Photo Acquisition Tips

  • When contacting sources, ask for horizontal photos. Please let them know we will credit the photographer. Photo credit is required.

  • This site has tons of free images, many of which can be used without asking for permission – IF the photo is licensed under Creative Commons. Always check the license parameters

    • To see these photos, click “Advanced Search.” On the left side, click “any license” and switch to “all creative commons.”

      • Use Advanced Search to search for just horizontal photos

      • How to credit a Flickr photo:



  • Contact the city, CVB organizations or other local groups. Check Facebook and send a message asking if you can use a photo. Think outside the box!

  • Use your Google image search and see what comes up. If you find something great, you can trace the photo back to the website it's been posted on and (hopefully) find contact information for the photographer, and then ask permission to use the image.

  • Check Wikicommons. Photo usage rules and credit should be below the image. Credit using Flickr code.

Updated 8/21/17

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How to Enter and Attribute Photos

We have some new guidelines for adding photos to article body copy and featured photos, as we're continuing to update development of the new website. We expect this to be temporary as of 7/24/17 and will update the process once it's more permanent and easier.  

We have to have attribute, or byline, every photo – feature and article photos. These are placed in the "byline" field. If you obtain your photo from Flickr or another credible source, you must make sure we have permission to use it, and include a byline, license source and link to that photo, here's an example of  byline codes for licenses for article photos: 

2.0 License

<p>Courtesy of <a href="<a href="target="_blank">Ubi Desperare Nescio</a> under a <a href="" target="_blank"> CC 2.0 </a> license.</p>


4.0 License

<p>Courtesy of <a href="<a href="target="_blank">Ubi Desperare Nescio</a> under a <a href="" target="_blank"> CC 4.0 </a> license.</p>


You must add the entire line into the byline option for feature articles.


Featured Photos (Image): 


1. Add your feature photo the same way you always have, under image. Add the above code into the byline field. Only add one photo in this section, click edit to add byline.

For Article Body Photos: 

1. You must add the photo under files into the CMS first, instead of adding them right into the content. Add byline and copy the file name for use in embedding photo in article. Make sure you add photo only once. 





2. After adding photos to the CMS, go back to your article and make sure the body copy is in  Full HTML mode: 

3. Then change content view to: Source

4. Embed your photo by adding the file name to the code below. Make sure to include the byline code underneath the photo code.  


Photo code for article photos: <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="505" src="/sites/default/files/Midland - The Tridge.jpg" width=“762” /></p  

Byline: <p>Courtesy of <a href="" target="_blank">Justin Meissen</a> under a <a href="" target="_blank"> CC 2.0 </a> license.</p>


Staff/Acquired Photo from Chamber/CVB

<p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="505" src="/sites/default/files/Midland - The Tridge.jpg" width=“762” /></p  

Byline: Photo: Visit Florida


5. After you add the code - click Source again to see if code successfully added the photo into your article. 


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Livability Home Page/Topics Content's homepage includes general content featuring stories focused on livability principles and how these principles are making cities great places to live. Even when dealing with serious topics, we try to find a positive angle and highlight the successful strategies, etc.

These stories should include the provided key words and be entertaining, informative and socially-shareable. As much as possible, they should also be regional and appeal to all ages (i.e. no slang or city-specific references that readers from other locations won't understand).

Writers have broad latitude to secure their own sources where needed. The number of sources is up to the writer; please contact Becky Henson ( if you are unable to secure a source within 48 hours of the assignment.

In some cases, the writer may be asked to secure a photo(s) for the story. Please request/acquire horizontal photos only; high-quality JPEGs are preferred. If you ar unable to upload the photos yourself, email photos with the article name and photo credit information to Becky, and be sure to include a photo description. Contact Becky within five days if you're having trouble securing a photo.

