Prerequisites: study the external links about Press Releases and read previous PRs at Debian Times
Debian Times publish some kinds of texts, with somewhat different focus for each.
Debian User tips
mockup for tips about packages and Debian usage. Please expand this topic.
mockup for announcing events with Debian Project participation and event participation reports. Please expand this topic.
mockup for news regarding Debian Project. Please expand this topic.
mockup for news regarding Debian Conference. Please expand this topic.
mockup for news regarding Debian releases. Please expand this topic.
When writing Press Releases for the Debian Times you represent the Project to the outer world. So please keep in mind when adding articles, that our readers expect the highest quality standards, as they are accustomed from everything having the label "Debian".
To be more exact, Debian Times should follow the spirit of the social contract, and should be exact, objective and truthfully.
The intended audience of Debian Times press releases are journalists. By extent, the potential users and potential developers.
The PR content must focus on positive things regarding Debian Project. Even when reacting against negative things, the focus shall be on the solution presented by Debian Project, avoiding to even cite the original negative event as much as possible. In this situation, the text must be self contained: a casual reader that is unaware of original negative event should not be compelled to search for such event and be satisfied with knowing that Project is creating new solutions.
Other companies, products, services should be cited as additional information resources, giving contact information and some background.
Depth of details: the depth should be only enough to the intended audience. Additional information should be linked for those interested at more in depth information.
Always link to original content URL when applicable. Always give due credit. Never copy entire original content into the PR without written consent. Limit copying to the fewest lines possible, and to direct citations from interviewed people.
The Press Releases MUST NOT name other people or institutions in any negative tone. Only as a defensive reaction mode, after a consult to debian-legal mailing list. It is a very bad PR tactic that always backfire to some degree and does not add any real value to a Press Release. Leave it to blogs and press. It is a legal risk, that a non-profit could not afford. PRs should always focus on positive tone and facts.
You need to state information about the following answers, IN THE ORDER:
1- Who, where, when is using and chose Debian?
2- What was accomplished / built / offered?
3- Why Debian was chosen?
4- What are the benefits of using Debian?
5- How Debian enabled such success / feature / business model, etc?
The structure elements who, where, should link to institution official site and wikipedia geographical information pages. Company, city, province, country.
It should be the last thing you write. And the most important one. It could be the only chance to get attention of the reader. It will be catch phrase that will be spread. It must be the essence of the Press Release, stating the most important, the key benefit of choosing Debian.
The main text should try hard to be printable in a single A4 page, helvetica 12. The "About Debian Project" could be printed in a second A4 page. If your text NEEDS to be longer, you MUST apply style guidelines to make sure it is readable, redactable, compelling. Time is becoming less and less available.
Your text MUST be of highest information DENSITY to be worth reading despite any size.
The structure elements who, where, when, what should be as short as possible.
The sentences should be kept short. Try hard to be under 80 characters.
The official press release language is formal British English.
The date format follow the MHRA Style Guide, as described at http://lists.debian.org/debian-publicity/2008/05/msg00050.html, as per example, 12 April 2008.
The term "Debian" (without further qualification) should not be used: the project should always be referred to as the "Debian Project" and the OSes as "Debian GNU/Linux" (or /Hurd, /kFreeBSD, /NetBSD).
The text should be written in third person, singular, neutral. By convention, the Debian Project is always to be treated as singular -- both verb and pronoun agreement should treat it as singular: "it is", "the Debian Project has". An example sentence could be: "The Debian Project is 15 years old and it has just issued a major security advisory". Note that this convention is a deliberate policy, decided after discussion on the debian-publicity list, despite the fact that traditional British English usage would have been to use "they have": the plural usage is declining, particularly in the technology industry, and the singular usage is an easier rule for non-native British English writers to follow, without causing serious problems even for British readers.
The text should be written in direct active voice order, as far as possible.
Sentences should be grouped in paragraphs only when directly related.
Paragraphs should be "informational atomic" as possible. Entire paragraphs could be moved / removed / reordered without seriously disrupting text.
Avoid exaggerations and the like.
Avoid opinions. List facts and link to references and resources.
The proposed text must take into account that Debian Times uses html like markup.
The proposed texts should be submitted for collective edition at the Debian Times Team draft area, listed by an unique name based on PR draft title.
The drafts should state the closing date and GMT time for contributions.
An email should be issued at debian-publicity mailing list containing a link to it for colective editing, the closing date and hour.
The email subject must start [DRAFT FOR REVIEW] and use the proposed title of the PR draft.
Define a closing date and time period of two business days.
Contributions MUST include a descriptive comment at the wiki changelog.
Contributions should be information atomic each. If needed, issue multiple contributions to the draft, for easy reversion / correction / improvements.
After the closing date, a Debian Times editor publish it and include at very first line: TEXT PUBLISHED ON DEBIAN TIMES url ... at date xxx.
The draft is renamed (a wiki action to move a page) to the Debian Times Team press release area, preserving its changelog.
In some circumstances, additional edition may be needed at such text, with clear wiki changelog.
For debian-news, debian-announce, the announces are reviewed by the "press team" (Alexander Schmehl, Martin "Joey" Schulze) and by the team that redacted it in the first place (debian-release for example).
For debian-devel-announce, it depends on each DD, some publish without review, other go through a review. Anyway, d-d-a is a special purpose list and announces there should not be rewritten like PR are.
If you want to push PR to debian-news, you have to work with Alexander Schmehl, I believe it's totally possible but it will take a bit more effort. We really want fully reviewed stuff on those lists (this means a good english language, and content which gives a good image of Debian).
Approval draft extracted from http://lists.debian.org/debian-publicity/2008/04/msg00101.html