Creating a news item
By Ed Mitchell 21st April 2010
Step by step guide to creating a news item in a workspace or community microsite
This is for transitioners using the ‘workspaces’ or ‘community microsites’ on the Transition Network platform. These are exactly the same thing functionally, except that the ‘workspaces’ are private groups for specific working groups who need privacy, and the ‘community microsites’ are public groups for TT initiatives. They are both bound by ‘membership’. One of the features of these spaces is that ‘members’ (ie people related to the group) can freely add their own news and events to them.
This item will show you how to add your own community news to these groups. It’s easy and quick, so get the tea on, brew up a brew, settle in and here we go.
A quick note about perfection, browsers and our expectations on the web
Editing an item online is like a word processing document, but as it’s on the web, it’s not as powerful or as reliable as a desktop word processor which is perfectly tuned to your computer. This is because you could be using any one of a hundred or more different combinations of operating system and internet browser, so it’s not possible to be perfect; please bear this in mind.
Two key points:
- Browsers: there are loads of browsers and we’re all using different ones. That’s fun. Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 is particularly tricky (you should hear what the transition technologists say about it, it turns the air blue I tell you) and we’ve found problems with this browser that are beyond our capability to resolve. The Transition Technologists recommend you upgrade to Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 or use our preferred and vastly superior open source option: Firefox).
- Pasting from Microsoft Word: if you absolutely have to paste tonnes of stuff from Microsoft Word, please use the ‘paste from Word’ button on the editing tool. Word is full of ghastly layout code which, unless you use the ‘paste from Word’ button, comes onto the page and makes it look awful.
Step by step guide
I am assuming that you are
- Logged in
- On the page of the group that you want to post a news item to
All this below was done with a normal user profile (test user1) who is a member of a public community microsite, and a private workspace.
1. Find ‘Create Community News’ option:
This is in the green group navigation on the left. In this screengrab you can see it below the group’s menu. Click on ‘Create Community News’:
2. Create the news item:
Add a ‘headline’ (title) and some tags. Tags are important as they help us all find information later. We try to keep the site information structure simple, but an item about a community herb garden run by nurses needs some classification beyond ‘Health’ and ‘Food’. So you might want to add ‘garden’, ‘nurse’, etc.
Choose a theme or two which it is related to (or none), and the other options as you please. Note that the headline becomes the ‘URL’ (the web address), so the shorter and more explanatory the headline is, the better. You will notice a ‘groups’ link just above the body editor; you can ignore this unless you are in lots of groups (very unlikely).
If you are in lots of groups, you can select which group to add the news item to.
3. Edit the body text and subscriptions:
Pretty self-explanatory really. Please note my earlier note about browsers, and remember to save your work if it’s a biggie. We recommend you write your item on your computer then add it. Looking below the body text, you will see some more options. Ignore the ‘Disable rich-text’ unless you are an old school .txt fanatic.
Just below the body editing field is the ‘subscriptions’ option. If you click on the word, it will open up to show your options.
The general site settings are that the author of an item (that’s you) will receive email alerts if there are any changes to the item. This means that if someone comments on the item you will receive an email with that comment in it. Handy, eh? We’ll be making much more use of this functionality in the future, but one thing at a time…
Have a look in the subscriptions, here you will see that you are instantly subscribed to receive alerts to this item – the box is checked. You can also subscribe to all posts by this user. But in this instance, this user is you, so you don’t need to worry about that for now. As you get more familiar with the site, you will see that you can start to subscribe to different users, which is pretty handy.
Once you’ve worked that out, click ‘save’ or ‘preview’. ‘Save’ instantly saves the item, ‘Preview’ lets you preview it first. I’m too impatient to preview, and usually edit items after I’ve saved them anyway, but that’s because I’m that type of person. More careful people will preview first. Up to you… Either way, you will always be able to edit this item later.
Then click Save
4. It’s published – see the confirmation message:
So you’ve saved it, you will then be taken to a screen showing the item in its natural habitat and a little box with some system information. That’s good – that’s what I wanted. You can see the ‘breadcrumbs’ above the item (just below the green line) – these show where the items lives in the system. These are all links.
5. Where the news item appears:
Your news item will appear in a list of ‘Recent News’ on the homepage of your Community Microsite – you can see it in the screengrab below, listed.
If it is a Community Microsite item (ie not a private workspace item), it will also appear in the Community News listings. ‘Community news’ is the big aggregated list of all news from as many different Transition Initiatives as we can get. So it’s a bit hectic, but a reflection of what is going on (and editors can choose special items to make ‘front page news’).
If it is a Workspace item, it won’t appear anywhere but that workspace.
6. Done. That’s it. Finito, binito. Completo.
Time for a stretch and a breath of air, after all that computer stuff, perhaps?