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Using the Livability CMS

Process: Adding Article to the New CMS

 1. Go to

2. Enter username and password and click “Log in”

3. Go to:
    Your screen should look like this:



4. Enter your Title (Web Headline)

5. Enter your Print Headline if applicable

6. Make sure your name is selected under Author

7. Enter a Deck (this will show up on the website)

8. Enter a Short Description 

9. Enter your Body Copy:

  • Make sure Basic HTML is selected in the Text format box (at the bottom of the copy box), and paste your copy.
  • One by one, highlight each subhead and select “Heading 2” in the graphical editor at the top of the box (it will say “Normal” at first).


  • Add links – you'll highlight the word(s) you want to link to and select the link (when you hover over it, the word “link” will come up) in the graphical editor, then paste the URL. Open in a new window for offsite links by clicking the advanced tab:

10. Enter the Place name (City or State) – options will autofill, so make sure you select the right one)

11. Choose a Category


12. Fill out Internal Category with Draft-Initials

13. List any sources you used with phone numbers and/or email addresses

14. If you want to pull out interesting facts or info, you can enter them in the Highlights section (this is optional). After adding one highlight, click the “Add another item” button to create more highlights.

15. If you have a great quote in your story, you can enter it in the Quote box under Pull Quote. Also be sure to enter the Person and Title.

VERY IMPORTANT: Scroll back to the bottom and click SAVE

*After saving, it will look like your article has published – but it has not. To get back into it, click Edit.

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How to Post Feature Images to Stories

Here's a quick step-by-step on how to add a feature image to your story:

Step 1: Obtain from a source we can use.

Here's a guide on how to do that: Photo Acquisition Tips

Step 2: Size the image feature images are supposed to be 1050 x 505, which is a very hard size to get, and crop to. Thankfully, if you get just shrink it down to 1050 width, the height generally works in the range of 500-700. For example, this image of a researcher at MIT was originally 2048 x 1356.

I went in and adjusted the width to 1050, making sure the ratio was (this will ensure the height shrinks in proportion) and it brought it to 1050 x 695. AKA: Good to go.

Step 3: Add to the article

When you create a new article, you'll see the area on the right side where you can add the feature image. It's the box that says "Image." Click on the "browse" button within it.

This window will then appear:

Hit the "choose file" button, find the photo wherever you have it on your computer, then hit "Open." You'll now see the image sitting in that little box like this:

Then hit "Upload" and it'll start loading. Once it has loaded, it'll look like this:

Now, you hit the "Next" button. This screen will pop up:

Step 4: Entering in the alt text, title text and byline

Here's where the skill comes in. If you are doing an article related to a city (for example, "8 Reasons to Move to Jacksonville, NC"), your Alt Text and Title Text will be City, State for whatever that equates to in your article. For the Jacksonville, NC article mentioned about, your Alt Text and Title Text would both be: Jacksonville, NC. That's it. If the article were about Clementine, ND, it'd be: Clementine, ND.

Now, if you're doing a global article (something on senior living, college towns, moving trends, etc.) the Title Text and Alt Text will be key words from the headline. If your article was titled "Retirement Communities That Would Make Millennials Wish They Were 65," your Title Text & Alt Text would be "Retirement Communities." You're looking for the keywords and keyphrases for these. If you have questions on your specific story (because this is important), feel free to reach out to Alicia Johnson at She's our SEO guru.

The Byline box is where you enter, well, the photo's byline. This will vary depending on where you got it from. If you acquired the image from a source, such as the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, you'd simply write, "Courtesy of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce."

If, however, you acquired the image from a site like Flickr Creative Commons, you'll want to copy and paste this into the byline area after you've filled it out appropriately:

Courtesy of <a href="" target="_blank">Thomas Hawk</a> under a <a href="" target="_blank"> CC 4.0 </a> license.

Courtesy of <a href="link to photographers profile page on site" target="_blank">Name of Photographer</a> under a <a href="link to specific creative commons license number" target="_blank">Creative Commons License #</a> license.

In the case of our Cambridge image above, here's how to acquire the necessary info.

