Creating stories with the Arc CMS (video)

1) Log on via Okta (starts at 0:00 in the video above)

To work with the Arc Content Management System (CMS) you need to login through Okta. If you haven’t set up an Okta login, send Graham an email: and he’ll get you set up.

Here’s the URL to login through Okta:

You should bookmark it so that it’s easy to find in the future. Login and click the button for Arc Publishing.

2) Create an Author Profile (starts at 1:16 in the video above)

This is extremely important to do before writing any stories on our site. Your author profile will be connected to all the stories, it’s how you’ll represent yourself and your portfolio as a reporter for USC Annenberg Media.

From the Arc Home page, click the button labeled “authors” under the delivery category. Click the “New Author” button. Fill in the Username field first, using this format: first letter of your first name + your last name, all one word, all lower case. So the username for Graham Stecklein is: gstecklein

This cannot be changed later, and if there’s any punctuation in your username it will break your byline on the site. Everything but your username can be changed and updated later.

You can leave most of the fields on your author page blank. Your author page will look best if you upload a photo, fill in a short bio and add your email and Twitter accounts. Scroll to the bottom of the page to save your new profile, then return to the Arc home page.

 3) Creating a post in Composer: Planning (starts at 4:10 in the video above)

Composer is the main content creation tool in the Arc CMS. Click “create a new story” and use the “Blank Story” template to get started from scratch.

**The way you select the section for your post has changed since the above video was recorded!**
Before, you could choose the section for your piece on the Planning tab. Section selection has been moved to the new Circulate tab. Click the blue button that says “Add Website” on that tab and you can select the section for your piece. (Arc can be used to publish the same content across multiple websites, which is why it says “Add Website” instead of “choose section.”)

Add yourself and any other contributors in the Author field. Start typing their name in, and then select their name from the pop-up box that will appear. The result should look like this, staff: Graham Stecklein. If it says unknown author organization: Graham Stecklein, then the post you create will not be connected to the right author profile, the byline will be broken and you will need to go back and fix this later.

4) Creating a post in Composer: Compose (starts at 6:23 in the video above)

Click on the Compose tab. Enter your headline and subhead on this page. Use sentence case for headlines and single quotes any time you would put something in quotations. Make sure your subhead adds a second detail, giving your audience a reason to read more.

Click on the blank space beneath your subhead and start typing the body of your story. To insert an element into your story like a block quote or image, create a line break by hitting return and selecting the icon of the element you’d like to insert from the options that appear. To insert Youtube videos, audio, or any elements hosted by a third-party site using iFrames, insert an HTML block, click edit, and paste in the iFrame code of the element you want to embed.

5) Creating a post in Composer: Meta (starts at 10:09 in the video above)

Click on the Meta tab. Fill out the Description field with two or three sentences that give your audience a reason to click and read more—this will show up on Google news and on preview images on the rest of the site. It’s ok to use your subhead for this, but ideally you write something a little longer, and more engaging.

Add SEO Keywords (search engine optimization): anything people might be searching that you would want to lead to your article, e.g. Kedon Slovis. Add Story Tags for our own internal organization, e.g. sports, football, producer blog.

Additional info: how to embed audio, video or other interactive elements

The easiest way to add elements like a YouTube video into a story is to use iFrames. It’s very simple, and great to get comfortable with when you start using Composer. Here’s a video guide:

6) Creating a post in Composer: Featured Media (starts at 12:05 in the video above)

All posts on our site must have a featured image. All featured images should be landscape, not portrait, meaning they must be wider than they are tall. The best size for images to be is 1440 px by 1080 px. Select Media Type: Image and Media Key: Basic, and click add media to start uploading a photo. Click the “upload image” button, select a file and click upload to add it to our imagery database. Never use images that we don’t have the rights to publish.

Fill out the Caption field, including the credit in the following format: (Photo by: Graham Stecklein) if an USC Annenberg Media reporter took the photo, or (Photo courtesy of Graham Stecklein) if we got the photo from somewhere else. Also credit the photographer in the Photographer/Creator field. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “save and return.” Select the photo (the + sign on the photo will become a -) and click select to make it your story’s featured image.

7) Review and Publish (starts at 16:49 in the video above)

Save your post by clicking Save in the upper right corner. Your story can now be reviewed for publication. Copy the URL from the page in Composer to share for review without making the piece live.

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.

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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 Editors, Daniel Hahm and Jessica Doherty

Annenberg Media Assignment Desk:
(213) 740-3847

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