, e-mail or fax. You can usually get responses out of analysts relatively easily but polling decision makers or celebrities is much harder and time consuming.
  • Analyse the responses. Bring the numbers to life with stories. Get people to justify their forecasts or views. Establishing the consensus view, if there is one, should be the target. That can be done in many ways such as calculating a mean average or median forecast for next month’s inflation rate. The median, the middle forecast if you line them all up in a row, is usually preferable to the mean because it is generally less liable to distortion by forecasts which are way out of line. You should also publish the highest and lowest forecasts and the number of forecasts. Another option is the mode, which is the most frequently cited response. Microsoft Excel can calculate all this for you.
  • Don’t ignore the mavericks. This month’s minority view can become next month’s conventional wisdom. Watch out for changes in expectations; why do economists now expect an interest rate cut soon whereas last month they ruled one out?
  • Publish. Say when your poll was conducted as timing can influence views. Was your interest rate survey taken before or after the shock rise in inflation? The faster you publish, the less likely you’ll be overtaken by events. Run individual responses when possible as transparency is vital to the credibility of our polls.

If you need any help in conducting or covering polls, give the Polling Unit a call on + 44 20 7542 5223, or e-mail polling.unit@reuters.com

Covering other organisations’ polls:

Public opinion polls are often produced by reputable organisations with no axe to grind but care still needs to be taken in reporting them. Different pollsters use different methods yielding different results.

  • Beware of the spin doctors: A lobby group may commission a poll from a respected organisation but then present the results selectively to support its cause.
  • Voodoo polls: Beware of surveys in which participants select themselves such as in phone-in TV polls and Internet surveys. At best one side of an argument may feel more passionately about an issue than the other, meaning more of them take part. At worst, organised interest groups may rig the result.
  • Watch out for commercially-motivated polls. A survey showing that all men fear going bald by 40 may be sponsored by the makers of a miracle hair restorer. We need to beware against free plugs for the sponsors in such cases.

Wider Image Multimedia Packages

Wider Image multimedia packages are multi-media stories that highlight Reuters photography in various parts of the world.

Wider Image packages are published as multimedia stories on reuter.com at https://widerimage.reuters.com/ to showcase the work, and are also published on Eikon and to media media clients.

Wider Image packages combine photos and text. The text for a Wider Image package can take different forms, ranging from a traditional news feature to a first person narrative by the photographer, or a behind-the-scenes look at how the photo became the story.

THE PRODUCTION PROCESS

Wider Image stories are pitched to the Wider Image editors or a regional chief photographer.

Once approved, the photographer should alert text reporters to write the caption or photo essay. The photographer and reporter are responsible for adding an entry to newsplanner.

The photographer/reporter should then coordinate the Wider Image project with a multi-media editor or reuters.com editor.

When the text is ready for editing, the reporter/photographer should:

  • Contact a regional desk editor
  • Copy the desk editor on the relevant email chain with information on the package,
  • Provide an INTERNAL URL to the photos so the desk editor can see the photos and edit the text to accompany the photos.

Once the regional editing desk has finalized the text, it must be sent to the Wider Image editor for final approval.

The Wider Image editor will then provide the regional editing desk with a PUBLICATION URL for the Wider Image package to be added to the text

The Wider Image team aims to publish at 1100 GMT/ but because of the multistep process for creating these, the text should be filed to the desk the day before.

FORMATTING WIDER IMAGE STORIES IN LYNX EDITOR

Slug: XXX-YYY/ (PIX) Headline tag: WIDER IMAGE-Xxxxx

The WIDER IMAGE headline tag is programmed into Lynx Editor and will pop up when you type it in the headline tag field. That will also add PIX to the slug field in brackets, add the product codes G for Eikon and YDB for media clients to the Lynx header field and add MTPIX and PXP to the topic code field.

The PUBLICATION URL should be inserted in the text by the desk editor in the following three places:

  • Related Content tab in Lynx Editor
  • Bullet point at the top of the story: ( Photo essay at http://xxxxxxx )
  • At the end of the story, add: ( Click on http://xxxxxxx to see a related photo essay )

The regional editing desk then publishes the Wider Image package.

To get a link to the photo story, or if you have other questions about Wider Image projects, please email London-Widerimage-Editors

Graphic story

SLUG: XXXX-YYYY/ (GRAPHIC)

HEADLINE TAG: GRAPHIC

TOPIC CODE: MTGFX

A graphic story is a multimedia story built around a graphic, in the same way an extended photocaption or story supports a Wider Image photo essay.

Links to Reuters graphics or other internal URLs should be placed in the Related Content box, reached via Lynx Editor menu bar.

For guidance on insertion of in-line graphics on Eikon platform, please consult your regional editing desk.

Third party source document URLs meant to be visible to both Eikon and media clients can be inserted in the body of the text inside SINGLE ROUND BRACKETS (or PARENTHESES) as follows: ( http://xxxxxxxx )

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