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Our mission is to make news.opensuse.org a place that is worth reading by openSUSE community and people interesting in openSUSE by informing them about what's going on and showing them how to engage with the project.
The news editor team takes care of two things: Quality of articles and scheduling of them. The editors will ensure the quality of articles with reviewing, editing, layouting. The scheduling is done such that we strive to have an equal distribution of articles over the week, so we plan to not have more than one article per day.
Of course we also work on getting more articles and news out, as well as spreading the news across the web.
If you want to publish something to get a wider audience of openSUSE users and even some press, news.opensuse.org is a great channel. The news team will help you, make sure what you get out is of good quality and scheduled at a good time. Some basics:
- planning: you REALLY need to give us time to schedule things. Contact us 3-4 days, preferably earlier, about what you're planning to do, so we can work out a time and date with you. Please don't pre-empt the announcement with a blog or mails - IF you use news.o.o, do it properly please. Don't mail us AFTER you released something, we won't write about it as it's no longer news. For BIG news and announcements like a new version of OBS, you have to let us know LONG in advance so we can actually decide when to release, see below.
- scheduling: news gets most attention on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Don't publish big news items on Friday or no weekends! Also, due to the loyalty of our audience and the limited attention span of the modern Homo Sapiens, try to spread big announcements out with at least a week but preferable a month between major announcements. This includes for example not doing big announcements during the 2 weeks after an openSUSE release. *Contact the team in advance to plan releases!*
- writing quality: don't worry. The team will help you. We mostly need a big-as-possible braindump of relevant stuff. It is easier to remove things than to make new 'facts' up ;-)
- What is relevant? Features and what is unique, special about your project/software; changes that impact users and/or other developers; in general, think about what excites YOU about what you do and note those things down!
- press: for really 'big' stuff we can send out a press announcement and a pre-announcement. We have quite a few journalists who follow our pre-announcements. By giving them the info about 24-48H BEFORE the release, they can prepare articles and you get a lot more attention. Note that the press on our list has agreed to not publish anything until the agreed time and date.
- other things: we'd like to have a screenshot from you - even if it just shows text on a console. Logo's are nice, too, if you don't have one, it would be nice if you could ask the artwork team to come up with something.
See below for an example marketing plan for a (big) release.
- Email email@example.com and inform the team about the announcement or article
- Remember, the article doesn't have to be perfect in any way when you send it to the editors - many of us like writing and have no problem turning notes into an actual article!!! Sending a braindump is just fine.
- You write the notes yourself as text and the news editors will put it up on news.opensuse.org. If you have access to news.opensuse.org, please add the first draft yourself and then tell the team and wait for the review before you publish.
- The team reviews and helps you schedule the article or announcement
- If we have an announcement, we have to determine how important it is and make a *communication plan*. Big things need to go out coordinated on all channels. Some of those have to be notified in advance as long as possible, most notably the official SUSE channels and our own press channel. Often, coordination on day zero takes place on the news team ML and IRC but discussion about what channels to use, when to release etc on the public marketing ML.
Example communication plan
The following plan is for 'all-out' announcements like the openSUSE release. Other releases requires a simplification of this plan.
- We decide on the release date AT LEAST two weeks before the release. Big things to usually on Tuesday or Wednesday at 12:00 UTC
- NOTE about scheduling: We SPREAD OUT news. For example, no big announcements within 2 weeks before or after an openSUSE release! Only related news goes out to give extra attention to the release. This maximizes our total exposure.
- We get the articles for news.o.o ready by T-7
- We get a press announce ready by T-7
- we prepare a press kit by T-7
- Contents: announcement, link to article preview, review guide, screenshots, quotes, background information on the project, anything else that helps writing about release. Example press kit: OBS 2.4 in github
- We contact the press INDIVIDUALLY on T-3 (T-7 for oS releases) about the upcoming release. We offer interviews in case they are interested.
- We provide them with the press kit
- We contact our translators on T-5 for translation
- We create social media messages on T-3 and share with marketing team/ambassadors the plan
- We write a 'community announcement' to be send to -project, -factory and -buildservice on T-2
- On T, we publish and send the mails, and do the Social Media dance. The team behind the announcement has to monitor news.o.o comments section for questions/feedback and be available for press interviews.
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How to join
Just talk to us individually or send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Workflow of the team
Scheduling and managing articles
When anybody starts working on an article, either through request from someone (who send you his/her article to be published), mail the email@example.com mailing list to let the rest know. The goal is to let at most 1 article per day go live!
on top of the article, write down the todo and scheduling info. For example:
- need review from native speaker
- need to add images (requested from submitter)
- can go live anytime (normal article)
- must go live on 14/12/2011 in the morning (announcement)
With this TODO and scheduling info IN the article itself, article management is easy: just look at the list of drafts and see what the status is of each.
Some (writing) tips for the articles themselves:
- Some graphics with an article are highly recommended but not mandatory!
- Divide articles in sections with headlines. It makes the text look lighter and easier to follow!
- Remember: writing is not something you can or can't do, it simply takes experience and exercise. Also, nobody can make an article perfect the first round. Review is always needed and will almost always improve things, especially if done by a native speaker.
Getting the word out
We should also inform journalists before an important article goes live about something and involve the marketing team to spread the word as well.
Checklist for reviewing an article
- Spellchecker (US English)
- screenshots or an image
- accessibility of screenshot/image: describe the image literally or describe the intent of the image in the "alternate text" field when you insert it!
- don't forget the categories!
- proper attribution: put a thank-you on the bottom to thank everyone who helped write it.
- Is this an important announcement and should we inform some journalists before?
- Is this an important announcement and should we involve SUSE PR on it with a SUSE press release or a post on www.SUSE.com/blog?
- Once the article is live, ping the people related to it or who send it in - in case of an ARM article, for example, the ARM team. Tell them that you expect them to keep an eye on the article and answer user questions and comments!
- News.o.o shares the interface with lizards.o.o, so most of the description about openSUSE:Lizards Lizards.opensuse.org applies.
Announcing Events in the Calendar
We have an event calendar with an iCal file on news.opensuse.org and all meetings should be in there.
If you add an appointment for a meeting then do not create a new post but just add the dates to an existing one.
If you need to announce a meeting to a wider public than the people that use the iCal file in their calendar, for instance if its a very special meeting with a topic that might be of interest external (to the team that meets) people, then make a separate post that includes the pre-meeting tasks, agenda and other things that is not in the event calendar category so it comes up on the front page and the feed. For such a meeting you should also make an update to the post or a separate post with the results of the meeting.
To add a new event on news.opensuse.org, create a new blog post , enter the announcement and link to the wiki page and then scroll down the page to "Event Editor", press the "+" button and enter the start and end date of the meeting (it uses UTC as time). Once the blog post is published, it will show up only in the calendar. For adding another appointment for a meeting, just edit the blog post and add in the "Event Editor" another event and republish.
For details about meetings, see also the meetings portal.