Editorial Guidelines

Think of PBS.org and the applications that Merlin powers as a billboard promoting your best content. From a collective standpoint, this opportunity requires presenting an array of compelling content without overwhelming the user. Our users need to easily scan and accurately select what they want.

Because your objects will be promoted off of your site, you need to be very clear - to the point of overt - in describing what the user will experience. All titles and descriptions must be SEO-friendly with keyword-rich copy that will help users find content through Search. 

Overall, your titles/headlines, descriptions, and images need to clearly express what and why our visitors should click. Vague headlines and incorrect topic assignments, for example, will force our visitors to have to decipher - instead of scan - their choices. A clever turn-of-phrase can make for a strong episode/feature headline within the context of your site, but not necessarily within Merlin. 

Editorial & Specification Cheat Sheet

Field

 

Editorial Guidelines

 

Validation Specifications

 

 Topic

 

  • Topics should be thoughtfully assigned to reflect the core subjects of the content
  • No more than two top-level topics should be assigned under most circumstances
  • See the taxonomy and tagging guidelines for assistance
  • Minimum of 1 top-level topic must be assigned
  • Minimum of 1 top-level topic must be assigned 

 Title

 

  • Capitalize all titles, but don’t use all caps.
  • Titles should be short and direct per the 60-character count limit, including spaces.
  • Other than for full episodes, avoid program titles and the date as both display elsewhere in the module.
  • NOTE: Full episode, segmented programs should use this date convention: Monday, Jan. 10, 2011.

 

Examples to avoid:

  • Episode numbers: “DD 15” or “HW4433”
  • Series title in story: “GREAT PERFORMANCES | Eric Clapton...”
  • Inconsistent case: “Read Talkback from CRIPS AND BLOODS: Made in America”
  • Vagueness: “Source Code for Balance”
  • No modifier or verb: “Green Collar Jobs”
  • Names without context: “Howard Dean” 
  • No HTML markup, links, or other styling
  • Limited to 60 characters, including spaces


Field

 

Editorial Guidelines

 

Validation Specifications

 

 Image

  • Should be landscape or easily cropped by Merlin to display at 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Use landscape images to avoid extreme scaling and cropping
  • Make it pop: use levels, curves and saturation to achieve true blacks and whites
  • JPG or PNG
  • Images automatically recompress
  • 16:9 ratio (640 x 360px minimum)
  • JPG or PNG
  • Images automatically recompress
  • 16:9 ratio (640 x 360px minimum)

 

 Short Description

 

  • Get to the core of the content and write to the image.
  • Keep it short to ensure clarity and control over how the copy ends.
  • No HTML markup, links, or other styling
  • Limited to 90 characters, including spaces
  • No HTML markup, links, or other styling
  • Limited to 90 characters, including spaces

 Long Description

 

  • Start with the lead of what and why this content is interesting.
  • Mention the format; is this a full episode, clip, essay, quiz, etc?
  • Don’t repeat the short description.
  • No HTML markup, links, or other styling
  • Limited to 400 characters, including spaces

 

Content Item Examples – PBS, Producer, and Station

The following examples show how content across the Public Broadcasting System will appear in Merlin applications as a seamless user experience.

 

Field

 

COVE item

 

PBS item

 

Station item

 

Title

 God in New York

 Acadia's Great Head Trail

 Harpsichord Maker Byron Will

Channel

THIRTEEN Specials (WNET)

Windows Into The Wild (NHPTV)

 Art Beat (OPB)

Editorial image

 

  

  

Short Description

 

New York City’s role in the historical significance of different religious groups.

Willem Lange loops around the edge of the peninsula called Great Head located in Acadia.

Byron Will's passion for music is embodied in his handmade harpsichords.

Long Description

 

Narrated by Jon Meacham, this local documentary explores New York City’s role in the historical significance of different religious groups.

It's a beautiful morning in Acadia National Park. As daylight spreads across the beaches of Acadia, host Willem Lange is already making his way to Great Head Trail. This trail loops around the perimeter of the small peninsula called Great Head located on the east side of Sand Beach in the park.

Meet Byron Will who has been infatuated with the harpsichord for over 30 years. After making the switch from climatology major to music major in college, he has never looked back. Byron shares with Art Beat his handmade harpsichords as well as a lesson on the history of the instrument.

 

Topics

 

 

Culture & Society/Religion

History/United States

 

Science & Nature

Community

 

Arts & Entertainment/Music

 

 URL

 

Link

 Link

 Link