News Stories & Unified Vision Guidelines


Positive news and activities/events involving our students and staff are important to share to ensure that all of our stakeholders are aware of the great achievements taking place at San Diego Unified.
 
District and school websites, social media (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) and the district’s e-newsletter, Unified Vision, are the primary channels the district uses to share news with our varied audiences.
 
How you submit news to the district for placement on the website, social media and in Unified Vision has not changed (see details below), but what has changed is when and where your story may appear. Here’s how the process may go.
  1. Post your story to the News section of your school website.
  2. Send us the photo and link to the story. That way, we can link to the story from the main district website or social media sites and push traffic to your school website.
  3. We’ll review the materials provided and determine the best outlet to share your news. Maybe you have a great story and photo that can be placed on the district website and social media sites, or you just have a great photo and little detail that would go great on Instagram.
We’ll make sure it goes to the best place for maximum impact. Stories for Unified Vision, which runs monthly, are selected by the Communications Department from stories that have been posted on the district website, social media and school websites. Keeping with the tradition of previous newsletters, Unified Vision includes school and district news, but has been designed to also include more feature stories and photos focused on student achievement and district initiatives, as well as information about upcoming events.
 
Please see below for additional details and guidelines for submitting news for placement on the website, social media and in Unified Vision.
 
Unified Vision: Unified Vision is the district’s monthly e-newsletter that is published the second Wednesday of every month by the Communications Department. It currently has more than 60,000 subscribers, including all district employees as well as parents, students, community members and business partners. Non-district subscribers can be added at any time by going to the Subscribe Now link in Unified Vision. Non-employee subscribers can also “Unsubscribe” at any time; district employees are automatically subscribed and cannot unsubscribe.
 
The items posted in Unified Vision are intended to provide district and school news and information that are relevant to both internal and external readers. (Employee-only items should be submitted for Newsline at communications@sandi.net.)
 

Guidelines for Submittals: To submit an item for placement on the district’s homepage, social media and in Unified Vision, departments and school sites should follow these guidelines:

  • Each item should be 150-300 words. Be sure to include a contact name, phone number and email address.

  • Keep information concise, accurate and clear to all. Remember the news-story requirements: who, what, when, where, why and how.

  • Avoid “eduspeak.”

  • Spell out acronyms.

  • Assume your audience is in the seventh grade and knows nothing about your subject.

  • Be sure to include all the who-what-where-why and how facts in your item. Please don't start your article with the date of the event. Give readers an interesting "hook" that will interest them in reading the article.

  • Please write the items in a journalistic-news style, using the “inverted pyramid.” The lead sentence should be a concise, interesting summary of the story that lists the most important information and will draw the reader into the rest of the item.

  • We use Associated Press (AP) style, which determines punctuation, some grammar and helps keep our writing consistent. Here's a good summary of AP style, but purchasing an AP Stylebook is recommended. Why use AP Style? It tells you, for example, whether "grey" or "gray" is correct. Read more»

  • Give us an interesting headline. As we also use Unified Vision items as the basis for the district’s Facebook and Twitter pages, the headline is an important hook for readers.

  • Yes, we like to say thanks to adults for their hard work in making an event happen, but the primary purpose of these news items is to inform the public, our families and our community on innovative ways our students are learning and preparing for tomorrow.

  • Remember, write to an audience with a fourth-grade ability, but please keep your writing professional, accurate and grammatically correct.

 

Students at Bell Middle School
Above, a good action photo. It tells a story about our kids. Below, please avoid "giant check" photos and lines of people smiling at the camera.
 Please, no giant checks.
 Please, no photos of groups of people staring at the camera.

Photos

  • Action photos are encouraged. Show our students learning.

  • Group shots where everyone is looking into the camera are discouraged. They're great keepsakes, but aren't appropriate for Friday Notes.

  • When submitting a photo, remember the optimum is a close-up shot with 2-3 people (watch for inappropriate gestures/facial expressions) in high resolution.

  • Photos eligible for the front of the district website must be horizontal and a minimum 960 x 390 pixels. The bottom one-third of the photo should have minimal importance as it will be covered by the headline and caption.

  • All students in photos must have a signed media release on file with the school. Make sure to identify and provide the names of individuals in a photo.

  • Please send us the original photo files; don't include them in a Microsoft Word document.

 

Do's and Don'ts

  • DO! Tell us about what our students did, what they learned, what makes this unique and interesting for our students!

  • DON'T just tell us about the place they visited or competition they participated in.

Submission

 

  • We are always accepting submittals. To be considered for an issue of Unified Vision, the item must be received one week prior to publication, which is the second Wednesday of every month.

  • Items should be emailed to lzintz@sandi.net and communications@sandi.net with Headlines/Unified Vision in the “Subject” line.

  • As items are received, they may begin appearing over the next 1-3 weeks on the front of the district website in the “Latest Headlines” section, in the “District News” section on the front of school websites or on social media.

Following the guidelines will better ensure that articles will be included. Final edits will be made by the Communications Department. Every effort is made to publish submitted items in the appropriate medium; however, some submitted items may not be published or may appear in limited fashion.

If you have questions or need additional information, please email Linda Zintz, director of communications, at lzintz@sandi.net.