USC Annenberg Media Resources

Getting Started With Arc CMS: Composer and Photo Manager

Composer is Arc Publishing’s post composition and editor tool—meaning it’s the interface you use to make posts on

Before you can start using Composer, you need to have an account created on Okta. Okta is an identity management service, meaning it’s how you log into Arc Publishing, the way you’ll have your password reset, and how your account access will be changed if you move from being a reporter to an editor, for instance.

If you don’t have an Okta account, email Graham (stecklei at or contact him on Slack to get setup. Once you have an account follow this link to login.

If you haven’t set up an Author profile already, via WordPress, you can do that right away within the Arc Publishing platform. Here’s a guide to setting up your Author profile.

Here’s Arc’s guide to using Ellipsis, which was the name of the tool until it recently was changed to Composer:

But the best way to work with Ellipsis to to mess around with the platform and see what works. There are a few elements you should know about detailed below:


When you create a new post in Ellipsis you’ll see a pop-up asking you to select a template. Ellipsis allows us to create templates for common types of posts, with fields filled out in advance. If you’re an editor, start thinking about what fields you might like to have populated in advance when a reporter creates a post for your section.

Interstitial Links and Related Stories

Linking to other stories within USC Annenberg helps boost SEO and keeps readers engaged on our site longer. Work with your team to determine how to best structure posts. Keep SEO and tagging consistent with other stories in your section and the rest of the site.

Previewing Posts

When you generate a preview of your post, that version of the story is cached on Arc’s servers. So if you make a change and hit preview again, you will still see the old version of the page. Grab a cup of coffee or get some air, you can generate a new preview in between 4-12 minutes.

Working With Images

Arc uses an image manager called Anglerfish to upload and embed files. All stories need a featured image to appear on our site correctly. One quirk about Anglerfish is that you need to set images to be published first before you can preview them in the post or publish your new story.

1) Upload the photo you want to include in your post to Anglerfish. Then click the “Edit” icon, which looks like a pencil.

2) In the photo editor you can add important metadata like the photographer and caption. But if you want to preview or publish a post with the image in it, you’ll need to click the option to publish each photo individually.

About This Site

This is a resource hub to help student reporters at the Annenberg Media Center.

If you’re new to the Media Center, check out this one-page guide to see what it’s all about.

Need Technical Support?

If you are having trouble with the Media Center main website ( or need web support for the Media Center, submit a support ticket.

Contact the Media Center

Media Center Director, Professor Christina Bellantoni
(213) 740-3874

Annenberg Media Executive Editor, Kaidi "Ruby" Yuan ('20)

Annenberg Media Assignment Desk:
(213) 740-3847

For equipment-related issues:
(213) 740-5739