New Writer – AP Style

Welcome to Mean Left Hook!

On this page, you will find everything you need to get started.

Important Requirements

To remain active Mean Left Hook writers must submit a minimum of three articles per week.

Your first submission must be received within one week of receiving your site login credentials or you will have to reapply. Your site login is only valid for five business days.

Getting Started — Steps for New Writers

Writing your first piece

Using the login credentials that were emailed to you, log into the site and write a post that covers a very recent (not older than two days) news, human interest, or political story. Here is a good example of what we’re looking for.

Make sure your story’s not already been covered by one of our writers by doing a search of the site via the WordPress search bar on the All Posts page.

Create a new post – click “Add New” at the top left of the All Posts page.

Choose one or two applicable categories for your posts.

Add four to six relevant tags.

Find a featured image that is NOT AP, Getty, or Reuters. You can usually use photos taken by news outlets such as local news networks, crediting the new site and photographer. You can find good image resources on our “Where To Find Images” guide. Be sure to credit in the image caption the site where the image was found. The image needs to be rectangular in shape and at least 900 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall and landscape format (instructions on how to resize an image are below).

The featured image and images inside the body of your article should not be larger than 1400 pixels wide. Please do NOT upload images larger than this and resize them in WordPress. Resize your images before uploading.

For more information about image size and specs, see our “Image Specs” guide (coming soon).

If you use a video, put the link to the video in the body of your post where you want the video to be. YouTube and Vimeo videos work best.

Fill out the Yoast SEO portion.

Your article should be fully complete, with links embedded, tags, categories, and Yoast SEO portion filled out.

All quotes or sourced verbiage should have correct citations. Quotes should use the Blockquote. 

Click “Submit” to put your article into pending.

Once your piece is edited and published, you’ll receive an email invitation to join Trello and Slack, applications that we use as a writer HQ. This process can take up to 48 hours, but is usually much faster. That email will contain a brief list of feedback on your first article. In the HQ group, we post story ideas, work with editors, etc…

All payment docs and other info is in the group.

Next steps

Review the rest of this page, especially the AP document.

Set up your author bio in the WordPress dashboard. Be sure to include your social media links if applicable. If you want your image to appear on your articles, the email you use in your bio should be an email that is attached to a Gravatar account (optional).

HR will have you complete new hire paperwork that is made available via Trello.

Extra Info: Creating a Post in WordPress

If you don’t know how to create a post in WordPress, there are many tutorials on YouTube. It’s not difficult. This short video will teach you the basics. We do not use the theme referenced, but creating a post in WordPress is the same across themes.

Resizing an Image

Your featured image needs to be rectangular in shape and at least 900 pixels wide by 500 pixels tall – landscape format. The featured image should not be larger than 1400 pixels wide.

There are several ways to resize an image. One of the most common is by using Microsoft Paint, which comes free with all PCs.

Acceptable Submissions for Mean Left Hook

Straight 2nd person news pieces that are less than two days old and have not already been covered on our site.

News pieces with your own perspective. The entire article can’t be about your own perspective, but we definitely want some of “you” in most articles.

Evergreen stuff that can be used over and over again.

Basic Guidelines for Submissions

Length

Most articles should be no less than 250 words, and up to about 600. Articles that are too lengthy generally aren’t popular on our site. Some articles may be appropriate for longer lengths, but we prefer you ask us about the topic first. We recommend your first submission be an article between 300-600 words with relevant links as needed.

A good example of what we’re looking for can be viewed here.

Formatting

Lots of bullets and lists, short paragraphs, and sub-headings (H2 only) where appropriate. Whenever possible, include a video right before your featured image credit at the bottom of the article.

Payment Information

Once your first submission has been accepted, you need to review the Mean Left Hook Payment Guide that will be provided to you in the Trello writer board, and follow the instructions. We pay $5 per article, with generous bonuses for large view numbers each month. We do not cap payment. Any month your article reaches a bonus level, you receive payment. These and more details will be provided once in Trello.

AP Style

To try to maintain style consistency, Mean Left Hook follows a style guide, which, when not specifically spelled out, defaults to the guidelines of Associated Press Style. Leadership staff have access to AP online and can research in the case of questions that aren’t answered here.

We practice some exceptions to the AP Style guidelines. Please note these and work them into your writing for Mean Left Hook.

  1. We use the Oxford Comma.

Example:

red, white, and blue (CORRECT)

red, white and blue (INCORRECT)

  1. Many words used in English are in a transition phase. This is why you see some words written differently. Examples are e-mail (email) and on-line (online). We are jumping ahead on this issue for consistency.

Example:

email (CORRECT)

e-mail (INCORRECT)

Example:

online (CORRECT)

on-line (INCORRECT)

Example:

website (CORRECT)

web site or Web site (INCORRECT)

Example:

homepage (CORRECT)

home page (AP Style)

3. Instead of APs sentence case for titles, capitalize all words in headlines, titles, and subheadings.

Other exceptions will be noted as they arise and can also be found in our Style Guide (coming soon).