Ballotpedia:WikiProject News

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Ballotpedia News
There are two main types of article you can write on Ballotpedia:
  • Basic encyclopedic articles that are the vast bulk of Ballotpedia's content, such as California Proposition 12 (2008).
  • News articles. These are generally short articles that feature and focus on news. They are not the type of article that gets updated and expanded on over time, since their main purpose is to introduce the reader to some news. As an example, see Will Bisphenol A go on the Prop 65 list?

This page explains how and when to write a news article.

Basics of news articles

Where do news articles go?

Articles in the news category use a MediaWiki feature called "DynamicPageList", or DPL.[1]

The DPL feature means that anytime you write a news article, adding the appropriate news category tags to the article as defined below, your news article will automatically appear on other pages on Ballotpedia.

For example, if you write a news article about something to do with California ballot news, and add the article to Category:California 2009 news, your news article will automatically appear in two places:

  • It will be featured as the most recent news article on the California page under the heading "California ballot news." (As soon as you or anyone else writes another news article about something else, the content on the California page will be bumped and the newest story will instead appear on the main California page.)
  • It will be featured on the California ballot news, which is a permanent record of any news articles anyone chooses to write on Ballotpedia about California ballot-news-related items.

When is a news article appropriate?

The decision as to when a news article is appropriate is a question of your best judgment. Different projects on Ballotpedia that cover news have different standards. As just one example, in Portal:Ballot measures, news writers standardly write a news story when:

  • Ballot language has been filed. (This merits a news article only some of the time. It depends on how serious the petition effort is likely to be.)
  • A petition drive has commenced.
  • Signatures have been turned in.
  • A legislative body has voted a measure onto the ballot.
  • Significant legal events regarding the ballot measure have occurred.
  • Vote and election round-ups.
  • Laws governing the initiative process have changed or been introduced (if introduced, depends on how serious).

Headline: what to name the article?

News article headlines should be attention grabbing, give readers an idea of what the article they are about to read may be about,

Headlines vary but here are some tips to get you started:

Keep in mind that there are exceptions and that some headlines may vary on a case-by-case basis.

For more tips:

Help in deciding

You can turn to the Assignment Desk for ideas on events that merit a breaking news story. Links to resources are (or might be) followed by the code {{bns}}, which indicates that in the judgment of whoever put the link there, it merits a breaking news story. If instead a resource is followed by {{exp}} or {{Start}}, the indication is that a permanent article should be started or expanded on.

Key components of your article

Writing guidelines
Ballot measures
State legislatures
State executives
Congressional districts
School Boards
Municipal Gov't
Criminal behavior & scandal
News articles

A complete breaking news story has these elements:

  • A descriptive title which normally incorporates a verb
  • A date header in the form ==='''[[BC2011#June|June 25, 2011]]'''===
  • A location stamp in the form: '''MONTCLAIR, [[New Jersey]]:'''
  • A 1-3 paragraph news article incorporating at least one footnote/citation.
  • If an article exists on Ballotpedia about the ballot measure the news item refers to, include a link to that article in a "See also" section in the news article.
  • The code you need to type for your footnote to materialize, which is ==References== followed on the next line by {{reflist}}
  • The BPNews template: {{bpnews}}
  • The state news template: {{State news}}
  • The template for the state your news is about. Examples: {{Arizona}}, {{Colorado}}.
  • Appropriate categories. At a miminum, this always includes the category for the news in the state from whence the news originates. That category is always typed as [[Category:Name of State 2009 news]].
  • This code: __NOEDITSECTION__
  • This code: __NOTOC__
  • On the article’s discussion tab, type the code for the state and the code for WikiProject News. Here's an example {{az}}{{wn}}

See the next section on "Code for news articles" for further elaboration.

Code for news articles

Use this code for your news stories


''By: [ Name]''


==See also==
* [[STATE 2011 ballot measures]]
* [[TOPIC ballot measures]]


{{state news}}
[[Category:STATE 2011 news]]
[[Category:MONTH 2011]]
[[Category:TOPIC news]]

Categories for articles


Any news article you write should always be placed in a category indicating its month and year; for example:

Category:December 2010
Category:January 2011

Front page news

To add a news article to the front page, add the following category:

Category:2011 front page news

State categories by year

Portal categories

In order to display news articles in portal news feeds, one or more of the following categories need to be added. Make sure to update the year accordingly:

Subject News category
State ballot measures Category:2012 ballot news
Local ballot measures Category:2012 local ballot news
State legislatures Category:State legislative news, 2012
State executives Category:State executive news, 2012
Recall Category:Recall news
Interstate compacts Category:Interstate compact news, 2012
Redistricting Category:Redistricting news, 2012

Ballot law

See also: Ballotpedia:Ballot measure law portal/News assignment desk

When a news article is about a lawsuit that concerns a particular ballot measure, it should go in:

Category:Ballot lawsuit news

When a news article is about legislation concerning the initiative process, that article should go in:

Category:Ballot measure legislation news

Note that if a news article is about a lawsuit that concerns legislation governing direct democracy, that article should go in both of the above two categories, that is, in:

Category:Ballot lawsuit news
Category:Ballot measure legislation news

Additionally, Ballotpedia has news categories for very specific legal issues. So, your news article might go in one (or both) of the above general categories, and it might also go in:

Category:Ballot title law news
Category:Signature law news
Category:Single subject law news

List of issue categories

See also: Category:Issue news

If you add one or more of the categories that appear below to your news article, your news article will automatically be added to the appropriate news page that collects news stories about that particular issue.

News templates

Assignment desks

See also: Category:Assignment desks

As of January 2011, there are 8 different news "assignment desks" in use on Ballotpedia; they are:

If you'd like to be a news writer on Ballotpedia, you can check out whichever assignment desk is of most interest to you.

You can also add the {{Assignment Desk}} template to your user page as in this example. This allows you to quickly access any of the Assignment Desks quickly and easily from your user page.

You can use the Asssignment Desk feature in these ways:

  • Add links to resources or news articles that can be used as the basis for starting a new article or adding content to an existing one. By adding the link, you might be:
  • Storing the link in a convenient place so you can find it the next time you are on Ballotpedia and have time to start that new article or add that content to an existing article.
  • Adding the link there in case someone else has time to incorporate its content into Ballotpedia.
  • You can also use the Assignment Desks to look for material in case you have some spare time to edit or start articles on Ballotpedia. The links there are a good indication of information that others thought would be valuable additions to Ballopedia's content.

Note: If you utilize the information in a link you find on one of the Assignment Desks to edit an existing article or start a new article, please delete the link from the relevant Assignment Desk. However, leave the section heading in place (such as "Maryland").

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