CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Guidelines for Reports, Photos and Videos
WRITING A REPORT
Check out these simple instructions: How to Write a News Story
UPF.org spreads the news about UPF's national, regional and global work. We are eager to present chapter activities persuasively and professionally, so the following guidelines can be helpful in preparing your reports and feature articles for the benefit of the global readership of our website.
Writing for the web requires concision and economy. We are looking for articles of 500 to 1,500 words.
Lead: The first paragraph is the most important and provides the gateway for the reader. Try to be concrete. For example: “Margarita got a used sewing machine for her sixth birthday as part of a UPF program in Lima, Peru, on June 20” instead of “Child labor is a serious problem in Peru,” or “UPF sponsored a seminar in Lima on June 20 called Child Labor in Peru.”
News Report: The web site is the public face of UPF, and what might be important in an internal report might not be interesting and engaging for the general public. Remember to answer the question, “Why should the reader care?” People from all over the world visit upf.org, and we are looking for content that has potentially a broad interest and conveys concepts or insights that readers may be able to apply in their own work for peace. Remember to answer the basic questions: who? what? where? when? how? and especially why? Spell out abbreviations and use words that the general public can understand. Give the full name and position of people the first time you mention them in a report, and use a shorter version in later references.
Tell a story, not just a report: We welcome brief news reports, but when possible give some interesting background and details. Many NGOs report on their work by describing how their activity impacted a specific individual or family. For outstanding examples from Heifer International, click here.
Use quotes: Quotes not only add veracity to a report or feature article but also add rhythm, interest, and an important human element. Again, look for colorful quotes that add originality and insight. Most spoken quotes can be cleaned up to improve the grammar.
Provide context: If you are reporting from Kathmandu or Kampala, add a bit about the local culture and situation. To describe activities without any context suggests a disconnect from the local culture and its people. More than simply a report on activities, try to identify the issues that drive your work and give some background that will help people around the world understand the impact you want to create. For example, a report of a seminar in Cote d'Ivoire or Kenya about principles of peace and reconciliation can refer to contested presidential elections that led to months of fighting. Include some background about how the violence affected people in the area, two or three relevant points made by the speakers, and questions or comments by people in the audience.
TAKING PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
Like reports, the best photos are vivid, focused, properly exposed and enhance understanding of the topic. Intriguing photos encourage the viewer to read the text. The better the photos you send, the better we can promote your work.
Take shots that we can use vertically and shots that we can use horizontally.
Get close: The closer the better. Clutter causes distraction and loss of impact. Look at print media and the Internet and see for yourself what photos make the most impression. For example, a tight close-up of two people in animated conversation has more impact than a large group of people who aren't interacting with each other.
Be careful about permission: When photographing someone close up, you should ask permission. Individuals should know you are photographing for publication, especially as the web is accessible everywhere. Group scenes or generic street scenes of street life generally don’t require any permission.
Get far away: A panoramic photo of participants in an interesting setting can be very effective. Include photos that show the “big picture.”
Find unconventional perspectives. Take some photos from the ground level looking up, framed by trees or stone gateways, etc. If the emphasis is on people, choose an angle where the background does not have a lot of distracting details.
Be careful about lighting: Shadows obscuring the face is one of the most common mistakes. On the other hand, direct sunlight requires caution. Early morning and evening often provide the best lighting conditions. If you are getting shadows in the photos, use a flash if your camera has one, even in sunny conditions, to illuminate the subject. However, the flash on most cameras will not light up all the faces in a large indoor audience. Don't take indoor shots of people in front of a sunny window.
Take lots of photos: With a digital camera that’s easy. Then select the best, along with captions if they are not self-explanatory.
Get the beginning, middle, and end: In reporting on an activity, get a panoramic view of the area and then close-ups of people arriving and participating in the activity. As an organization working for peace between people of different cultures, races, and religions, the ideal photos show diverse people communicating with each other and working together. Also include photos of related activities, such as briefings, lectures, group discussions, meals, cultural programs and outings to local places of interest.
These are general photography guidelines. As with writing, the more you practice the more skilled you will become. We have great resources in our chapters around the world. Let’s inspire one another and the wider public with effective multimedia reports.
- We recommend creating a UPF-“chapter” account on google PICASA.com; it’s free (up to 1Gb/account)! You may continue using the same account to send all future photos.
- The resolution of the images should be 300 dots per inch. This means that if your picture is 72dpi and the actual width is 25cm (10 inches) your picture will PRINT MORE THAN 4 TIMES SMALLER, which would make it 6.25cm (2.5 inches): a thumbnail photo! So if the picture file is 72dpi you should divide its width by 4. The resulting number is the actual print width … much smaller than you thought!?! So keep that in mind when reducing the size of your images. Send your original-size image files to UPF.
- You may decide to embed photos in a PowerPoint or a Word document with a caption or description. This is acceptable as long as we receive the most interesting image files as separate / individual files as well as the .pptx and .docx files which accompany them.
- We understand that for some countries sending large, high quality files may be difficult; in this case please use a free file-transfer site or save your files to a hard-drive, a flash card, cds, dvds or blu-ray and MAIL TO:
Universal Peace Federation
200 White Plains Road, Floor 1
Tarrytown, NY 10591
Phone 1 914 631-1331
- We recommend creating a “UPF-chapter” account on YOUTUBE.com; it’s free! You may continue using the same account to send/share all future video clips.
- Widescreen (16:9) and full-HD videos are ideal; however, all videos will be considered for inclusion!
- Do not send videos with titles, graphics, voice-over, music, etc. We need to lay our own graphics, title, voice over and soundtracks.