The photographers username here is Chris Devers (you'll notice on flickr that sometimes people go by their real names or a username, hence why I'm calling it a username), and if you click on his name, it'll bring you to his profile page. This is the link we want. So our byline is so far looking like this:

Courtesy of <a href="" target="_blank">Chris Devers</a> under a <a href="link to specific creative commons license number" target="_blank">Creative Commons License #</a> license.

In order to find the Creative Commons license number, I clicked on where it says "Some rights reserved." This will bring you to the page explaining the type and # CC license it's under. In our case, it goes here. So we now know it's under a CC 2.0 license. Thus, our final byline will look like this:

Courtesy of <a href="" target="_blank">Chris Devers</a> under a <a href="" target="_blank">CC 2.0</a> license.

Once you have this completed for your photo, you'll paste that into the byline box.

WARNING: As you may notice, the quotations marks after the equal signs are backwards, and when you copy them into our system, it creates this crazy link that includes SO: Make sure to delete and re-enter those specific quotations mark after you've pasted it in. Once you've done it the first time, the system will save that byline and on future stories you just have to type in "Courtesy" and it'll autofill with your last byline. You can then just insert the links into that.

Step 5: Adding a Description & Adding a place

Keep scrolling down and you'll see there are two more boxes that look like this:

The description is where you simply provide us with a short description of what's going on in the image. "MIT researcher showcasing small satellites to students," I might write for the Cambridge image.

Place name you'll only fill out if your story is related to a place. You'll also notice that it autofills. So when I start typing in Cambridge, it offers me various cities named Cambridge around the U.S. Mine was in Massachusetts, so I select that.

After you have all that, hit "Save" and you're done! Feature image added! Bravo!

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General Guidelines

This is general information that applies to all assignments.

Please all see the Livability Assignments or Economic Development Assignments pages for segment-specific audience, content and assignment information.

Inform, educate and entertain readers with content that is compelling and relevant to our segments' target audiences. Learn more about our segments at

Conversational, active, lively; authoritative but never dry


  • For both types of projects, avoid writing in the passive voice whenever possible.
  • Follow all rules established by Associate Press Style (AP Style). Check the JCI Style Guide for nuances.
  • Write in the third-person, present tense (i.e. end quotes with "he says," not "he said.")
  • Structure feature articles as a story with a clear beginning, middle and end.


Pay attention to web content dates. Gather source contact information and verify with them any information you plan to use. Do not lift copy verbatim from websites.


  • Writers represent JCI when making calls and conducting interviews. Please communicate with clients and sources professionally.
  • If you find a good source of photography on the topic – online or by speaking with someone – be sure to note that information in the "Creator's Notes" field of the CCS article submission form. If someone wants to submit a photo, please email the person who sent you the assignment (Assignment Editor). They will forward it to the correct person.
  • Quotes should always be additive, meaning they should share an insight or opinion


    1. Vague quotes
    Example: "This is a great town," says Mayor John Doe.2. Quotes that merely restate something presented in the story
    Active types are always on the go in Mytown, Tenn., which has a host of recreation venues ranging from skate parks and swimming holes to soccer complexes and walking trails.

    "We really have a lot of different options for physical activity," says Parks and Recreation Director Jane Doe.

    3. Quotes that only state a fact or set of facts
    "We've just added a cardiac care wing and new non-invasive screening technology," says Anytown Memorial Hospital CEO Jim Smith.


We are now publishing content online before print, so the following items are important:

  • Write for SEO. You must have at least a basic understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices and use them in writing subheads, web headlines and copy. See the RESOURCE LINKS section (upper right of this page) for links to tips on writing for SEO.
  • Organize the story with subheads. See the JCI Style Guide for more information, if needed.
  • Embed relevant links into your copy. See the JCI Style Guide for more information, if needed.
  • Whenever possible, keep the information in each article timeless, avoiding phrases such as "last summer," "next year," etc. and instead using specific dates, such as "spring 2007." Before writing dated information into a story, consider other ways you could serve the reader with this type of information.
    Example: In a story about a major museum, instead of including a paragraph in the copy listing exhibit titles and dates (that will quickly become outdated), it would be better to give a synopsis of the types of exhibits typically presented there, then follow that description with a link to a full schedule on the institution's Web site. It keeps our content relevant to the reader, and having the link there provides them a direct route to the most up-to-date information directly from the museum.


