The Mainstreeter Style and Submission Guide

mainstreeter banner OCT 2020

 

 

Submission and Style Guide for Contributors

Thank you for contributing to The Mainstreeter. This guide suggests how to submit content, gives a bit of style advice, and ends with a spelling list for some commonly used words and phrases. It may just save you time. If this guide doesn’t answer your question(s), please feel free to contact the editor at editor@mainstreeter.ca.

INTRODUCTION

The Name of the Paper

When referring to our paper in your story, please call it The Mainstreeter (in italics). Refrain from calling the paper Mainstreeter. Example: Read all about it in the April issue of The Mainstreeter.

 Permissions

 Please obtain parental permission in writing (e.g. via email) before submitting stories about or photos of children (anyone under the age of 18).

GENERAL SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

 Formatting Your Story

Use only one font within a story, preferably Calibri or Minion Pro, if available, or Times New Roman, 11 point.

Use one space only after periods at the end of a sentence.

When beginning a new paragraph, skip a line and start the first sentence indented.

Please remove any hyperlinks from your story before you submit it to the editors.

 Naming and Saving Content Before Submission

When you name and save your article/story, please adopt the following naming protocol used by The Mainstreeter, with no spaces between periods: #A.MS.TXT.DEC2020.My favourite tree column.Susan Reed. Here is what each component of the naming protocol in the above example stands for:

#A. – This is the story number for your article – the editor will apply the correct # for the story after you submit it. For example, if it’s the 15th article submitted for that issue, it will be named 15A. The “A” distinguishes the article/story from photos and images which use “B”, “C”, “D,” etc., depending on the number of photos/images associated with your story.

  1. refers to your article as one sourced by The Mainstreeter, as distinct from some of our articles which are reprints from other publications.

TXT. – refers to the document being a story or an article, as opposed to a photo or an image, for which the designator IMG is used.

DEC2020. – refers to the issue of publication for which the article or photo is submitted, in this case the December 2020 issue. Other designators include FEB., APR., JUN., AUG., or OCT.

Susan Reed – the author or reporter who will receive the byline for the article/story.

Photos associated with the above article submitted by reporter Susan Reed would be saved as follows: #B.MS.IMG.DEC2020.My favourite tree column.JOE BROWN PHOTO and #C.MS.IMG.DEC2020.My favourite tree column.SARAH HAYES PHOTO, where the first photo was taken by Joe Brown and the second photo was taken by Sarah Hayes.

Note: To rename a photo, right-click on the photo and select Rename from the list of options.

If possible, provide the brightest, clearest, largest-sized photo(s) available in jpg format with resolution of 250 to 300 pixels per inch, original size.

Don’t spend too much time conjuring up a headline for your story before you submit it. Developing headlines for articles in The Mainstreeter is primarily the responsibility of the editor, and the headline that appears in the newspaper depends partly on how the story is laid out in the newspaper.

Submitting Your Content to the Editor

If possible, please send your story and the accompanying photo to editor@mainstreeter.ca as separate attachments to the same email.

When submitting an article and photo, please put a rough description of the story and the issue date in the subject line of your email. Example: My favourite tree column, December 2020 issue with photo(s).

If you submit more than one photo, please ensure that the editor can correctly distinguish which photo cutline or caption and which photo credit belongs to each photo. Use of the naming protocol for saving the photos or images is recommended, as follows:

Photo: #B.MS.IMG.DEC2020.My favourite tree column.JOE BROWN PHOTO: This majestic maple tree towers over the homes on Concord Street.; and

Photo #C.MS.IMG.DEC2020.My favourite tree column.SARAH HAYES PHOTO: Residents on Greenfield Avenue are rallying to save their beloved black walnut tree.

Whenever possible, please include, at the bottom of your story

  • contact info for fact-checking,
  • possible cutlines/captions for any photos submitted with the story, and
  • a credit for the photo, written as follows: JOHN SMITH PHOTO.

 ACRONYMS

 If you are mentioning the name of an organization more than once in your story, spell it out on the first mention, followed by the abbreviation or acronym in parentheses. At next mention, the abbreviated form can be used. Example: Community Activities Group (CAG).  If you are only mentioning the organization once, there is no need to include the acronym.

CANADIAN SPELLING

Please use Canadian spelling:

  • ce rather than se;
  • ze rather than se; and
  • our rather than or.

Examples: offence rather than offense, analyze rather than analyse, neighbour rather than neighbor.

