Writing news stories

Useful guidelines on submitting news content

Try to answer as many of these key questions in your first sentence:

  • What is the story about?
  • Who is involved?
  • When did it take place?
  • Where did it take place?
  • Why is it significant?
  • How did things come about?

It's rarely possible to fit all these answers into your first sentence but it's useful to try - it's to give readers an immediate flavour of what the story's about.

It's useful to try and write in short and concise sentences. As a general rule, sentences should not be much longer then 25 words.

Avoid big paragraphs as it is not good web practice; users will avoid reading content this way. Break bigger paragraphs into smaller paragraphs, and aim to keep each paragraph to no more than two sentences.

Consider your audience – will they understand any scientific ‘jargon’ used? If possible, try to include information in laymen’s terms as well.

Keep all writing within the IOP’s style guide (PDF, 360 KB), and make sure each document has been checked thoroughly for spelling or grammatical errors. This is essential.

It is useful to have at least one image related to the news story. Please see the section ‘use of images’ for further information on sourcing images and the IOP’s policy on image use.

Branches/Groups/Divisions are advised to create and submit news content regularly, and avoid submitting several news stories on the same day. This ensures a steady stream of news throughout the year and will improve the user experience.

Please refer to the IOP’s news section for examples of writing good news stories.

last edited: December 17, 2014

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IOP website content policy

Important information regarding our policy for content on the IOP website