  • When you review your work before submitting, double-check the content against the questions outlined in "CONTENT OBJECTIVES" for Livability or Economic Development. Does your copy answer these questions?
  • Fact-check your work before submitting. Writers are expected to verify all information presented in articles and provide the sources of that verification to Journal editors. Articles will not be further fact-checked by JCI editors.
  • Do not include CQs in your copy. Proofreaders will review the copy for spelling and grammar, but will assume you've checked all facts (names, numbers, addresses, etc.)
  • Double check subheads for search engine optimization and bold type.
  • Double check hyperlinks to ensure they are accurate and open a new window.

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JCI Style Guide

This guide includes JCI Style for copy as well as instructions for entering articles into our CMS.

If it is not addressed in this guide, use AP Style and rules. If not covered by us or the AP, refer to the dictionary.


Title (Web Headline):
Entices the reader to click, optimized for search contains keywords
Maximum character length of 70 characters

Adds context to the headline

Headline for Print:
Short, catchy and two to four words maximum

Should be organized with subheads and include links where applicable. Subheads should SEO-friendly and have an H2 Style.

IMPORTANT: Check that all hyperlinks are working. Outbound links are links that you can click on and it opens a new window in your Internet browser..

Quick Reference for Copy:

    Bighorn Mountains (per Wyoming client request)
    century (hyphenated as an adjective)
    chile pepper, not chili (for Pueblo client)
    Fortune 500
    health care (hyphenate as adjective)
    Greater Louisville Inc. (no comma)
    nonprofit (there is a legal difference between nonprofit and not-for-profit; check before changing)
    on site, off site (hyphenate as an adjective) departs from AP
    theater; unless part of a proper name of a theater
    the Commonwealth (client preference Kentucky)
    U.S. (abbreviate as an adjective)
    workforce (different from AP)
    year round (hyphenate as an adjective)
    zipline (always one word)

    For Arkansas Agriculture (AR SAG) only: Arkansas’s is the possessive form

    Capitalization rules for Web and Print Headlines and Subheads:

    • Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters (ex: A School With Style).
    • Capitalize a word of fewer than four letters – including the articles a, an, the –  if it is the first word in a headline or a verb/noun. Do not capitalize prepositions that are fewer than four letters. Ex (capitalize): can, be, do, etc. Ex (do not capitalize) to, for, etc.
    • Where needed replace hyphens with en dashes (–); there should be a space before and after the dash, and also before and after an ellipsis.
    • All titles are italicized – magazines, books, movies, plays, works of art, names of art exhibits, song titles, lecture or speech titles, television/radio show names. This doesn’t happen often, but continue to place portions of a larger work, such as a book chapter, in quotes but kept in plain type. Examples: The Nutcracker Suite, “The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy”. Italicize names of ships. Example: USS Pueblo
    • Put quotation marks around descriptive phrases that might otherwise be capitalized. Example: Kankakee was named “the top place to live” by City magazine. Easily recognized awards do not require quotes, such as Forbes magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

    Festivals, lists, etc.:
    In general, capitalize festivals, fairs, events and formal lists as if they were titles. Do not put quotation marks around them.


    • Followthe subject-before-verb rule with attribution: “Santa Claus says” NOT “says Santa Claus.” Correct examples are below.
      • Ie: “It’s exciting to see the ball rolling and all the people coming here to this area,” Pringle says.
      • “Charlotte has a great business community, and we’re glad to be part of one of the most livable cities in the U.S.,” says Colin Bain, president and CEO of Linet Americas.
      • We use says, not said.
    • Use other verbs (“laughs,” “explains,” etc.) sparingly and only if they fit the situation.
    • NEVER use “states” or “remarks.”
    • Only capitalize a person’s title if it precedes his or her name: “President and CEO Joe Schmoe” OR “Joe Schmoe, president and CEO of Squoodles Inc.”

