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Linux Format writer's template

Six-page news

Click here for the template in plain text

To give Linux Format readers a roundup of the most important FOSS news that has happened over the previous month all in one place, and add more analysis or detail than they might get online. Its purpose is /not/ to summarise a press release and leave it at that, nor to report corporate PR and present it as news. Please try to add reaction, analysis and colour where possible. Please try to avoid business jargon. Remember to check facts and unusual spellings or names. You should stick to classic news writing style and structure most of the time, but feel free to use a different intro from the 'who, what, where, why' style now and again and to add an 'LXF insider' style where appropriate.

Lead story: 500 words for a single page, plus an illustration, box, pull quote and thumbnail photo. Secondary stories: you'll need to write seven, or six when there's a half-page advertisement. If in doubt, write seven! The word count of a secondary story varies from 169 (for a very short story with a large photo) to 318. In LXF84, the total word count of six secondary stories came to 1,400 words. Average story length: 230 words. But this did include a very graphical story (about Blender), with lots of pictures. We could probably have fitted another story into the space that the Blender box and images took up. The word count for boxes is not included in the story word count (see Pictures And Boxes, below).
Coming Attractions: 160 words for three events plus a picture.
Embedded Linux News: 220 words plus a picture.
Newsbytes (news in brief): 225 words for one column plus a picture. Aim for 40 words per nib.

Please try to think in terms of pages and spreads when you order your stories. We put more interesting or important stories above less interesting or important stories on a page, and give them larger, heavier headlines. Having said that, our designer might have to reorder stories and boxes such as Coming Attractions to make everything fit in the section.


  • Please crop all images yourself before submitting them, unless you mark otherwise.
  • We will usually commission an illustration to accompany the lead news story. But it is good to use a secondary image, such as a thumbnail photograph of someone. If you cannot source one, please leave a design note.
  • Each secondary story should be sent with at least one image. If you absolutely cannot find an image to accompany a story, please leave a design note by the copy and we will source one. For example, in a story about the NHS migrating its IT system to Linux, the author did not find a specific image or photograph so we were able to use a generic hospital shot. We would rather do this than print, for example, a screengrab of a project's homepage, which does not tell the readers much.
  • Please also submit an image for Coming Attractions if you can (such as a photo of a city where an event is being held), though we will be able to source one here if necessary.
  • Images should be colour, and 250 DPI. Screengrabs are best sent in PNG format.
  • Please make it clear if any of the images you submit need to be credited to an individual or organisation.
  • Avoid grabs that have copyrighted images as your desktop wallpaper, or grabs that include images of your pets or children. Also avoid taking grabs of the Linux Format website.

Please also consider sending diagrams, fact boxes and other furniture to accompany stories. You should do this for at least one story per issue, and aim to always do it if possible for the lead story. A box will need about 50-75 words.


///TOP BAR///


This issue: [seven topics from the stories in the section eg SUSE, GParted, desktop standards etc]

///RED BIT///
A description of the area that the story falls in, such as Desktop or Linux Adoption

A mixture of straight and funny headlines is nice

A 10-word standfirst to the piece, supplementing the headline.
Note: please don't see this as your only opportunity to add comment! The story should have an interesting angle too.

Add copy

Use one in the lead story, or if secondary story is >4 paragraphs long.

///IMAGE/// yourfilename_number.png

///CAPTION/// Ten to 20 words long. We may have to lengthen or shorten your captions, depending on what size the designer uses the image.

///BOX/// [if using]
[Box should not need a standfirst]
///BOX COPY///
///END BOX///


Event title, xx-xx Month, Town/City, Country
Event copy
Event URL

///IMAGE (if submitted)///
10-12 words.

[add copy, probably three nibs]
10-12 words.

[aim for 40 words per nib]
///IMAGE (if submitted)///
10-12 words.

///END NEWS///

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