Tips for Writing Excerpts

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All stories in the main well should contain an excerpt that entices the reader to click and read. These excerpts appear on the homepage under the headline and next to the photo. They also appear on social media sites like Facebook when someone posts a link to the story.

Other important documents:

  • How to Write for GV Best practices for writing and reporting a GV story.
  • Style Guide Information about GV stylistic standards.
  • Posting Guide Technical information about creating posts including text formatting styles and instructions for dealing with images and video.

What's the best way to write an excerpt? Follow these five tips.

Stay Within 20-30 Words

If you write an excerpt above 30 words, it will automatically be cut off and look like this:


Compliment the Headline, Don't Repeat It

It is best to treat excerpts as a space where we can offer additional information to our readers. For example, the excerpt from the story “São Tomé Pulls ‘Rotten Rice’ After Protests” reads:

The rice was part of a 900-ton order worth about two million US dollars imported from Cameroon using public money.

If you struggled to include some keywords in the headline, you can add them into the excerpt. For example, the excerpt from the story “The Perils of Putting a Label on Edward Snowden” reads:

Is the man who revealed US surveillance programs run by the NSA – a traitor, a hero, a fugitive, or a spy?

Don't Copy-Paste the Lead

Readers see lead of the story right after they read the excerpt, so we don't want to annoy them with repetition.

Tease Commentary From the Story

Mention compelling discussions that are stemming from the news. For example, the excerpt from the story “Protests Crush Nuclear Complex Plans in Southern China” reads:

But is this victory temporary? Some worry the project may pop up in another densely populated area.

The excerpt from the story “South Korea's Ex-President Accused of Lying Over Four Major Rivers Project” reads:

Civic groups say the project will cause irreversible harm to the environment by blocking water flow and meddling with the ecosystem.

Introduce the Author

This is a great idea for new authors — they will feel rewarded and acknowledged and will be excited to be on the home page. For example:

This is the first post by our new author Jean Toutlemonde, covering his home country Mali from his adopted home France.