    Web address ( in print):
    www. is to be included in all Web address, with the exception of Journal websites (ie: Images websites, If the URL does not work with the www., please add http://

    NOTE for TN Home & Farm, My Indiana Home, IL Farm Bureau: no www. before a Web address.

    Hours: 12 a.m.-12 p.m.

    Phone numbers:
    All phone numbers should be in this format (xxx) xxx-xxxx, and do not include a ‘1’ before an area code or toll-free number.

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    Word & Character Counts

    Livability Magazines


    • Headlines: 15-25 characters
    • Decks:  35-40 characters
    • Body Copy: 450-500 words


    • Headlines:  15-25 characters
    • Decks: 55-70 characters
    • Intro Copy:  35-60 words
    • Body Copy:  350-400 words


    • Headlines:  30-35 characters
    • Body Copy: 250 words


    • Body Copy: 250 words (max)


    • Body Copy: 30-45 words

    Things to Do

    • Heads: 15-30 characters each
    • Copy:  35-40 words each

    Business Spotlight

    • Heads: 15-30 characters each
    • Copy: 25-30 words each

    Related Content

    • Body Copy: Typically 100 words or less; noted with assignment


    Economic Development Magazines

    Overview - 350-500 words

    Features - 650 words

    Departments - 650 words

    Sidebars - 250 words

    Related Content - 100 words max
    Web assignments -500 words

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    In order to pay you for work completed for JCI, we must have:

    • a current W-9 Form on file (click link to download)
    • a current Writer Contract on file (click the link below to download)
      Freelance Writer Contract/Business and Community
    • an invoice for each assignment to receive for payment (click invoice link for a template) Be sure to include an invoice number that is unique to you for each assignment. Any combination of letters and numbers will do, as long as it is different from any prior invoice numbers you have submitted to us.

    When you complete your assignment, please email your invoice to the appropriate person:

    Becky Henson;

    LIVABILITY MEDIA Print Publications:
    Alicia Johnson;

    If we do not have a W-9 form or contract on file for you, please download from the links above, complete and return them to your assigning editor.

    Writers’ fees will be paid approximately 30-45 days after the invoices are processed, which is usually the day after the copy deadline. If a significant period of time has passed beyond the time frame during which you expected payment, please contact Maria in Accounts Payable -

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    Promote Your Work

    Have something published in one of our magazines or on one of our websites recently? Let the world know via social media!

    Here are some ways to share content with your friends, family members and professional contacts:

    In most cases, your copy will appear in three places:

    • print magazine
    • or (on the page specific to the city or region
    • digital magazine (embedded on the city page)

    IMPORTANT: When one of our projects publishes, we'll post to this site. Be sure to subscribe to this site in order to regularly receive these updates.

    Here are ways to access and share your work, once published:

    Magazine clips: The days of hard-copy clips are (almost) dead. However, you can visit the project's website and view the digital version of the magazine there. It is an exact replica of the print magazine, and the software allows you to select specific pages and print them out.

    Sharing Links Via Social Media: You can easily share links to your work on social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.

    Here's how:

    • Share a link to the website article you wrote: You can share a link that goes directly to the article's page within the project website and/or the city's page on or Search by category for your story, click to open the article's individual page and copy the url from your the browser. Paste it wherever you want it to go!
    • Share a link to the digital magazine: Go to the project website, click on the digital version of the magazine. You will be directed to a new window. Next, copy this new link from your browser; that's the link you should share.
    • Friends/grandma not on Twitter yet? 
      Then use e-mail, the new snail mail!

    Sharing Links Via Your Blog or Online PortfolioDo you have an online portfolio where you share digital versions of your work? What about a blog in which you tell the story-behind-the-story for some of your more interesting assignments? We welcome you to share the work you have done for us on those sites, and appreciate the links back to us!

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