CAPITALIZATION

Capitalization clutters up the text. Please use it sparingly.

Do not capitalize general terms such as church, city, city hall, government, school, ward. But do capitalize these words

  • when they stand in for a full title, AND
  • this capitalization contributes to clarity.

Example: The Old Ottawa East Community Association works with other community associations.

Example: The City of Ottawa maintains a park network, but There are many parks in this beautiful city.

Example: Ottawa City Hall is on Laurier Avenue, but They say you can’t fight city hall.

Example: The community association is holding its annual membership drive. (No need to capitalize this stand-in for the full name here because it is obvious what entity is being referred to.)

Capitalize religious and linguistic descriptions. Examples: Protestant, Catholic, Francophone, Anglophone, English, French, Spanish.

Capitalize titles when they precede the name. Examples: Mayor Jim Watson, Mayor Watson; Councillor Shawn Menard, Councillor Menard. Do not capitalize descriptions of roles when they are used generally. Examples: Three city councillors attended the Remembrance Day ceremony. One of them is running for mayor in the next election.

Note: Even with these guidelines, sometimes it is hard to know what to capitalize. When that is the case, just be consistent within your story.

ITALICS

Use italics for the titles of books, movies and works of art. Example: In his new novel, Burning Souls, author David Chernushenko explores social changes experienced as the result of climate change.

NAMES/POINT OF VIEW

 First reference to an individual in your article always uses the full name (e.g. Julie Smith); any references to that individual thereafter are to the last name only (e.g. Smith’s contribution to the orchestra has been considerable) or to the corresponding pronoun (e.g. her workload has been heavy).

Avoid use of first name only in your article, except when the individual is identified in another person’s quotes (e.g. “Julie has been a blessing to this orchestra!”). First names only are used when referring to a child in your story or in a photo cutline.

Throughout your story, try to use a mix of the individual’s last name and the associated pronoun (he, she or they), but avoid using the pronoun when several individuals have already been mentioned in your article and it is unclear to which of the several individuals you are referring.

Stick to third person perspective as much as possible, even if you are writing about your own organization. As noted above, first person point of view is used only for quotes taken from interviews. Example: Use The orchestra’s rehearsals were professional and conductor Julie Smith’s leadership was masterful. Do not use Our rehearsals were professional. We are lucky to have such a masterful conductor as Julie Smith.

NUMBERS

General

A general rule is to spell out numbers from zero to nine and use numerals for numbers 10 and over. Example: A minimum of nine participants is required for this Old Town Hall program. A maximum of 18 is allowed.

Of course, there are lots of exceptions to this general rule.

If a number over nine starts a sentence, it should be spelled out. Example: Nineteen people attended the meeting.

If you use a mix of numbers over and under nine in one sentence, either spell them all out or use numerals for all of them—your choice—within that single sentence. Example: The committee met three times over twelve months. Sustainable Living Ottawa East (SLOE) planted 5 red maples, 11 silver maples and 14 sugar maples.

Dates

Please use the simplest month-day-year (or month-day) format whenever possible. Example: October 19, 2020 not October 19th, 2020; May 20 not May 20th.

If you are mentioning only the month and year, a comma is unnecessary. Example: The rezoning was approved in June 2018.

Time of Day

Do not use o’clock, noon or midnight. Use numerals, even for numbers under 10. Example: The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Time of day can be expressed as 7 p.m. or as 7pm but be consistent and do not mix the styles within one article.

Money

Use figures for monetary amounts. Examples: $5 (not $5.00); $50; $1 million; a $4-million project. Example: He spent $0.50 at the drugstore.

PUNCTUATION

Hyphens

Hyphenate compound words that precede a noun, but do not hyphenate if they follow the noun. Example: The City offers by-the-hour rentals, but The City offers rentals by the hour.

Do not hyphenate the word preceding -ing words. Example: problem solving. But do hyphenate compounds like these when they are used as an adjective. Example: problem-solving skills; full-size gymnasium.

Use a hyphen in compound adjectives that begin with a number. Example: three-day event; 10-day project

Do not use a hyphen after an adverb ending in “ly.” Example: This is a privately funded project.

Hyphenate written-out fractions: Example: four-fifths of the voters; two-thirds of survey respondents

Periods

Use one space only after a period. When a quotation ends at the end of a sentence, put the period within the quotation marks. Example: A spokesperson for the group said that “there are a lot of moving parts.”

