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Editorial, Style & Usage Guidelines

Here at dala.mn, we accept articles and calendar entries only from those contributors whom we’ve personally contacted. As one of these select few contributors, you’ve been granted a special privilege – we have given you the keys to the control room, so to speak. As such, we ask that you please read our editorial policies and content guidelines before submitting your first contribution

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. Assistance in using the site is also available; if you need help, just let us know.

 

By continuing to use your dala.mn contributor account, you acknowledge your understanding and acceptance of this page, and all contents herein.

 

Scope: Contributions should cover topics of local interest and be consistent with the purposes of dala.mn:

  • to promote friendly cooperation amongst members of the community and the organizations therein;
  • to inform both residents and visitors, as well as potential visitors, of what our area has to offer;
  • to encourage projects and activities of public benefit and interest;
  • to share timely pertinent information with our readers;
  • to offer a positive reflection on our area as a fine place to live and work;
  • to serve the public interest without interference from political or commercial activities

 

Features: The centerpiece of dala.mn is a comprehensive calendar, which will be populated with events and happenings from around the area. Examples include: art events, free movies/concerts, the farmers’ market, community celebrations (ie. “Corn on the Curb” in Ogilvie, happenings related to the Vasaloppet, etc), and other such events. Each calendar item will be associated with an article – be it brief or lengthy – which will offer further information on the event for those who are interested.

The site also includes space for a wide variety of articles and blog posts, of which we intend to publish several per week. Each article will feature one or more pictures, and will be written by one of our pre-approved contributors. Subjects we expect to feature include local sporting events and activities, offerings from public service organizations, updates from local artists, news from both Ogilvie and Mora school districts, posts from the Kanabec County Sheriff, gardening tips from the Kanabec County Master Gardeners, and historical features from the Kanabec History Center.

 

What To Submit: To provide the best experience for our readers, we require each article submitted to include:

  • a brief and unique title (different from past submissions), four words maximum, first word capitalized
  • 1-3 photos, non-copyrighted, in a standard web-friendly format (JPG/GIF/PNG), 1024×768 pixels or thereabouts;
  • your written content, preferably spellchecked and unformatted (variations in font, spacing, etc. are not supported; basic formatting options, such as bold/italic, justification, indentation, etc. may be applied using the site’s built-in editor)
  • though there is no set minimum/maximum, we suggest at least 500 but no more than 2000 words

Content submitted to dala.mn need not be created uniquely for our site, but it must not be copyrighted (unless you hold the copyright and provide the appropriate written permission, or can prove fair use applies), and may not have appeared in any other commercial publication or been run by any other media outlet. Please refrain from copying and pasting from other sites, unless it’s within the context of a quotation.

(Exception to the proceeding paragraph is granted for the News Roundup category exclusively, provided that: one, the post is created by a media outlet specifically authorized by dala.mn; and two, said post is created in a manner consistent with the format previously agreed upon by the media outlet and dala.mn)

At dala.mn, we do not require that articles submitted be exclusive to our site. However, in keeping with standard courtesy, we would expect that you won’t run the exact same content on some other site at the same time (other than on your organization’s website, your personal blog, or something similar).

We encourage the use of pictures taken by you or your organization. If you encounter a situation in which pictures from some other source or site must be used, be sure to provide proper credit. Since some sites tend to be less friendly about sharing than others, there may be cases where we cannot approve the use of certain externally-sourced pictures. (We’ll contact you if this should happen.)

 

Style: Our tone is very down-to-earth, and our style is meant to be relatable and comfortable for residents and visitors alike. We encourage you to read through some of our previously published articles, and get a feel for the style of writing we encourage here. You don’t need to duplicate our stylistics down to the last comma, but we do strive for a certain level of consistency among submissions. Our readers like it when everything fits together nicely – and we want your articles to fit with those which will come before and after it.

Don’t just deposit facts, tell a story! Our readers want to be engaged, to get a sense of both the ‘what’ and the ‘why’. Plus, transparency – giving the readers a peek ‘behind the curtain’, so to speak – is a powerful tool in generating support for your project or organization. Let the readers feel connected to you and your story, and watch as their support grows.

 

Guidelines: A few things to bear in mind:

  • Keep it positive. Everybody’s got gripes, but dala.mn generally isn’t the place to air them.
  • Keep it family friendly. No profanity or other inappropriate language will be permitted.
  • No press releases, please. See “Tell A Story”, above.
  • No pitches or advertising are permitted within submissions. You may identify businesses in a non-commercial context, but no comparative language, calls to action, etc. (A limited amount of paid sponsorships are available by contacting us, attn. Sustainability.)
  • Link reciprocity is required. If your submission includes a link to your site, your site must provide a link to dala.mn as well.
  • No links to, or copying-and-pasting from, the website of any media outlet will be permitted without prior approval. (If you’re trying to draw attention to a news story with local relevance, that’s one thing – but if you don’t have anything original to say, consider writing something new which brings a local angle to the topic.)
  • If you must criticize, stick to constructive criticism only. Expect any offensive or otherwise inflammatory content to be deleted without further consideration.
  • Beware of overreach. Feel free to speak on behalf of yourself, your organization, or whomever else you have permission to speak for – but please don’t speak on behalf of other contributors, or dala.mn itself, unless you have been given permission to do so.

Also, don’t forget – when referring to the site itself, the name should always be stylized as “dala.mn” (all lower case, with a period between the two parts). If you need to add emphasis, use bold or italic type rather than uppercase letters.

