YFile User Manual

Last reviewed: October 2023
Next review: October 2024

YFile is York University’s journal of record and campus newsletter, reporting on institutional news, events, people and trends. All content is published to the YFile website and distributed through an email newsletter to more than 7,500 subscribers, including faculty, staff members, students and friends of the University. The YFile team works together with the University’s Faculties, schools, departments and units to share important news and announcements.

The YFile User Manual is a companion guide that outlines YFile’s unique set of rules and conventions for writing, publication and use. Here, you will find everything from ad, image and story submission requirements to information on approvals and deadlines, as well as common questions and how to use the archives.

YFile adheres to the York University Writing Style Guide (the Writing Style Guide), a document approved by the University Senate and the president. The Writing Style Guide closely follows the Canadian Press StyleBook, which can be found here

In addition to the Writing Style Guide, YFile has its own unique set of rules and conventions for writing and publication, as outlined in alphabetical order below. For more information on YFile’s mandate and YFile contact information, visit the About page. 

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The YFile email newsletter includes small ads and a large footer ad to help promote important events, announcements and news at York University. All requested ads will be published at the discretion of the YFile team.

Deadlines: A request for an ad space in the YFile email newsletter should be submitted at minimum five (5) days in advance of the newsletter publication date.

Requirements for small square ad: An image in JPG format of at minimum 800 by 800 pixels, and should include a valid URL.

Requirements for large footer ad: An image in JPG format of at minimum 1,200 pixels wide by 600 pixels high and an active hyperlink that the ad can redirect to, and should include a valid URL.

Advertisements appearing in YFile must align with York University’s Brand Standards. For assistance ensuring your advertisement meets Brand Standards, contact University Brand & Marketing and include your Faculty or division communications manager in your request. Information about Brand Standards can be found on the Brand Assets website

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Announcements appear in the YFile newsletter and are headlines that link to important, high-level, pan-University information. Announcements posted in the newsletter are archived on the YFile website. The Announcements section is reserved for notices from senior leadership, and for specific information on campus operations including notices related to health and safety, labour action and more.

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All content submitted to YFile should be pre-approved by the appropriate people (e.g. members of senior leadership, deans, directors, persons quoted directly) and submitted to YFile at least five (5) days in advance of the newsletter publication date. The submitted copy will be reviewed by the YFile editorial team to ensure it aligns with editorial standards. If approvals are required after review by YFile editors, this must be stated at the time the content is submitted. In those instances, final approved copy must be returned to YFile two (2) days before publication. 

For more specific guidelines, see Deadlines.

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YFile has an established reputation for reliable reporting and is the source of trusted, relevant and authoritative news for the University. YFile stories are archived both online and in the digital archives of the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections to help YFile users search and locate previously published content. 

Content: YFile stories are ​​archived on the YFile website, and date back to 2002. Please use the search function on the website to access the archives. 

Newsletters: YFile’s newsletter issues are ​​archived on the YFile website, and date back to September 2021.  

Revisions to archived content: A request to alter or remove an archived news story will only be considered if the story and/or image pose a threat to personal safety. Because YFile content is archived as official records for the University, requests to alter or remove an archived news story cannot be considered if the request changes the story in such a significant way that it alters the original news and/or if the requester wishes to update an image, include their current role or add a fact to reflect a current situation. 

Search: YFile features an advanced search function that enables users to easily retrieve content dating back to 2002. Users can search by keyword and sort by category.

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YFile aims to celebrate academic and research excellence at the University, which includes sharing news of awards, funding and grants. All achievements and recognitions are a point of pride for York University; however, coverage of such stories in YFile is limited to major announcements due to the high volume of requests. Stories on awards, funding and grants will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with the following criteria as guidelines for inclusion in YFile.

Note: Non-monetary awards and recognition will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but must include a York affiliation (York faculty, staff, students, alumni) or the institution itself.

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Bylines are reserved for YFile staff members and freelance and special content contributors. Due to the detailed editing process, YFile does not offer bylines to York University Faculty/school/unit communications managers, faculty, other staff or students. 

Exception: Bylines are accepted for content appearing in YFile special issues and special content as per previously agreed arrangements with the organizing unit/school/Faculty. 

