The Lansing Star Online is a Web-only newspaper.  If you are thinking of submitting an article to the Lansing Star please take a moment to review these brief guidelines (below).

What We Accept

newsboyWe DO accept articles and columns from volunteer writers, and press releases that are written in news story form.  The Lansing Star's beat is Lansing, NY including the Town and Village of Lansing, New York.  But we also cover Ithaca and Tompkins County, especially in our Business, Around Town, and Entertainment sections.  Please keep this in mind when submitting items to us. We will rarely feature an item as a story if it is not about local people, places, and organizations, or Tompkins County businesses, theaters, galleries, etc. 

If you think we are in Michigan, please do not submit!

We DO NOT accept announcements of events as stories
Please do not confuse news stories with announcements. We will not run announcements on our content pages (unless they are paid announcements -- see below).  However, if you are planning an event we do accept stories about it if written according to our guidelines. We prefer to cover events when they take place, but if there is a news-worthy story about the preparation of an event we may consider running it.  For instance you might send a piece on the creation of floats for a parade, or some other angle that would be interesting to readers.

We have reasonable advertising rates.  Click here for information.

STYLE GUIDELINES:

All Stories


See the other pages on this site for news article and press release writing hints.

General:
  • Stories must be a minimum of three or four short paragraphs.
  • Maximum size equals about two pages in Word, or about 20 short paragraphs.  *
  • All stories have a small square picture at the top or a business envelope-shaped 600 pixel wide picture at the top.  If possible send one that can be sized by us.

Pictures

cargill mine shop600Our two most common picture sizes at the top of each article are 120x120 pixel icon pictures and 600 pixel wide by variable height (the shape of a business envelope) JPG PNG or GIF images. Pictures in the body of articles are 600 pixels by whatever the height turns out to be, usually around 400 pixels high. We accept images right out of the camera, and we generally do size and edit most of the pictures submitted.

4thofjuly myers120We do prefer to run pictures with stories.  If possible please send a few.  DO NOT send pictures in a Word file -- DO send them as separate attachments to your emailDO send captions at the bottom of your article, either in a Word file or in your email.  Do NOT send us a link to a gallery.  Do NOT send more than three pictures without prior permission.  It is OK to send pictures right out of the camera, or cropped and edited.  We need all pictures to be a minimum of 600 pixels wide (height variable).  We will edit pictures for size. **

As online publications we do not have the space limitations print newspapers have.  However, if a story is too long and/or if paragraphs are too long people will lose interest.  Remember, start each story with a strong lead paragraph, and answer who, what, where, when, and how.  Don't put in 'too much information.'

** You must be the photographer or copyright owner of pictures you send for publication.  We accept pictures in JPG, GIF, and PNG format.  We do not download pictures from links you send us.


News Stories


  • Tell about local people, places, organizations or events
  • Make the first paragraph the most interesting to draw readers to read the rest
  • Tell who, what, where, when, why and how
  • Readers love facts and figures and statistics.
  • Include a picture or two if you can
  • Avoid hype (don't use exclamation points!!!) and advertising language
  • When referring to people use their full name the first time, and then only use their last name.  Exceptions: use first names for children below teenage, and use first names if your story has two people that share a last name
  • Include quotations if you can.  Quotes give your story a face and lend credence to what you are reporting on.
  • When using quotation marks ONLY use double quotes ( " ) for actual quotations from people you are writing about.  Use single quotes ( ' ) for everything else, including quotations within quotations.  Examples:  Johnson said roller derby has the 'cool' factor.  "I love when they come around the curves," he said.  "When they do people say 'Woah!' and start screaming."
  • Do not merely announce an event
  • Do not ask for a response from readers in a news story
  • Do not "speak" to people you are reporting on. For example do not thank people or offer congratulations.  Don't tell them to come to an event.
  • Write in the third person. DO: "The team clobbered the competition." DON'T: "We killed them in the 9th inning."
  • Don't use ALL CAPS in any words except acronyms (like TCCOG).  And when using acronyms spell out the full title with the acronym after it in parentheses.  Example: 'Board of Education (BOE)'
  • Spell out numbers below 10 like one or seven.  Otherwise use numbers: 23, not 'twenty-three'.

Sports Stories

  • Say which sport it is
  • Always include the game score and the season score.
  • Spell out numbers below 10 (except in scores).  Otherwise use numbers 23, not 'twenty-three'.
  • Use full words, not abbreviations.  Don't use @ for at
  • Don't ask the reader for something, and don't congratulate the team (DO: 'The next game is at home on June 29th'  DON'T: "Come support the team on June 29th'