What is the News and Press Center?
The News and Press Center micro site takes advantage of the power of workflows, automated commands within the pages which automate the approval process for all press release submittals. All press releases are submitted to PIO for review and then sent back to the user for final review before PIO publishes. Details of the workflow process are provided below.
What is the Deadline to Submit?
In order to be included in ALA News (Tuesday afternoon) and AL Direct (Wednesday afternoon) press releases must be submitted before noon on Monday.
Press releases submitted after noon on Monday will be published on the ALA website on Wednesday afternoon at the earliest. For exceptions for late-breaking news, please contact:
What's A Press Release?
A press release is an official statement issued to newspapers giving information on a particular matter. The process of posting that official statement is outlined on this page. Tips on Better Press Releases as well as AP Style Cheat sheet are available with staff login.
First, let's start with the end in mind and take a look at a sample of a completed press release. Features include the fact that you can include the actual contact information at the top of the release, even if it isn't the person that is entering the release. Images are arranged on the right sidebar and relevant links are included based on your Taxonomy and Press Release category choices behind the scenes.
Create a New Press Release
Step 1: Log in/Start a New Press Release
You can find the News and Press Center at http://www.ala.org/news. Login with STAFF credentials. The black and gray bars should appear. (you may need to refresh your screen). If you still don't see the bars, contact ITTS at x3273 or create a TrackIT!)
Select Add content at the upper left on the gray bar. If the only content type you have available on News & Press Center is the Press Release, it will open for you. If you have other permissions, select Press Release from the list of content types.
Step 2: Create the Content
Add the title of your release to the Title field.
Do not change the Status yet. When you are ready to send this to PIO for review, then you would update this radio button when you are ready.
Complete the Contact fields, please note the person who enters the press release is not necessarily the contact for the article, but you have that flexibility.
Add the main press release content to the Body field. If your release was written as an MS Word document, use the clipboard insertion tool to paste the text. You may want to enable SCAYT (spell check as you type), second from the right on the WYSIWYG editor. Use the video insertion tool to embed a video in your release. Do not add photos here, as PIO will remove them if you include them in the body of your press release. See step 11 for audio and photo additions.
After creating the content, be sure to select the unit owner of the content in the Include Press Release in Search Results Display drop-down. It is not a required field, but you need to complete this in order for the press release to appear in search results.
Step 3: Complete Page Settings
Add content to the Related Links field.
This field is optional. This content will display as a list of links in the right column, below the thumbnails of any pictures you upload to the press release.
ALA Metadata/Search Engine Optimization [SEO] fields.
ALA best practice requires that your unit be listed as the Author (except in cases where copyright is owned by an individual), and you are listed as the Editor. Use your unit's full title, and include the acronym in parentheses following it. Also add an SEO Title and Description. ALA best practices for these fields, as recommended by PIO, are to copy and paste the title and the first paragraph
Select the relevant unit and press release categories. This will enable the display of your published release on the ALA homepage and in your unit's RSS feed for display on your micro site or to be pushed to other resources. If additional press release categories are required, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
You need to select "Conference Services" in addition to your own unit in the "ALA Units" taxonomy.
Here's is Jan's explanation: "Under the taxonomy ALA Units, they need to be tagged with "Conference Services" because it's the RSS feed for this term that is pulled to Conference website. The other taxonomy, PR Category, has tags for both "Annual Conference" and "Midwinter Meeting" that are useful for grouping content within the News and Press Center, but these tags won't cause press releases to appear on Conference websites or in the Conference and Events section of the ALA website."
Upload images or audio files. Remember to add an alt tag for images, and a link to the transcript for audio files. These files will display in the right margin as clickable thumbnails.
Adjust the setting to turn off commenting. Comments are open by default.
Step 4: Approve PIO Review
- Scroll down and save. Your press release has not entered the PIO workflow yet. To return to your press release, go to Find Content. Your release will be at or near the top of the content list. You can also move to the My Releases tab.
- Choose the Edit link to open the file.
- Preview the release, which will not have its published layout, but you should click any links, check for typos, ensure that everything works the way it should. Are the days/dates for event announcements correct? Are everyone's names spelled correctly? Did you remember to add your unit' in the Taxonomies?
