Other stories

How to submit a story to Inside CDCR

Mule Creek prison dog.
Mule Creek State Prison service dog graduation.

While the main focus of Inside CDCR is the employees, the site is a public-facing webpage. Stories, photos or videos posted to Inside CDCR are visible to anyone. We try to make the submission process as easy as possible.

First, make sure the story is approved before submitting it to Inside CDCR. How? By following your chain of command or office structure. Stories received by PIOs are assumed to be pre-vetted for publication. Our staff will edit those stories for length, grammar and clarity, but the core information needs to be pre-approved before submission.

Stories should provide the basics: who, what, when, where, why and how.

Submit photos as separate email attachments. People in those photos should be identified by rank or title, first and last names, from left to right. Do not embed the photos in Word documents since it reduces the photo quality. If the photos are too large to send in one email, send them in multiple emails.

Inside CDCR is always looking for positive stories about employees, institutions and the incarcerated population (especially rehabilitation focused).

Story ideas:

  • Maybe there is a staff member who has an interesting hobby. We’ve highlighted singers, authors, hunters, photographers and others who use their hobbies to achieve work-life balance.
  • Highlight staff who have gone above to call of duty to help others either through life-saving actions or volunteerism in the community.
  • Explore Inside CDCR and the various categories (shown on the left side of the home page) to get more ideas.

If photos show inmates, we need to have a media release form signed by them. The Office of Legal Affairs also requests staff sign media release forms.

What works best: 300 words with three photos showing different actions or angles.

Note: During COVID, everyone shown in the photos need to follow proper procedures and safety protocols.

Quick tip on photos: Your eye automatically crops what it sees, but your camera doesn’t. Look at your photo framing with a critical eye. Are garbage cans or signs behind the subjects? How much of your photo is ceiling, sky or roof? How much space in your photo is devoted to the floor or ground? Get closer to your subjects. We will crop photos for you, but it’s always best to submit quality photos.

Oversized check presentations are OK, but should not be the focus of your photos. If there was a special event that raised money for that check, include those photos as well. Check-presentation photos are generally skipped over by readers. They prefer to see “real people doing real things,” rather than stiffly posed people.

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