OSNews Style Guide: How to Submit Articles to OSNews

IMPORTANT: The following guide is now too old. Please use the new guide instead.

Guide to the specifics and recommendations regarding submitting stories to OSNews. OSNews averages more than 275,000 page views per day (Oct 2005 statitstics), making it one of the main tech news sites online. Submissions to OSNews will gladly be accepted providing they comply with the following style.What to write

The categories of articles and stories that are commonly published are:

Feature articles
Tutorials and walkthroughs
Exploring a current news story
Introducing a new or noteworthy OS
Introducing a new or noteworthy technology
Opinion or editorial pieces
Software or OS development-oriented stories (these are highly needed)
Hardware reviews
OS or any other software reviews
Book reviews

Here are only a few article ideas that were posted in a recent discussion on the subject.

How to write

OSNews is written to be accessible to the average computer aficionado. Technological depth and jargon used in articles can therefore be more extensive than a newspaper or news magazine article, but especially esoteric jargon should be defined in parenthesis or a footnote glossary.

Ideally, articles should be easy to read and personal. Humor is always nice, and a little sarcasm can’t hurt. Photos or illustrations should be included whenever possible. Writing in the first person is usually appropriate, and an overly formal style is discouraged. However, try to be as objective as possible. If you really like or really dislike something, say it so, but make sure you justify your opinion as to why you like or dislike it.

Nevertheless, OSNews is not Usenet; Capitalization, punctuation, and good spelling are required. Please run your article through a spellchecker before submitting it to us, but if you are not a native English speaker, do not worry, we can do some proof reading for you. Acronyms like IMHO and ROTFL are generally not appropriate in articles (though in forum postings and letters to the editor they may be perfect). Some internet shortcuts have become so common or are so universally useful that they might be necessary under some circumstances, like the emoticon :-), but please use restraint. If you are reviewing an operating system, make sure you read this additional guideline too.

Articles should be a minimum of 5 KBs in file size. Generally, we are happy with anything above 5 KBs and there are no maximum file size restrictions.

The Format we need it in

Since OSNews is exclusively an internet-based publication, articles should be submitted in a manner that makes it easy to publish it on the web. Paragraphs should be separated by a space with the P tag. Links to outside resources or other articles should be included in HTML code. However, please do not semd your article in anything else but text files (.txt or .html). Write that very minimal HTML code when and if needed “by hand”, without the use of visual or automated tools that tend to completely destroy the format and the simplicity of the code (e.g. do NOT try to export as HTML from a word processor, or from Dreamweaver/Frontpage etc. – write it ‘by hand’ on a text editor). The only HTML 3.2 tags allowed to use are P, A HREF, B, I, BR, BLOCKQUOTE, CODE, PRE (and maybe TABLE tags if they are really needed). The rest of the copy should just be plain text. Do not use XHTML, CSS or other modern stuff that don’t render on older browsers. At OSNews we try to render on all operating systems, so do not use anything above HTML 3.2 tags (and these only when needed) on plain text.

And two tips along the way for maximum browser compatibility: Do not use
, but use
instead in order to get a new line. If you need a new paragraph, just use

, don’t use

because this doesn’t render as a new paragraph with some browsers.

Included photos or artwork should be included in .jpeg format with 20% compression rate (this is equal to “80% quality”), .png or .gif format, depending which format gives you the smallest filesize with a good quality ratio. Please make every effort to reduce the size of your images by reducing the color palette for .png and .gif or the compression rate when the .jpeg is used. The images should generally not be wider than 600 pixels, unless the image is a screen shot or other diagram that must be large to be legible. No reason to include thumbnails, we can do that for you. Images should be placed in the document with HTML code or just include them in the compressed archive that you will send to us, and we will then take care of them uploading them to our server and putting them together in the article.

Articles should be submitted in plain text format with no smart quotes, em dashes or other non-ascii characters and without weird linebreakes (for example, please make sure that your text wraps around like in this screenshot). If you would like to include a special character, please submit it in HTML/ascii code.

After you finish it writting it, please ZIP it to send it to us, do not just attach it to the email or just copy/paste it. Please compress it before you send it, even if the article is small. (This way, our email client won’t try to render your text/html file instead of offering it to us as an attachment, because when it does that it creates unwanted linebreaks. So please zip it! .zip, .tar.gz or .tgz are the formats we prefer)

Here is an article sample of how we would like the zipped text file to look like.


Full credit will be given to the author, so at the bottom of your article please write a 2-3 lines of information about yourself, so we can include it in the “About the Author” section of the article when it goes live (don’t include that information on the email you are going to send us, include it at the bottom of your article instead).

Finally, where do you send your masterpiece once it is ready? To [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit submissions for content and clarity and the right to publish or not publish your article. Articles submitted and published on OSNews are not to be re-published elsewhere, except maybe in translation cases to other languages (to be decided on case by case basis). You may freely re-publish your article elsewhere after a period of 30 days of the article being live on the OSNews web site (but please let us know during the article submission that you are intend to later re-publish your article elsewhere).