Recent posts

How Not To Get Sued When Using Flickr

Flickr is a wonderful place to find images to illustrate blog posts but we need to be mindful of a few rules that can keep us from getting sued for improper photo usage.

National Library NZ / Flickr

Herbert George Ponting and a telephoto apparatus in Antarctica, January 1912

All Flickr images have an accompanying license. You can find the image license by scrolling down the right hand side of the Flickr page. We cannot use images that have an “all rights reserved” license unless we have permission from the photographer. The images that we can lawfully use without fear of getting sued are images designated BY or BY/NC.

Flickr also has a variety of collections that are free use including The Commons and US Government Works.

Creative Commons (FAQ)

What Creative Commons photos can we use? 

  • Photos with an “Attribution” license — symbolized as “BY”
  • Photos with an “Attribution-Non-Commerical” license — symbolized as “BY/NC”

Five Layout Tips For Prettier Posts

Team, you may not hear from him much, but our StateImpact Designer, Danny DeBelius, is always watching your work. He’s noticed some areas for improvement when it comes to our page design and making our posts visually compelling, which he outlines here. Enjoy! -Elise

1. Use logos sparingly, if at all.

Click to enlarge.

While logos are readily available and a tempting target for topics light on visual opportunities, the disappointing truth is that logos do little to draw users into your post. Worse still, a logo recycled from an earlier post can erroneously signal to your reader that they’ve already read the surrounding content; recycled art of any kind runs this risk. A photograph is always preferable, and photos that include human subjects are generally the most effective visual tool to put eyeballs on your post. The same principle holds true for selecting featured image art for your topic buildout pages. Logos are rarely effective, expedient as they may be.
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Becky’s Camera of Choice


What a lovely Canon G-12, Kate.

We’re lucky to have our multimedia queen, Becky Lettenberger, guide us through the fast-changing world of cameras and other tech gear we’ll use to make beautiful images and tell stories in non-traditional ways.

Becky is also the one who recommended that the stations purchase Canon G 12 cameras for your use. Now, an actual princess gives the cameras her royal endorsement.

See? We have excellent taste.

Now, for more guidance on using your camera and what each button means, look no farther than our webinar from last week.

Photo 101

Our multimedia trainer-in-chief Becky explains the buttons and parts of the StateImpact Canons that you need to know, and Elise discusses the best sizes and proportions you should use to display those photos on your site.

How to Add an image On Your Blog

Scroll below the image for an explanation of the features, or watch Elise’s screencast that walks you through the process.

NOTE (8/1/2013): A recent WordPress upgrade changed the interface of the media library a bit. However, it is pretty intuitive and the main components are the same (just shrinked into a little sidebar on the right in your “gallery.” You’ll see….. 

(1) Edit image: This takes you to WordPress’ build-in image editor, which is worse than almost any dedicated photo editor out there, including the free, online service Pixenate. (I.e. Use something else instead.)

(2) Title: This doesn’t display publicly, but will by default show up as the alternate text for the image. (Sighted folks see this when they mouse over the image for a second. Blind folks will hear this read aloud in place of the image.)

(3) Alternate text: See the description of alternate text, above. Change this if you want this text to be different from the title. If you use a clear title, you can leave this blank.

(4) Caption: Does what it says on the tin. This is important. Write a readable, descriptive caption that accurately relates the image to the post. If you’re using a conceptual image to punctuate the post, use an interesting fact to relate the image to your post.

(5) Description: This doesn’t appear publicly, and is optional. If you’d like, add descriptions or keywords here that will aid you in finding this image later.

(6) Link URL: What you’d like the photo to link to. Always change this from the default setting, whether by removing the link altogether (hit the “None” button), or by pasting in the URL the photo came from (e.g. a Flickr photo page).

(7) Credit: Who took the image.

(8) Organization: The organization that hosts the photo or employs the photographer. (e.g. Flickr, Getty Images)

(9) Can distribute? Can we republish this image in other contexts? Check this if this is an image you took yourself, or if you otherwise hold full rights to the image.

(10) Alignment: Self-explanatory. Select “left” or “right” to float the photo alongside your text, or “center” to place the image in the center of a line by itself.

(11) Size: Self-explanatory. If it’s a strong editorial image, consider playing it big, selecting “Large” from the menu. If it’s included just to add visual emphasis, make it “Medium” and float it left or right.

(12) Insert into post: Click this to place the photo in your post wherever the cursor was when you brought up the “Add an image” dialogue box.

(13) Use as featured image: Click this to make this image the thumbnail for the post in the skybox (Argo theme only).

This is the product of the choices I made in the "Add an image" dialogue box shown above. Note the title, displayed against a yellow highlight in the lower right when I moused over the photo.

How to move or delete images from your posts

There are two ways to move and remove image modules from your sites, depending on which mode – Visual or HTML – you’re most comfortable working in. HTML is slightly simpler, but Visual Mode is also pretty easy. Here are the steps to move or delete images in either case, followed by quick screencasts showing you how to do it.

In Visual Mode:

  1. Do not drag the image to move it. On Argo sites, images are part of a module that also contains credit and caption information. Clicking and dragging the image breaks the module and separates the image from that metadata.
  2. Instead, begin by removing the image module. Click on the image. A red circle with a line through it should appear in the upper-left-hand corner of the image. Click that icon to remove the image (and its credit and caption info).
  3. Then, re-insert the image module. If you’ve already uploaded your image to WordPress at any point in the past, it’s already in your Media Library, complete with the caption and credit you entered when you uploaded it before. (If you uploaded your image to WordPress while you were prepping the post you’re on, it’s in your Gallery as well.) Click the icon next to “Upload/Insert” to bring up the “Add an Image” window, then click over to “Media Library” or “Gallery” and look for the desired image. Then you can click “Insert into post” to place the image in the right spot. Continue reading

Linking to source images

If you make use of an image from another source in one of your posts, it’s standard practice to link the image on your post back to the source page you found the image on. To do so, please follow these steps:

  1. Download the image from source page to your desktop.
  2. Upload the image to your post using the WordPress image uploader tool.
  3. Click the edit button under the image in the WordPress uploader tool to scale and/or crop the image to a size that matches one of the recommended image proportions
  4. Add credit and caption information
  5. Cut and paste URL from source page of image into Link URL
  6. Select photo alignment
  7. Insert into post

Finally, please avoid the Add Media File From URL tab (image attached) when grabbing images from external sites. This feature will add an image to your post from another location, but the image file will still be served from the other location. Consequently, if the source site is down or moves the image, we have no way of recovering the file.


Avoid this tab