Umm Al-Qura University

Umm Al-Qura University

Editorial Policy of the Website

- 2018/07/19

The Target Audience:

The UQU's website editorial guidelines target:

1- The deans of colleges, vice-deans, heads of departments and managers of the UQU's website sections.

2- The people who are in charge of websites, public relations and media.

3- Content Department.



Before we proceed further to the UQU's editorial policy, we need to discuss its definition. "It is a group of principles and rules that control the news editing and reports made for publishing on the UQU's website." These outlines stemmed from the main principles of editing, that are especially applied on the web content. They include technical rules and judging criteria.



1- The rules shall be applied to the news' and reports' content and consequently other parts of the journalism.

2- The rules are meant to control consistency and conformity of the UQU's website to look coherent to the reader.

This policy includes:

One: General rules.

Two: Rules for content writing.

Three: Technical rules.

Four: Rules for images.

Five: Rules for social media networks.

Six: Rules of publishing for non-Arabic readers.

Seven: Editor's role in the static content writing.

Eight: Editor's role in the dynamic content writing (news and events).


One: General rules:

1- Make sure all texts are consistent and readily and clearly published according to high quality standards taking punctuation marks into regard.

2- Avoid wordy description of the action while editing a news story.

3- Keep it short, concise and fitting to the website.

4- Make an objective and non-sensationalized news story.

5- Give answers to the (What, Who, Where and When) questions while editing. The news story may not answer the question "Why?". It is not meant to justify a decision or explain the reasons behind its issuance unless otherwise a clear and detailed request was provided.

6- Take up the stories swiftly unless otherwise it shall be published according to a scheduled plan.

7- Respect privacy of the people while writing a story and never add overviews for the departments and administrative posts.

8- Approval of the web site's editor-in-chief is necessary for publishing stories.

9- Information and news items shall be archived and kept for necessary usage only.


Two: Rules for content writing:

1- Text formating:

- Underlining is only used to typify links

- Italic and Capital litters are used to put emphasis or stress on specific words to show importance

2- Content structure:

- Titillating and self explaining headline shall be centered at the top of the page.

- The text shall be written as a capsule summary for ideas included in the page.

- Subtitles shall be similarly used as the headlines.

- In long pages, subtitles shall be hyperlinked on the top of pages for easy navigation into the content.

- In long pages, use a link that goes to the top of page for easy navigation.

- Every page shall include a headline and one objective.


3- Avoid redundancy and outdated stories:

- You should stop using a piece of information more than one time and avoid outdated stories.

- You should stop using information provided by other pages unless a quote is necessary. In this case, a hyperlink shall be added for reference.

- Date should be integrated into the page as part of its content.

- Use dates formats to refer to a specific day and time (especially in news items) instead of time descriptive words (For example: later, recently, lately... etc.)

- Future tense may only be used in few necessary cases in order to refer to specific date and time in the future.

- Work-related contact details may only be used for reference. Personal contact information shall never be available.

4- Links formatting:

- Make the link's text clear and informative to give a reader a correct message in case s/he wants to click.

- Links, which are written in lines or separate lists, are preferable.

- Note shall be added on links that takes the reader to other websites.

- Size and number of pages of the hyperlined files (PDF) should be highlighted.


5- Instructions and Guidelines pages:

- Instructions and guidelines shall be provided in pages separated from the content (the website, press file... etc...)

- Instructions shall be provided in a number-aligned list that is logically and comprehensibly ordered.

- Direct and simple phrases are used:  For example: (Do this to get ..)

6- Table Format and Page Layout:

- Tables shall not be used for plain text. It may only be used to provide data (numbers and statistics).

- Tables used in the pages shall be small in size to avoid scrolling down.

- Tables shall be placed on short spaces between each other to fit the page dimensions.

- It is not preferable to use table for texts written on two separated lines.


7- Content and higher search hits:

- Key words shall be carefully picked up from the text to increase search results.

- Key words is important in the headline to brief the main idea of the text.


Three: Technical rules:

1- The story should be editing according to the inverted pyramid method (the most newsworthy info first).

2- The story text shall be understandable and clear of complications, puzzling ideas or literary expressions.

3- Headline shall be written in present tense (e.g. university opens ...) or using a verbal noun (e.g. attending tests...).

4- Having a good knowledge about the job title and career hierarchy is necessary for items telling stories about a figure.

5- State names shall be written in full for the first time at the beginning of the story before using its second reference.

6- Princes and officials should be mentioned with their full names for the first time before using a short and second reference.

7- The Arabic letter Hamza ([ء] representing the glottal stop sound) shall be written whenever it is applicable.

