News Guide

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Do you like to write stories about BattleMaster? Do you want to make sure that everyone has access to your side of the story direct from you, and not as third-hand reports filtered through several different realms and guilds? Then publishing your own wiki-based BattleMaster newspaper may be the perfect thing for you!

Getting Started

The first thing you need to decide is "Should I start my own paper, or should I contribute stories to an existing paper?" There are advantages and disadvantages to both styles. Let's compare the two and see which one is best for you!

Before we do that, let's take time out for a word or two regarding wiki conventions regarding BattleMaster newspapers. Convention on the BattleMaster wiki with regard to newspapers is that you do not contribute or make major edits to a newspaper without getting the author's consent. Yes, this is a bit different than normal wiki convention. However, a newspaper, signed by the author, is the author's own words and their own opinion on events. Making changes to their articles is the equivalent to changing what they said. That's not very polite. So unless all you're doing is making minor corrections (typos, character names, region names, etc.) then please get permission from the author before you start posting articles. I have yet to see any newspaper editor who has objected to other people posting articles for their paper. In fact, most editors would be glad to have the help and a fresh view of events. Even so, please be courteous and ask before you dive in.


Contributing to an Existing Newspaper

Pro's:

  • A lot less work: You don't have to design your own paper!
  • There is probably an existing, established audience.
  • Other authors to bounce ideas off of, and help you work things out when you get stuck.
  • If one of many authors does not contribute for a while, the paper won't fold up and die.

Con's:

  • It's not your paper.
  • You don't get to control the look and feel of the paper, or control it's focus. (But maybe you can help expand the focus and take on new subjects/topics.)


Starting your Own Paper

Pro's:

  • It's your paper. You can do anything you want.
  • You get total control over the topic, style, subject matter, presentation, etc.
  • A great sense of accomplishment when it all comes together and becomes a successful paper.

Con's:

  • It can be a lot of work to get going.
  • You will most likely have to do everything yourself. Most newspaper are run by one person, who is generally the only person contributing stories and ideas. (There are two exceptions that I can think of off-hand: The Itorunt Informer and the Dwilight Daily. The Informer had many authors over it's lifespan, often with three or four writers contributing concurrently. It, too, eventually fell by the wayside when the final writer gave up. The Daily is a new newspaper that is attempting to implement the Atamaran Advocate's idea of a true continental newspaper where anyone can post stories.)
  • If you stop updating, the newspaper will probably die off.

Making the Decision

Whichever choice you make, it's not permanent. If you write a few articles for another paper, you can always branch off and start your own later. If you try to make your own and just can't get the hang of it, you can always give it up and join with an already existing paper and write for them. Or you can go both ways: Have one character start their won paper, and have a second character be an occasional contributor to another paper on a different island. Whichever way you choose, it's not permanent. If you go one way and don't feel that it's the right way, you can always back up and take the other route.

Contributing to an Existing Newspaper

The place to start here is to look and see if there is already a newspaper being published for the realm you are in. Take a look at Island News and check the island for which you are interested. Is there a paper already being published for your realm? If so, is it current and up-to-date, or was the last story posted six months ago? If it's current then your best bet is to contact the author of the paper using the newspaper's or the author's Discussion page, or via in-game message (if you can).

If the paper is several months out of date, then maybe you can take it over and start publishing it yourself. Just make sure you try and contact the author before taking over ownership of the newspaper. The author may be in a dry spell lately, or may have lost interest or even quit.

Starting Your Own Paper

If you're here then either you don't want to contribute to an existing paper, there is no existing paper in your area of interest, or you're a glutton for punishment. First off, it is not just as easy as putting the articles in the right spot and clicking 'submit'. There is a LOT of preparatory work that goes into creating your own wiki newspaper. The process of creating your own newspaper goes something like this:

