This section of the writing news articles Web Skills module covers guidance and best practice about specific types of content used in news articles.

Style guidance

Pull quotes

When using a pull quote in your article, the idea is to entice people to read on, so place it higher than where the original quote appears.


The convention for subheadings on the news site is ‘heading 2’ on the drop down bar. Read more for further guidelines on using headlines.

Using dashes

There are three commonly-used dashes, which are distinguishable by their length:

  • The em dash: —
  • The en dash: –
  • The hyphen: -

The em dash should not be used.

You can create an en dash by holding down “Ctrl” and pressing the “minus” button in a Word document.

Read more for further guidance on uses of dashes in our style guide.

Media mentions writing convention

In the News editor, when adding in ‘Media mentions’ please note that the date and quotation marks around the entry will automatically be generated and therefore don’t need to be written.

Media mentions should therefore be written as follows:

Title of publication: Headline of article

For example, Tech Times: New Formula Can Predict Top Speed of Animals Including Dinosaurs, once published will appear as, 19 JULY: “Tech times: New Formula Can Predict Top Speed of Animals Including Dinosaurs”

Please also note, if you see ‘???’ in the middle of media mention text once published, this means there are unrecognised characters, such as dashes, quotation marks, apostrophes which have been copied and pasted from website or documents. Please go back into the editing view and re-enter the character within the editor (as opposed to copying and pasting from a website or word document). This should sort it out.

References to today / yesterday / last week  in summary paragraphs

In summary paragraphs at the top of a news story, it is no problem to have a time stamp when the story is brand new, for example: “Graduands will celebrate the end of their undergraduate degrees today”. However, once the day is passed, please go back in and edit the article to make it less timebound, for example: “Graduates celebrated the end of their undergraduate degrees at a ceremony in the Royal Albert Hall”.

Further, please try to avoid referring to the day in the summary paragraph (e.g. yesterday, last week, last month). This immediately makes the news story seem old, and that the reader has missed it. By all means, mention the date further down the article, but try to keep the summary paragraph as evergreen (i.e. not time bound) as possible.

Using social and multimedia in news

Images and video

Placement of images in news articles

Avoid placing a large image too close to the top of the article. Allow at least a few paragraphs before adding an image. Having images too close to the top makes the article appear crushed with imagery at the top, as there will already be the main image at the header of the article.

Crediting stock images

When using stock images taken from such providers as Shutterstock and iStock, please make sure to credit the image in the following format:

Image credit: Joe Photographo/

This credit should be placed at the very bottom of an article, with an en dash separating it from the main body text of the article. If you need to clarify which image is the stock one (i.e. if you have multiple images in the article), then please do so. For example:

Image credit (flower): Joe Photographo/

Video placement

If you have a strong video relating to the article – especially if this is a video which has been produced by Imperial – please place this at the top of the body content for the article. When published, this will appear directly underneath the summary.

If your article is a ‘video story’ (i.e. you have selected this from the story type option when uploading), the video will automatically be placed at the very top of the article, above the summary.When writing the story, think about which striking image you might want to use as the thumbnail on the video (i.e. all videos require a thumbnail when being uploaded to iMedia and YouTube).

Embedding Twitter and Instagram posts from other sources

You are welcome to embed any tweets or Instagram posts from our own channels directly into a news article (via the 'Insert/Embed content' function in the main body text editor). However, if you are posting content from a social media account which is not your own, it is important to contact the original poster – for example, via a tweet or direct message – to ask their permission first.

To get the embed code from a Tweet, click the downward arrow on the top right of a tweet (on the desktop browser of Twitter) and select 'Embed tweet' then copy the full code. On Instagram, click the ellipsis (...) on the bottom right of a post (also on the desktop version of Instagram), click 'Embed' and copy the whole code. Then insert as described in the previous paragraph.