When spoken, the site’s name is pronounced “Dala dot M-N”. The word “Dala” may be pronounced with the first “a” being deep (more common) or sharp, depending on your preference. However, the letters “M” and “N” must always be spoken separately; saying “Dala dot min” or “Dala dot Minnesota” may confuse listeners.

 

Special Post Types: There are a few types of posts on dala.mn which require special handling. If you create one of these sorts of posts, be sure to follow the guidelines below:

Photo Of The Week. Generally handled by an editor. The photo must be at least 1140px wide; any smaller photo cannot be used as the Photo Of The Week. You will need both the original image, and a cropped version measuring exactly 1140x300px (which you’ll need to produce using Photoshop or your editor of choice).

Add a new post. Upload both images. Insert the original image into the body of the post, and write a short (or long?) explanation beneath it. Set the cropped image as the Featured Image. Set the post to be Sticky, and place it in the Photo Of The Week category. Once the post is published, edit last week’s Photo Of The Week post, remove the Sticky attribute, and click Update.

For the dala.mn Facebook page, be sure to change the cover image – choose “Change Cover”, then upload the original image and move it up/down to achieve a crop effect similar to that of the cropped image you made earlier. The profile picture should either be set to the Dala horse against a white background (default option – can be found among those already uploaded to Facebook), or you may download the original (Photoshop format) and use the Photo Of The Week to create a new background for the Dala horse. When saving your new profile picture, be sure to use Save For Web, and choose PNG-24 as the format (Facebook is known to over-compress incoming JPEGs, resulting in a grainy image when displayed).

 

Reader Comments: Some articles will be open for comments from readers. These comments will be reviewed by dala.mn editorial staff periodically. Comments which include language which is deemed disrespectful, profane, and/or offensive, or which are deemed to be “spam”, will be rejected. Contributors should not expect control over reader comments beyond this policy.

If commenters ask for further information or clarifications, feel free to respond by commenting below them. But if commenters are being critical, please don’t engage in an argument – in most cases it’s best to either respond and move on, or simply ignore the comment. (If you’re not sure what to do, contact us so we can assess the situation and attempt to provide some guidance.)

Some commenters may elect to participate anonymously. In most cases, we will have no way of knowing the actual identities of said commenters. We will make no effort to pursue or disclose said commenters’ identities unless we believe an imminent safety or security issue exists.

 

Content Ownership: Any content submitted to dala.mn by a volunteer contributor remains the property of its author (ie. you). By submitting content to dala.mn, you are granting us license to use it on our site, in any of our promotional materials, and in any of our other outlets (print, radio, video, social media, etc), as we see fit. We will not offer or otherwise intentionally furnish your content to any other site, or to any unrelated media organizations, without your permission.

The dala.mn site is subject to an overall copyright. This does not limit your ownership of any content you submit; it exists only to discourage other sites from plundering your work.

 

Editorial Review: All submissions will be reviewed by a dala.mn editor for factual and grammatical accuracy. Any errors/omissions will be corrected before posting. Minor corrections (ie. typos) will likely be made without notice. If non-trivial changes are required, we will attempt to contact you.

The editorial staff of dala.mn reserves the right to require changes to, or to reject, any submissions that are not consistent with the letter or spirit of the guidelines stated here.

 

Advertising: Since public service is one of the primary goals of dala.mn, we are not concerned with profits. But we are concerned with sustainability – in other words, we do need to pay the bills. That’s why we plan to offer a limited amount of paid sponsorship opportunities in the near future.

These opportunities will be made available only to local establishments, will be implemented in the least obtrusive manner possible, and will be designed to yield only as much revenue as is required to cover dala.mn’s ongoing expenses.

As with our contributors, dala.mn sponsors will be hand-picked – only those establishments that we believe are a good fit for dala.mn sponsorship will be considered; and once we’ve established enough agreements to cover the site’s expenses, no new business will be accepted until further notice.

More details about this sponsorship program will be released as we draw closer to the program’s launch. Inquiries can be directed to any dala.mn editor, attn. Sustainability.

 

Legalese: The administration, staff, and sponsors of dala.mn disclaim any responsibility for statements made and content submitted by contributors or commenters. Each submission reflects the views of its individual author, and is not necessarily compatible with the views of dala.mn administration, staff, sponsors, other commenters, and/or other contributors.

Though we hope never to have unresolvable differences with any contributor, dala.mn does reserve the final say on any and all decisions regarding the site.

Our acceptance of a contributor’s submission does not constitute endorsement of said individual or organization. A link from dala.mn to another site does not constitute endorsement of said site or any content it may offer, related or otherwise. External links are subject to change without notice; dala.mn claims no responsibility for changes in content on linked sites.

As a dala.mn contributor, you agree to hold harmless our administration, staff, sponsors, commenters, and other contributors; especially in the event of any action taken against you in relation to content you submitted to dala.mn.

You understand that your relationship with dala.mn is voluntary, and can be terminated by either you or us at any time without prior notice (though we’d like to know ahead of time if you plan to stop submitting content to us). This relationship will not result in your gaining any ownership or control over dala.mn, its administration, staff, sponsors, commenters, or other contributors. This relationship also does not permit you to bind, commit, or speak on behalf of dala.mn, its administration, staff, sponsors, commenters, or other contributors.

These policies are subject to change, and may be modified at any time. The most recent revision  – which will be made available through the site’s Dashboard (you’re reading it now) – shall be the only one which applies.