  1. Choose your overall concept for what you want the paper to be. Will it cover news from a particular realm? Will it cover news from an entire island? Will it cover news about a specific topic? Most newspapers focus on a specific realm, and include some news from around the entire island, usually as it relates to their realm. Some newspapers will cover a specific topic regardless of where it occurs. Fox Talks, for example, tries to cover news from the various tournaments held on the island of Atamara. Some newspapers, like the Atamaran Advocate and the Dwilight Daily try to cover news for an entire island, utilizing writers from several different realms. There is also one newspaper, the Atamara Independent that has recently begun trying to cover all islands, but from a humorous OOC standpoint.
  2. Choose the style of writing that you will use for your paper. Will you try to be fair and equal in your coverage? Will you be an advocate for your realm, and cast it in as good a light as possible? Or will you be an outright propaganda outlet for your realm's agenda? All styles can be fun and have their own rewards.
  3. Frequency of Updates: Will you post news as it happens? Will you go for a more traditional once a week, or once every two weeks? Again, these are all valid styles. An as-it-happens style allows for more frequent posts. A weekly or monthly update schedule allows for more in-depth stories, and perhaps more content per update. One thing to keep in mind is to not try and keep to a too-ambitious update schedule. If you try and set a weekly schedule, but then can't keep it up, you may burn out quickly and lose interest. It's probably better to schedule things on a more relaxed schedule that you know you can keep. And don't forget, sometimes things are just slow in-game. There are times when not much is happening, and you may not have as much to write about.
  4. Newspaper Format. The specifics of how your newspaper looks can be either very simple, or very complex. It all depends on the look and feel you are trying to create. There are a couple ways to go about it:
  • You can use the pre-made, generic templates listed below. This should allow you to get your new paper going with a minimum amount of setup work. Your main challenge here will be figuring out how the templates work. A current paper that uses these quite well is the Lurian Weekly, a newspaper about the realm of Pian en Luries on Dwilight. The major disadvantage of this is that you will have a difficult time creating a distinctive visual flavor for your newspaper. A sample newspaper page using these templates can be found here.
  • You can copy an existing newspaper, with a few minor changes to things like color, logos, sizes, etc. This is a good way to get going quickly, while still having a somewhat distinctive visual style. (Make sure you give credit to original designer of the style you use.) The disadvantage of this is that you may not get the exact right look and feel you want. The advantage is that it's much easier to get a custom look this way than going completely from scratch.
  • You can completely design your own newspaper from the ground up. This is by far the most challenging approach to starting your own newspaper. It also happens to be the one that offers by far the greatest rewards and biggest sense of accomplishment. Make no mistake that this will take quite a bit of time and effort. You will most likely spend a lot of time fiddling with Templates, adjusting colors, creating graphics, tweaking spacings an colors, etc. But when you get it right, it can be quite impressive. Some of the newspapers that have done this are the Everguard Visionary and the Dwilight Daily.
  1. Write some articles. Now that you have the paper concept finished, the page designed, and everything ready to go, it's time to write! And write. And write. And write some more... Oh, and then do some more writing. Well, it's really not all that bad. But really, this is he whole reason you have the newspaper, isn't it? Here's a few tips to help you out:
  • For feature stories, pick topics that you find interesting. It's a lot easier to write several paragraphs about something you care about than something you don't.
  • Keep in the theme of your paper. In general, don't cross-post articles about events on other islands. If you want to write an article about Old Grehk, don't post it in an Atamaran newspaper. Send it to the one of the Beluaterra papers as a guest article.
  • You can use small items as filler material. Items which are not deserving of a full article can be posted as small items to keep things moving when there are no big stories to be reported on.
  • Try not to get dragged into mud-slinging contests. Sometimes when you post controversial stories, other newspapers may post their own stories about the same topic, but with a completely different conclusion or slant. If you are not careful you may end up in a journalistic flame-war with the other paper. These are never pretty.
  • I cannot say this often enough: Use a spell checker! Firefox has a built-in English spell checker. Other browsers might, depending on how good they are. Nothing is wrose than readding a good artile that has been destroyed because the author din't bohter to spell check it. (Annoying, isn't it?) And don't forget to re-read your articles after you write them. You can often find small inconsistencies, bad words, etc., on a quick re-read of your new article.
  • Use the Preview button. Please. Adjusting newspaper articles can quickly generate a lot of changes. If you're not careful you can fill up the Special:Recentchanges page where a lot of people go to see what's new on the wiki. Making 30 minor changes to your paper will quickly hide a lot of other recent changes and make it ore difficult for people to see what else is going on. And make sure you fill out the Summary field when posting an article. I like to use the headline for the new article I'm posting.

Pre-made Generic Templates used for News

This section provides details regarding the pre-made templates that were designed to be very generic in their application. They contain no realm- or island-specific information. They are designed so they can be used by anyone to create a well organized paper with a wide variety a article sizes and layouts to cover most situations. Since these article are used by several newspapers, you will have a hard time visually distinguishing your paper from others. But if you don't know how to make your own templates, and don't want to learn, then these could be just what you're looking for.

Major News

Major news templates are the ones for articles you would expect for a front cover of a newspaper. You can tell them apart because they have 'major' in the name of the template. Major templates divide the page into thirds, and each template deals with these columns in certain ways.

Minor News

Minor news templates deal with articles that are not as large or important as major articles. With minor news templates, the page is divided in different ways for each template.

Mixing and Matching Templates Together

Templates usually have an opposite so that the entire page is filled. For example, the Template:News_major_large_right will place that article on the right two-thirds of the page, and Template:News_major_small_left will fill the empty space on the left. It is possible, although not recommended, to mix and match minor and major templates together, as the minor left and right pages are based on 50% rather than 33% divisions, and may cause formatting errors. For example, it would be possible to make a page with a minor left and a small major right template side by side, as 50% + 33% = 83%, and would fit within the margins of the page (although there would be a large blank space down the middle). However, with a large major right template, the sum of the two would equal 116%, which will invariably cause formatting errors.

Templates need not line up 1:1. If you have a single long major article and two smaller major articles, you can use one template to put the long article on one side, then use the opposite template twice so the two smaller articles appear next to the major article, one underneath the other.

How to write a "Newspaper"

The templates above allow easy creation of "newspaper" pages, if used correctly. To put a page together, you use a number of the templates as shown above.

All the templates have various features. The header template allows you to organise the top of your newspaper, with headings, prices and issue numbers. The major and minor article templates are for determining specific positions within your page. These are further discussed below.

With templates, there are tags for where information should go. The purpose of the template is to allow you to provide this information, without having to mess around with formatting. For example, the section below:

{{Template:News_major_large_right|
title =Battle in Far East|
article =Today, there was a battle in a southern region of the Far East...
}}

Will give the effect shown on the right.

Battle in Far East
Today, there was a battle in a southern region of the Far East...

You use squiggly brackets to begin and end a template section. When in between the brackets, first you name what template you want to use (in the above case, this is Template:News_major_large_right). This is followed by a pipe. A pipe determines where each section ends. Following the template, you start providing the raw data. To find the tags that you need to use, you can click to the template directly and it will show you where the tags are and what they are called. In the above case, the title tag provides the title for the article and the article tag is the article itself. Notice there is no pipe at the end of the last piece of data - it goes straight back to brackets.

See Also