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RTCP New Writer's Guide

RTCP New Writer's Guide

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Published by rethinkcollegepark
Guidance for prospective RTCP writers.
Guidance for prospective RTCP writers.

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Published by: rethinkcollegepark on Dec 19, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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New Writer’s Guide
Our mission is to help transform College Park into a great college town.We believe in full access to information, public dialogue, and the power of creative ideas.
 About The Project 
Rethink College Park (RTCP) was launched in July 2006 as a user-friendly website dedicatedto creating a focused and sustained open conversation about the future of College Park.
What We Do
We strive to post 1-2 short articles (or “posts”) each weekday and maintain a growing list of reference pages (the “library”) about development in College Park. In order to find newinformation and expand our readership we regularly attend community meetings andcommunicate with local leaders and stakeholders. We coordinate our activities throughgroup meetings and our email list.
Why We Do it
We believe researching, writing, and posting information is the best way to educate thecommunity and instigate change in the community. Writing is the most important activitywe do.
Impact and Accolades
 The site garners an average of 200 readers per day. Among the many issues we cover,these key areas represent where RTCP has had the most impact:
Student Housing – successfully advocated for the constructionof the MazzaGrandmarc Student Housing projectandan amendment to a state Impact Fee Waiverlawthat gives incentives for private student housing projects. This tireless advocacyfrom 2007 on set the local attention and debate to the issue of the serious lack of student housing in College Park.
 Transit – successfully brought the proposed Purple Line light rail projectto theforefront of public dialogue and debate in College Park.
East Campus – successfullyset the tone of the debate for the particularsof the EastCamps Redevelopment project.RTCP has been mentioned in the College Park Gazette (#1,#2, and#3), the Washington Post (#1and#2) and dozens of times in the Diamondback. The Diamondbackdescribed our effortsin January 2007 and Maryland Newslinepublished a profileof the website’s editors in December 2007. In 2008, Rethink College Park was named one of the web’s Top 10Planning, Design, and Development Websitesby the planning portal Planetizen.At the end of the 2006-2007 school year the Diamondback dubbed us a “winner” of theyear:“David Daddio and Rob Goodspeed have become major players in waking up areaofficials to what the area needs by ranting and raving on local development and
disaster. Their direct, prescient style has won them seats at the table in influencinglocal legislation and guiding local development toward a bold but insightfulcompletion.” The site’s editors were awarded the Graduate Student Government’s Presidential ServiceAward in May 2007 for their work advocating for the Mazza Grandmarc and other studenthousing projects.
Getting Started 
We ask each regular contributor write at least one post each month. Posts can be aboutanything related to the theme of a “great college town”. Topics we generally cover arehousing, transit, small businesses, bike trails, history, campus events, and more.Here is how to go about it:
 rethinkcollegepark@googlegroups.comand an editor will set you upwith an account and password to login and post to the site
1-3 paragraphs and find at least one image to include. To conductresearch check with other group members for leads, search the internet,Diamondback, College Park Gazette, City and County websites, and what we havewritten before on the topic. (see “Tone” section below)
into the system and upload the photo (see “Writing and Essentials” and“Wordpress Essentials” sections below)
back and watch the comments roll in!Other Stuff Rethink College Park has regular staff meetings where we discuss current events and siteoperations. We also sponsor aFacebook pageand attempt to organize one educationalevent each semester. New ideas are always encouraged!
Facts always win out over opinion!Knowledgeable
: Refer to credible sources, whether it’s a news article,book, research paper or person. Consult an expert. Give proper attribution toideas/images/quotes/facts that aren’t yours.
Focus on opportunities and solutions. Be constructive andthoughtful.
: Provide specific examples and case studies to explain an overallconcept. Be accurate, especially in regards to names, titles, dates,measurements and money. Suggest ways to get involved or learn more.
: Don’t assume your readers know everything. Explain the basics of 
who, what, where, why, when and how. But don’t get bogged down withdetails. Avoid jargon, clichés and big words.
: Be creative. Think of new and different angles to familiar stories. Beup-to-date.
Writing Essentials
Keep it short
Keep paragraphs short. Use bullet points.
If this is the first time you’vecontributed to our site, please limit your post to 500 words. Otherwise, tryto keep your posts to no more than 1,000 words.
Write a good headline
Readers should be able to tell what your post is about from the title. Trymake the title compelling and include a strong verb. Remember, less ismore – limit your title to 5-8 words.
Include an image
Each post must contain at least one main image. All images must beembedded from flickr - a popular photo sharing service which RTCP is amember of. Photos can be taken from:-our flickr account (flickr.com/photos/rethinkcollegepark)-your camera and uploaded to our flickr account. Ask us for thepassword.-flickr’s Creative Commons (searchflickr.com/search/advanced).
Give Background
Never assume the reader knows even the most basic information aboutthe topic. Always provide a brief history/explanation and link to relevantposts and library pages.
Add hyperlinks
By linking to related posts within our site or other sites/blogs, you referreaders to other useful information and also give credit to your sources.Always try to hyperlink names of people and organizations, related RTCPstories and library pages, videos, background information.
Search for related posts
Before your submit your post, search to see if similar stories have beenwritten on Rethink College Park and include links to the original articles.

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