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How To Information · 21st October 2006
Richard Trueman
Six Tips and Reasons Why I Love and Edit the Tideline!
from www.cortesisland.com editor

1.) Bottom Up: First you gotta understand the concept of the program. Its bottom up rather than top down content or information. Its not a catalogue put out by one person or organization that you can only browse. The Tideline is completely participatory. You’ve gotta trust your readers and educate them into user-creators. The Tideline makes this easy because the user just fills out a form and submits it. Once reviewed, their creations are instantly formatted into the right column and page and made to look pretty! My job as the chief editor is to review their creations and post them. Therefore: All that your read and see on the Tideline is created by the multifarious users and just managed by the chief editor, (bottom-up).

2.) Shared power: Members. Even though all readers can be the creators of the Tideline’s content, certain people can be trusted to post instantly without review (like you, the chief editor). They may be just interested in a particular Section or just be prolific writers and social people, but they are your “reporters” who can act as some of the mainstays or regulars of the Tideline. There really is nothing like posting instantly and seeing the Tideline take a new shape, and those Staff Members appreciate the shared power.

3.) Nurturing and Teaching: The Review Board. As chief editor, only you can check the Review Board and post the submissions. My habit is to check this at least 4 times a day so the user feels connected and that their creation is valued. I also have the motto that old news is no news. This only takes me a half an hour a day and many times, I will check it more. The Review Board is easy to use! Our policy is to make sure that all submissions are signed, not anonymous, that they have a valid email link and web page url, if entered. Of course it must meet our Content Policy of not overly personal or hurtful. (I take the time to rewrite certain sections and submit it back to sincere users who might cross that etiquette border, and ask them if they are willing to rewrite.)

4.) Different Strokes for Different Folks: The Pictures. I don’t know about you, but the pictures and graphics make the site interesting and colorful. The Tideline has pictures and graphics all over the place and instantly changeable and submitable. Sell a car without a picture? -No way! The Classifieds can have a small picture like the Newspaper, Buy & Sell. I particularly like the 5 pictures with comments as additions to an Article. The completely graphically oriented can submit their creations to the Picture Gallery. Even the Masthead can be pictured or designed by your users. A local painter contributes to ours as well as several photographers. And like the tide, these mastheads can change throughout the day.

5.) Free, Free, Free and Sponsors: One of the tips for success for the world wide web is “offer something free frequently and people will keep coming back”. The Tideline offers FREE in spades! Everything is free, -except voluntarily becoming a Sponsor. God love them, they pay the bills and a little more. I think of it like the White and Yellow Pages in a phone book; everyone gets a listing but those who want a little more presence, pay a little. Its an interesting balance. The free things, all the articles, pictures, and classifieds, bring people returning to the site and the Sponsors benefit. (In our Tideline, the sponsor is featured prominently, in rotation with other Sponsors, on the front page as a “Featured Sponsor”, has a graphic business card wedded to its text and is moved to a centre column on its respective business page listing, -and can sponsor a Special Section for added exposure.)

6.) Special Sections: Like every local newspaper, the Tideline has its special sections devoted to; Arts and Entertainment, Garden Talk, Regional Political News, Youth, and Transportation. Usually a Staff Member is in charge of these sections and their area provides a concentrated repository and record of specific events about our community. Although technically free to good Ideas, we try to get a sponsor for each Special Section. The nice thing is a group of sponsors can host a special section, such as the Arts Crafts and Galleries.