Writing news


What is news?

  • News is new
  • Superlatives – the biggest, the fastest, the first, the latest
  • Something topical
  • The unusual
  • New research
  • A good picture or video
  • Something that affects a lot of people
  • Human interest
  • Stories of local/regional interest
  • Scandal and controversy – this needs to be carefully managed, so we recommend that you leave the central Media Team to handle stories of this nature

Who is your story for?

  • Your department website has a wide external audience so ensure your stories work for different types of people and aren’t too niche.
  • Make them as accessible as possible. This means explaining difficult concepts, not using jargon or acronyms that some people won't understand.
  • You can use the news to present your department as a vibrant and interesting place to prospective students. So make sure that all your news stories appeal to them and contain relevant onward signposting links to study information.
  • Although staff and students may read your department news, don’t run stories that only mean something to an internal audience.
  • If you get asked to publish a news story that feels of limited interest then don’t be afraid to say no and explain why it isn’t suitable.

What is the purpose of your news story?

Think about what you want people to do or think after reading your story and include links at the end it to help them do this. For example:

  • A story about your research could link to related research stories or your PGR pages.
  • A story about your course or department being rated number one in the UK could link to prospective student pages.
  • A story about an event could link to ticket information or photos/a report from a previous event.

Other things to remember

  • Think about the timing of your story. Don’t publish research ahead of any known publication date of the findings in a journal and don't be afraid to hold back on publishing something if it means will be more relevant when you do.
  • If the owner of a video on YouTube or an audio clip on Soundcloud or Audioboo has allowed embedding, then insert it on to your story instead of linking to it.
  • Promote any stories you publish via your social media accounts. Not just to ‘broadcast’, but also to stimulate discussion with your followers about the topics raised.
  • Don’t let your news section become a dumping ground for content. Your most powerful and compelling stories should be woven into other important areas of your website, eg prospective students, research. Find out how to embed news links throughout your website.
  • If you need specialist media advice then the Media Team can help.

The news page type is flexible

  • You could use it as a simple blog, although there is currently no comment functionality. Remember that an opinion piece could be taken as your department’s view so clearly label who is the author of these and use a disclaimer such as 'Views posted in comment articles are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the University of Sheffield.'
  • It can be used as a platform for stories around a specific subject, eg research. If so, make sure it is located in the appropriate place in your site structure and labelled clearly.

Get in touch

If you have CMS questions or are stuck then get in touch and we'll do our best to help.