Style Sheet

Contents

Top Bar / Subtitle

Main Title / Headline

Graphic / Photo


Top Bar or Subtitle

This is the horizontal bar enclosing text at the top of a feature, and is also refered to as the subtitle. The subtitle appears in all capital letters, and should be as short as possible.

The text in the subtitle can take one of two forms:

1) LOCATION: ISSUE or SLOGAN

2) VERY SHORT DESCRIPTION

In option 1, LOCATION is linked to an appropriate local IMC if possible. Otherwise, location name is left unlinked. In this latter case, the geographical status should be as broad as possible while remaining functionally relevant to the coverage in the feature. With this in mind, regions/provinces, nations, or continents should take precedence over local place-names. Local names can then be included in the title.

In option 2, a very short and broad description of the general topic of the feature (e.g. GOVERNMENT REPRESSION CONTINUES or CORPORATE MEDIA ANALYSIS) is most appropriate, and should not exceed 3 to 4 words if at all possible.

A short subtitle is prefered due to the fact that longer titles force the pixel height of the top bar to double in size, and makes the text harder to read, and the feature less aesthetic.

A simple rule of thumb to consider as well is to not duplicate any words (place names, action verbs, etc.) between the title and the subtitle. A feature should convey as much information as possible in the little space available between the two descriptors.

Main Title or Headline

This is the text that appears immediately below the top bar, and oftentimes adjacent to the feature graphic. The main title appears in a larger font size in relation to other text, and will be the first text to be read by the audience.

The main title is generally somewhat longer in length than the subtitle, typically running anywhere from 4 to 8 words. This title should briefly describe or give an overview of the particulars of the feature. Location, identity of the actors, and actions of the actors in the covered issue or event are ideally included. All primary words (nouns, verbs, and adjectives) are capitalized in the title.

Location Name

This is the where of the story. While the subtitle appears often in a short slogan format, the main title should be a direct description of the featured coverage. If applicable, the main title should include a place name, which should be more specific than any location name in the subtitle. For example, if the subtitle includes the place name of a continent or nation, the main title should include the place name of a province/state or city. Likewise, if the subtitle includes a province/state, the main title would include a city/neighborhood/village. The general rule of thumb is that the location for the main title should be of greater specificity than that of the subtilte. This is of course dependent upon the particulars of the feature.

Identity of Actors

This is the who of the story. This description can be broad in terms of general identity (e.g. protestors, military, organizers) or specific in terms of direct identity (e.g. title-Secretary General or name-Kofi Annan). The actors (nouns) are also not necessarily persons; things like organizations (ranging from activist groups to corporations to political parties to multilateral institutions) are part of this category. One or two named actors is typically sufficient for a title. This is all, of course, entirely dependent on the specifics of the feature.

Actions of Actors

This is the what happenend of the story. This typically involves describing the actors with a verb relevant to the specifics of the feature. The description can range from direct to passive in format (e.g. blank repressed or blank repressing vs. blank repression), and can be in past, present, or future tense depending upon the specifics of the feature.

Other

Again, depending upon the specifics of the feature, the main title can potentially include other descriptors, which are typically adjectives adding to the specificity of the title. These usually connote degree (e.g., warm vs. hot) or amount (e.g., increasing vs. decreasing).

Again, a simple rule of thumb to consider as well is to not duplicate any words (place or actor names, action verbs, etc.) between the title and the subtitle. A feature should convey as much information as possible in the little space available between the two descriptors.

Graphic or Photo

The feature form for www-features has space for one graphic or photo. It is possible to add additional photos by encoding them in the html of the feature text, though at this time the short length of features makes this difficult.

Due to the limitations of the www-features form and format, photos/graphics should ideally fit several standards.

Size and Placement

All photos/graphics placed in the current form for www-features are displayed in an alternating left/right format on the browser screen. As a new feature is added, the side (left or right) the photo/graphic appears on switches. As features are archived, the photos/graphics are all displayed on the left-hand side of the archive page.

The current set-up of the www.indymedia.org front page has a narrow, static left-hand column, a narrow, dominant dynamic right-hand column, and a wide, non-dominant dynamic center-column. What this means is that the width of the center column is decided by the width of the right hand column. At this point, the width of the column is generally established by the longest 'upcoming events' notices. It is also important to note the relationship between the title and the photo/graphic in the features form. The form places the photo/graphic and title directly adjacent to each other, and in a manner in which the width of the photo determines the placement of the title words. Thus, a wider photo will result in a more vertically formatted title, and if a word in the title is too long, the entire title will be shunted below the photo/graphic.

Thus, ideally the photo/graphic should be no more than 200 pixels wide. The height is less affected by the structure of the website, but anything over 250 pixels generally distorts feature format as well, as the features are generally short.

One exception to this is panoramic photos/graphics. In this case, the html address of the photo is not used in the form (and that space is left blank). Rather, the html is included at the top of the text portion of the feature, and should be center formatted. This means a
tag should immediately preceed the photo address, and a
tag should immediately follow it.

Location

Due to the non-permanent status of internet material, all photos/graphics should be published and used from an IMC newswire. It is preferable that the photo/graphic is published and used from the same central server that www-features are on in order to preserve archives in the case of closed or lost IMCs. Use the main IMC newswire in this case to publish photos intended for features.

Selection

Photos/graphics used for www-features should be ideally independently produced material in the same manner that www-features text content is independently produced.

Photos directly related to the coverage in the feature are the best option. Artwork is preferable as well. Logos from organizations (government, business, activist) should be used judiciously, and should pertain directly to the coverage of the feature. Photoshopped images should be used very judiciously, and should be obviously altered. Altered images intended to deceive the viewer as a depiction of reality should be avoided.
Topic revision: r3 - 12 Dec 2002, BreitBart
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