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Welcome to Off The Main Page! You’ll find on this page everything you need to get started.

Important Requirements

  1. To remain active writers, all Off The Main Page writers must submit a minimum of three articles per week.
  2. Your first submission must be received within one week of receiving your site login credentials or you will have to reapply. Your site login is only valid for five business days.

Getting Started — Steps for New Writers

Writing your first piece for Off The Main Page 

        1. Review our parent site’s Style Guide and refer back to it as needed.
        2. Using the login credentials that were emailed to you, log into the site and write an article covering a very recent (not older than a week) weird news story. Here is a good example of what we’re looking for.
        3. Make sure your story’s not already been covered by one of our writers by doing a quick Google search. In the screenshot below, replace liberalamerica.org with offthemainpage.com.
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      1. Create a new post. See instructional video below.
      2. Choose one or two applicable categories for your posts.
      3. Add six to eight relevant tags.
      4. Find a featured image that is NOT AP, Getty, or Reuters. You can usually use photos taken by news outlets such as local news networks, crediting the new site and photographer. You can find good image resources on this “Where To Find Images” guide. Be sure to credit in the image caption the site where the image was found.The image needs to be rectangular in shape and at least 640 pixels wide by 400 pixels tall (instructions on how to resize an image are below).The featured image and images inside the body of your article should not be larger than 750px wide. Please do NOT upload images larger than this and resize them in WordPress. Resize your images before uploading.

        For more information about image size and specs, see our “Image Specs” guide.

      5. If you use a video, put the link to the video in the body of your post where you want the video to be. YouTube videos work best.
      6. Your article should be fully complete, with links embedded, tags, and categories.
      7. All quotes or sourced verbiage should have correct citations.
      8. Click “Submit” to put your article into pending.
      9. Once your piece is edited and published, you’ll receive an email invitation to join our editorial platforms, Slack and Trello. That email will contain a brief list of feedback on your first article. In Trello, we post story ideas, work with editors, etc…Slack is for conversation and asking questions.

Next steps

      1. Review the rest of this page, especially the Style Guide on our parent site.
      2. Set up your author bio in the WordPress dashboard. Be sure to include your social media links if applicable. If you want your image to appear on your articles, the email you use in your bio should be an email that is attached to a Gravatar account (optional).
      3. Complete your HR paperwork. Your managing editor will tell you how to proceed.

Extra Info: Creating a Post in WordPress

If you don’t know how to create a post in WordPress, there are many tutorials on YouTube. It’s not difficult. This short video will teach you the basics. We do not use the theme referenced, but creating a post in WordPress is the same across themes.

Resizing an Image

Your featured image needs to be rectangular in shape and at least 640 pixels wide by 400 pixels tall. The featured image should not be larger than 750 pixels wide. For images inside your article, see our Image Specs guide.

There are several ways to resize an image. One of the most common is by using Microsoft Paint, which comes free with all PCs. You can find more image editing tools on our Image Editing Tools guide.

Basic Guidelines for Submissions

Length

Most articles should be no less than 300 words, and up to about 600-700. Articles that are too lengthy generally aren’t popular on our site. Some articles may be appropriate for longer lengths, but we prefer you ask us about the topic first. To get started at Off The Main Page, we recommend an article between 300-600 words with relevant links as needed. A good example of what we’re looking for can be viewed here.

Formatting

Lots of bullets and lists, short paragraphs, headers where appropriate. Whenever possible, include a video.

Payment Information

Once your first submission has been accepted, you need to review the Off The Main Page  Payment Guide that will be provided to you in the OTMP Trello and/or Slack accounts.

AP Style

To try to maintain style consistency, Off The Main Page  follows the guidelines of Associated Press Style. You can find more information on our parent site’s Style Guide. All writers should refer to this page when questions about usage arise. Leadership staff have access to AP online and can research in the case of questions that aren’t answered here.

We practice some exceptions to the AP Style guidelines. Please note these and work them into your writing for Off The Main Page .

1. We use the Oxford Comma.

Example:

red, white, and blue (CORRECT)

red, white and blue (INCORRECT)

2. Many words used in English are in a transition phase. This is why you see some words written differently. Examples are e-mail (email) and on-line (online). We are jumping ahead on this issue for consistency.

Example:

email (CORRECT)

e-mail (INCORRECT)

Example:

online (CORRECT)

on-line (INCORRECT)

Example:

website (CORRECT)

web site or Web site (INCORRECT)

Example:

homepage (CORRECT)

home page (AP Style)

Other exceptions will be noted as they arise and can also be found in our Style Guide.

Associated Press (AP) Style Guide – the basics by AbrahamRosh