8- Difference between the letter (Alif Maqṣūrah [ى]) and the letter (Kasrah yā’ [ي]) should be taken into account.

9- Difference between the letter tāʼ marbūṭah (تاء مربوطة "bound tāʼ " [ة]) and the letter (hāʼ marbūṭah (هاء مربوطة "bound hāʼ "[ه]) should be taken into account.

10- A special software should be used for inserting Quranic quotes. If it is not possible, a printed edition of the Holy Quran shall be used for quoting.

11- Quotations (announcements, statements, etc) shall be credited to the official who said them. The sayings shall be put between two inverted commas without making a minor change (unless a proofreading is necessary).

12- Umm Al-Qura's calender type shall be used for news in addition to the gregorian calendar.

13- Headline shall be picked from the first sentences which are ordered according to the most newsworthy info.


Four: Rules for images:

Researches found that:

* 75 percent of readers eye images first

* 50 percent of readers focus on headlines

* 29 percent of readers are attracted by the images' captions

* 25 percent of readers are interested in the edited material

An image is the best tool to deliver a message and to attract the reader who looks for excitement. The reader starts reading a story by looking at the image before moving his eyes downwards to the details. The photo that is usually added to a news item refreshes his mind and makes the story remains for longer time in the memory.

So, please take the following into consideration:

1- Pay special care for the news layout and the quality of images to win attention of your readers.

2- Having an image attached to a news story means you give more explanation and may add a message that the text failed to deliver.

3- A caption should be added to every image (especially the complicated graphs).

4- A description should be added for images and Flash animated presentations. (It shall support people with disabilities who need to cross communication barriers by providing speech output systems to help them browsing websites).

5- Maximum size of attached image shall be 500 kilobytes.

6- Image element shall be 960 pixels

7- The main and the secondary images (up to three in every news item) shall be wrapped around by the text.

8- Pictures taken for the events and actions - except for the main and important one - shall be uploaded to the gallery.

9- Images shall give new details and avoid repetition of the written content.

10- Images of morally offensive content are not allowed under the customs and laws applicable in Saudi Arabia.


Five: Rules for social media networks:

1- The headline shall be published on the story's web page excluding the breaking news and crisis situations which necessitate swift publishing on the UQU's main page.

2- Actions on reply is not allowed. All cases shall be forwarded to people in concern via email.



Six: Rules of publishing for non-Arabic readers:
1- Terms and names shall be translated according to a glossary approved by the Deanship of Information Technology. For any comments regarding the translated texts, please refer to the deanship.
2-    Translator or the translation company shall be held fully responsible for the content.
3-    In the event of availability of names of persons (as candidates or graduates) in a single table in the Arabic text and if the names exceeds ten (we mention in the foreign language translation that ( to review the names please click on the following link in Arabic). If the names are less than 10 they are translated into the foreign language in a similar format to that of the Arabic language. 
4-    If the content is only banner, its directly rejected as it must include editable text content. The content owner is requested to write a short text below the banner, then translator must put the banner in the original language and translate the short text.
5-    If the content comes in a form of a picture, its  directly rejected as it must include an editable text to be translated to other languages.     


Seven: Editor's role in the static content writing:

The static web pages contain the prebuilt content which describes work at the entity responsible for the portal. It is constant and might only be changed when a sweeping change takes place and it be updated with new information. This may include adding organizational structural or new departments or merging some devisions..


Eight: Editor's role in the dynamic content writing (news and events and announcements):

An editor makes changes on texts before proofread the whole content of the news items, announcements and events' written materials. He may handle these materials as news stories according to the following elements:

Main parts of the news story: The news story can be divided into three parts:

A) Lead:

The most important structural element of a story is the lead. It is a brief, sharp statement of the story's essential facts that never crosses the limit of 30 words in count. The text shall answer questions "who is speaking, where" and strike the readers' eyes with attractive details.

B) Details or the Body:

It consists of few other sub-parts that cover part of the actions and integrate together to complete the picture. These parts shall be put in bottom line up front order mentioning the most important info first. The supporting information follow in order of diminishing importance.

C) Background info:

Supporting information or previous developments describe the reasons behind the incident. The incident's beginning or the reasons can be divided on paragraphs which shall be ordered as the importance diminishes.

     A complete news story answers the following questions:

Who ...?  The one who played the main role in the story.

When ...?  Time of the event

Wherer ...? Place of the event

What ...?  Answers the question (What is going on?)

How ...?  Details of the event

Why ...? It means: Providing details about the beginning of the incident and the background info of the accident with less details about the reasons.

The editor endeavors to answer all questions. It is not necessary to have background information on the incident.