Quotation Marks and Quotations

Use quotation marks to enclose a direct quotation. For quotes within quotes, use single quotation marks. When you are quoting more than one person, put each person’s quote in a new paragraph to help quickly distinguish it from the just-quoted source.

Use quotation marks (not italics) around the titles of articles, poems, short stories, songs, short musical compositions, as well as television and radio programs.

Semicolons

Semicolons should be used sparingly, but in newspaper stories they are handy to set up a list.

Example: “The book tells the story of those who helped in this massive war effort: Canadian missionaries in China; Canadian government, military and medical workers; and the Chinese labourers themselves.”

WORD COUNT

Space in The Mainstreeter is always at a premium. When you are assigned a story by the editor, a suggested word count will also normally be provided to you. The most important principle is to “tell your story”, but the challenge is always to do so with an eye to your allotted word count. Leeway of plus or minus 50 words is always granted to our reporters. If your article runs longer than that, consider editing out materials that are least important to telling your story before you submit the story to the editors. If your story is shorter than your word count, consider adding content, usually an extra quote or two if possible. Shorter stories can be remedied by larger photos or images.

WORD USE

Ever wondered when to use “that” and when to use “which”? “That” is restrictive, and “which” is non-restrictive. Not helpful? Try this and after a while it will start to make sense: if you can put a comma before it in the sentence you are writing, the word you are looking for is “which.”

It is acceptable usage in The Mainstreeter to begin sentences with the words “And” or “But.”

SPELLING AND WORD TREATMENT LIST

A

Au Coeur d’Ottawa

B

Built Heritage Sub-Committee

Buy Nothing Project

by-election

bylaw

C

Canadian Martyrs Catholic Church

Capital Ward

catchment area

child care

Church of the Ascension

City council (specific)

city hall (general) / Ottawa City Hall (specific)

cleanup (noun), clean up (verb)

Community Activities Group (CAG)

Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE)

coordinator

The Corners on Main (TCOM)

coronavirus

cost-cutting

counselling

COVID-19

D

data (singular and plural)

daycare (n., adj.),

daycare centre

daytime

Deschâtelets building

des Oblats Avenue

downstream

downtime

downturn

E

en route

email

F

fall (season)

fiscal year

Flora Footbridge

fundraise (v.), fundraising

G

Gordon & McGovern Construction

Grand Allée

grassroots

Greystone Village

H

homebuyer

homeowner

Hydro Sub-Station 5

I

internet

J

K

keynote

kilometre (km)

Kings Landing

L

Lady Evelyn Alternative School

landowner

LeBreton Flats

licence (noun)

license (verb), licensed, licensee, licensing

lifelong

loophole

M

The Mainstreeter

Main Street Farmers’ Market

medium-sized (adj.)

meltdown

MindLight Counselling and Trauma Therapy Collective

Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO)

multi-party

multi-year

N

negotiation

neighbour

newcomer

night-time (but daytime)

nonconforming

nondescript

non-negotiable

non-partisan

non-profit

non-residential

notable

NU Grocery (NU)

O

Oblats Avenue

Old Ottawa East Community Association (OOECA)

the Old Town Hall

Ottawa City Hall

P

part-time (adj.),

part time (adv.)

pastime

paycheque

payoff (n.)

per capita

percent

policyholder

policy-maker,

policy-making

post-secondary

pre-election

privatization

privilege

proactive

province-wide

public servants

public service

Q

R

raindrop, rainfall

reassess

reappoint

reinvent

re-launch

relevant

relocate

reopen

reorganize

Rideau Canal

Rideau River Nature Trail

road map, road mapping

S

Sandy Hill Community Health Centre (SHCHC)

self-assessment

self-employed

self-regulating

self-governing

spring (season)

straightforward

straitjacket

streamline

subsector

substandard

subsystem

subtitle

summer (season)

supermarket

Sustainable Living Ottawa East (SLOE)

T

Telmon Street

Terra Firma

The Mainstreeter

time frame

timetable

toll free (adv.)

toll-free number (adj.)

U

uncooperative

under-funded

V

vaccinate

W

waste water

watchdog

wavelength

web

webmaster

web page

web server

website

weekday, weekend

well-being

well-established (no hyphen if used after a noun)

well-known (no hyphen if used after a noun)

winter (season)

workshop

worksite

X

Y

year-long (adj.)

year-round (adj.)

Z

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