We are always on the lookout for news or feature tips; concise, complete descriptions of upcoming campus events; notification of important personnel or procedural changes in an organization; and other items of campus-wide interest.
Please know that we appreciate all suggestions whether or not we are able to publish them in print or online.
When preparing our slate of stories for Web and print, our most important consideration is the potential story’s primary audience. On the Columbia University Home Page, we try to feature Columbia University-related contents that are likely to appeal to a broad, international audience. In contrast, The Record is a publication that is intended primarily for faculty and staff.
Your story has a higher chance of being featured in one or several of these media if you prepare your submission with the following guidelines in mind:
- LENGTH. Keep it short. Feature articles whether for The Record or Web should not exceed 500 words. Many are shorter—for instance, we often publish photos with deep caps (a format where the story is essentially a long caption for a photograph) of 150–200 words. Most headlines are 6–8 words. Introductory paragraphs are 20–40 words.
- JOURNALISTIC STYLE. Make sure you use the inverted pyramid style (start with your conclusion, follow with the most important supporting information, and end by giving the background) and include the five “w”s: Who is/was involved? What is the nature of the story (a new scientific discovery, an award, etc.)? Where is the news/event taking place? When will/did the event take place? Why is the story newsworthy?
- AUDIENCE. Think about the likely audience: external to the University or internal? Students, alumni, faculty and/or staff? The Record’s audience is primarily internal: “news you can use” for faculty and staff. The audience for Columbia News, as well as links on the CU Home Page, includes many people who are external to the University community.
- ADJUSTMENTS FOR THE WEB. Include well-written links (no use of “click HERE”) and make contents scannable through techniques such as bulleting and bolding. See also: Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen’s Tips on Writing for the Web.
- APPROPRIATE USE OF MULTIMEDIA. Under limited circumstances and time permitting, we may consider featuring multimedia content that is related to your story. Please remember that producing digital media assets is very labor-intensive and time-consuming, and such assets are not easily re-purposed. Multimedia content must be produced according to the multimedia team's editorial interests and needs. All content proposals will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.