- Make any changes, and then, if the release is ready, go to the Status area, and check the radio button to Request PIO review.
- Optional: Add a message to PIO in the Publication Notes field.
- Scroll down to Save.
- Your press release has now entered the PIO workflow. You will receive an email message when PIO is ready for you to review any changes they have made.
- Click on the link in the message. (Those of you who were at early training sessions will be happy to hear that we fixed the bug. If you are logged in the link will take you directly to your file, in edit mode.
- If not, login, and then evaluate the release. PIO may have accepted the release as sent, or edits may have been made.
- Read any messages PIO reviewers might have left in the Publication Notes field.
- If you are ready to accept any PIO changes, switch Status to Unit sign off: PIO to publish if no changes needed. Use the Publication Notes field if you have any comments for PIO. If you do not want to accept the changes or need to make additional changes, switch the status back to Request PIO review.
- Scroll down to Save.
To Return to a Press Release Prior to Publication
Use the link in the message you received from PIO. You may also go to Find content and filter by unpublished press releases, or use the My Press Releases tab to locate your work. Comments can be managed here as well, check out tips and screenshots you will see when managing and moderating Comments.
Where to Locate Published Releases
Go to http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases to view published releases, which should also display on the ALA homepage and pull to your unit or site section's news feature tab if you have one installed on your homepage.
While press release authors do not have the rights to publish/unpublish, we believe we have managed to tweak the set up so that it is possible for you to make minor post-publication edits without having to resubmit through the workflow. We tested this successfully yesterday, but please let us know whether you find this to be the case.
During the Transition
Starting May 16, 2013, press release processing will return to the ALA News & Press Center. We're not expecting a difficult transition, as most unit communications officers are already familiar with the Drupal interface. However, for a 10 day period starting on or about May 7, all of your unit's press releases will have to be created on americanlibrariesmagazine.org and copied over into ala.org/news. We estimate this will only take about 5 minutes per release. If your unit issues 4 press releases per week, the total additional time required during the transition will be less than an hour. This duplication period ensures that when the switch is flipped, the ALA homepage and microsites with News tabs will have content available to site visitors.
Demonstrations & Hands-On Practice
The demonstration and practice sessions were held on May 7, with sessions for remote staff offered on May 8 and 9. Permissions were set in advance so that staff members can check that their access is working at the session.
Staff members who have been submitting their press releases as Word documents (a workflow that will no longer be supported) might require additional assistance. Please schedule a one-on-one with Pam Akins after attending the demo, if you feel that you would like to be walked through the process.
Microsite Display of Unit Press Releases
All press releases created on American Libraries Magazine since April 2010 have been migrated to the ALA News & Press Center. Jan Carmichael has added taxonomy tags to about a year's worth of press releases for each unit. Divisions, round tables, and other microsites have been provided with a new RSS feed that uses taxonomy tags to display press releases in a news feature tab on your site's homepage. If your unit has been displaying news using links back to the interim URL that made the press releases appear as if they were created on ala.org—for example: http://www.ala.org/news/pr?id=12905, you should be aware that those links will break. Contact Louise Gruenberg to discuss the plan for using the news feature tab to display your press releases, so that the change can be in place by May 16.
Although these feeds don’t have much content in them at the moment, they serve to show you what to expect: This is a unit display: http://www.ala.org/news/taxonomy/term/632 and this is the feed: http://www.ala.org/news/taxonomy/term/632/feed.
Accessing the Press Release Content Type
Permissions for this content type are set in iMIS upon the request of your manager at ALA. Your manager should enter a TrackIT! ticket to request access for you. This content type is not available to member-volunteers, who should draft their press releases and work with their staff liaisons to have them shepherded through the workflow.
Workflow is almost exactly the same as it was on americanlibrariesmagazine.org. A press release is submitted to PIO for review and then sent back to the user for final review before PIO publishes. There are two minor changes:
- Press releases are not automatically submitted to PIO when they're initially saved by communications personnel. Users must now to select the radio button Request PIO review to initiate the process and submit to PIO for review.
- Contact information fields must be filled in on each press release. This makes it possible to have different contact information displayed than that of the release's author, if that is desired. The system does remember your entries, so after you have populated the fields once, typing the first letter will get you the rest of your entry to select.