Region Group is a local news organisation. Our priority is local stories and people. Our readership is a broad slice of the local population so you should write with them in mind. We aim for smart, concise, connected writing that encourages wider conversations.
The optimum word length for an article is between 500 and 750 words. Google analytics tell us that 60% of readers access our content on their mobiles. Evidence says that readers don’t complete lengthy articles on their mobiles, especially if the subject is complex.
More than 750 words make your article much less likely to be read. Here’s a good summary of why brevity is best: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/defer-secondary-content-for-mobile/
If you continually submit articles that are well over the word length, it’s likely we won’t run them. Editing takes time that our staff could better spend on creating original content.
The same principle applies to video: aim for six minutes maximum, preferably three. Viewers won’t watch a long piece, while editing can diminish quality and take unnecessary time.
Lead with your strongest point and the general thrust of the article. It’s the first thing that will appear on screen and hook people into reading. Hyper-link to Region content where possible.
Work out what your central argument is: what’s the most important thing for people to know? How will you get them to pay attention? What real life examples or connections can you make? How necessary is each sentence? Does it repeat something you’ve already said?
If you’re writing about a specialist area, ask how accessible your content is for people without specific knowledge.
Where suitable on opinion pieces, ask a question that generates further discussion.
All articles must be published under the name of the contributor except by specific arrangement. In certain circumstances articles can, by arrangement, be published under the name of a business or organisation.
Fact check your work before submitting. Check names, titles and spelling. Be especially wary of things you presume you know.
Headlines should be direct, concise and active. Resist being too witty: readers can miss the point. Tagging articles with names, place names, event titles and keywords enhances filtering across the website and boosts reads.
Video interviewing tips:
Plan your interview ahead of time and make bullet points about the relevant issues. Structure the story: who, what, where, when, how etc… and take the viewer on a journey. Think about timing during the interview and shorten questions instead of relying on post editing. Live interviewing is a specific time management skill, beyond guest rapport or interest in the topic.
Articles should have a good quality high resolution photo, preferably landscape orientation beneath the title. Place other photos with several paragraphs of text between them. Captions should be informative and brief (check spelling and titles).
While generic shots can be unavoidable, recognisable photos of people and places are preferable. If the article is critical, be careful not to include unconnected people in the background. Photos should also be tagged if you include them in the Photo Library.
Remember to credit photos and seek permission for use where necessary. Images should be as high resolution as possible: anything below about 30KB will be grainy when loaded, although we can’t load photos above 20MB. Optimal size is 810px X 550px.
All contributions are subject to editing for length, expression and content. There are no exceptions to this rule. Feel free to contact the editor and discuss further, but Region retains the final say at all times over what appears on the site. Region also retains the right to schedule articles as we see best. If an article is time sensitive, you must give us a minimum of 24 hours’ notice to fit into our publishing schedule. We cannot guarantee when an article will appear.
Defamation law is evolving quickly in the digital sphere. Please remember that if you make a defamatory statement that’s published, Region Group will bear a legal responsibility because we are the “means of publication”.
Defamation is where a statement communicated to a third party causes injury to the reputation of the person about whom it’s made. Any comment that injures someone’s reputation can be defamatory, if it brings a person into contempt, disrepute or ridicule. To be defamatory, comments must be “heard” by a third party.
Avoiding defamation: The most important rule is to state the facts, not the conclusion. Let readers draw their own conclusions from established facts. Be sure that you have documents to back up statements that you make. Sometimes understatement – saying less than everything you believe to be true – is more effective than wide claims. If you are writing something that might be defamatory, seek a second opinion.
Anything before the courts may be sub judice, so check before you report.
As per the site terms and conditions, About Regional will not publish content that:
- infringes intellectual property rights or copyright
- is defamatory
- violates laws regarding harassment, discrimination, privacy or contempt
- is abusive or offensive, including obscenity, blasphemy and racial vilification
- is condescending
- promotes hatred of any kind
- attacks the writer not the argument
- is inflammatory or blatantly off-topic
- is intentionally false or misleading
- doesn’t make sense or is of nuisance value
- is inappropriate or vexatious
- could place the writer at risk.
We reserve the right to reject contributions on topics that have already been widely canvassed in the forum. We also reserve the right to reject contributions from participants who seek to dominate the discussion.
We will also not publish material that:
- compromises the privacy of our readers, contributors or staff
- contains inappropriate personal information or content
- seeks to endorse commercial products or activities or to solicit business (with the exception of sponsored content, which is published by arrangement and clearly marked as paid material – see more details below)
- deliberately provokes other community members.
Wherever a contributor has a current or prior relationship with the subject of an About Regional article or receives any form of patronage from them; this must be disclosed either in the content or at the conclusion of the article.
Contributor feature articles:
About Regional partners can commission news, opinion, or feature articles from our featured contributors as part of their partnership package. If the content is to be published as news, the sponsor cannot determine the content of the article and it must meet journalistic standards for news content.
About Regional partners can sometimes supply sponsored content articles as part of their partnership package. All sponsor-provided content must be posted from their organisation’s About Regional account and disclosed as sponsored content at the conclusion of the article.
Region Group is actively seeking strong, locally connected stories. If this sounds like your kind of writing, please contact Region to discuss contributing to our sites.