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YFile staff make significant attempts to fact-check and verify the accuracy of all published content to uphold its reputation as the University’s journal of record. All content is subject to review by two or more YFile and/or Communications & Public Affairs (C&PA) staff members. If there is a need for a correction, please direct requests to YFile staff outlining the error and the correct information, as well as the story’s headline and publication date. It is important to note that errors do happen on occasion, and the YFile team appreciates alerts from the community when an error does occur. YFile’s goal is to respond to errors as quickly as possible. Note: Please read the “Revisions to archived content” notation in the “Archives” section above for YFile’s policy on revising archived content.

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Criteria for inclusion in YFile

YFile celebrates academic and research excellence, student success, community engagement, teaching and learning and to support the University’s position as a global leader in higher education and research. During the academic year, YFile is also host to special issues that are published on select Fridays. These issues include a focus on research and discoveries, and teaching and learning innovation, new faculty members and more.

Members of the YFile team support all Faculties, Schools, campuses, central divisions and administrative units. YFile team members liaise with communication units across the University to create and guide YFile’s content development for York’s primary audience of faculty and staff, and secondary audience of students, friends of the University and the public. The team also responds to direct requests for content development/content sharing from senior leadership, faculty, staff, students and external parties through the publication’s online story form, and through direct email requests.

What does YFile report on?

  • Research news that highlights the innovations of the University’s faculty scholars and scientists, and the postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates with whom they work. This can include: newly published research (journals, books, etc.), newly funded research, research collaborations, research awards and prizes, etc.
  • Stories that reflect York University’s status as a higher education leader (rankings, unique initiatives, first-of-its-kind programming, innovations in teaching and learning, etc.).
  • Awards and recognitions for members of the York University community and the institution, including calls for nominations of University-led awards and prizes.
  • High-level announcements and news of community support – donor support, partnerships, scholarships that benefit undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Profiles of York people whose accomplishments support the University’s priorities and aspirations.
  • Administrative news and bulletins.
  • Announcements of appointments for senior leadership members (president, board chair, chancellor, ombudsperson, vice-president (including associate and assistant), provost (including vice and deputy), deans and principals. Other leadership roles are not announced in YFile, but instead within their respective divisions.
  • Promotion of activities or messages supporting days/months of significance in a pan-University context.
  • Content that relates to teaching and learning, specifically experiential education, internationalization, innovations in teaching and learning and student experience.
  • Content that supports the University’s work in advancing DEDI.
  • Content that supports the University’s work toward advancing the UN SDGs.
  • Content that supports the University’s Academic Plan and institutional priorities.
  • Announcements and notices that help members of the community learn what they need to know to do their jobs.
  • Announcements/notices relating to University operations, including institutional budgets, strategic plans, labour action, etc.
  • Advance promotion of York-led events that are open to the public and that convey the important role that York University plays in the local community.
  • Obituaries of York community faculty, staff, administrators, significant donors. YFile does not report on student deaths.

YFile does not report on:

  • Event recaps – stories on events that have already taken place (unless there is another news hook, such as an announcement for new funding, awards, new programming, new partnership, etc.). The exception, considered on a case-by-case basis, would be for pan-University events.
  • Faculty, School, department “review” publications and stories (year in review, annual review, etc.) The exception is Impact Reports, which are promoted through the Scoop.
  • Stories about news/articles published in other, external publications.
  • Student deaths/obituaries.
  • Stories on York programs/resources that lack new information (i.e. marketing-style stories).
  • Religious events.
  • Anniversary stories.

Contact the YFile team if you have questions regarding this criteria.

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When submitting content to YFile, please remember that YFile staff need ample time for the editorial review process, which includes story evaluation, copy editing, fact-checking and proofreading. 

Initial submission of content: Please submit content a minimum of five (5) days prior to preferred publication date. 

Final, approved copy: Please return final, approved copy two (2) days prior to publication. Content submitted the day before publication will be deferred to a later issue.  

Submissions to YFile should be made using the online story submission form

Late-breaking news: YFile staff make every effort to accommodate requests for specific publishing dates; however, the arrival of late-breaking news and announcements may shift the editorial lineup with little notice. 

YFile staff work 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. On occasion, and with advance warning, YFile can publish late-breaking institutional news after normal working hours. However, since overtime will be incurred, the Faculty/department/unit making the request must have approval from the Communications & Public Affairs Division’s director of strategic and internal communications,​​ Jacqueline Janelle, before YFile staff can proceed. 

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YFile adheres to all external and internal embargoes. Please clearly communicate any embargoes to the YFile team when the story is submitted or before the story is developed.  

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Events calendar  

All events included in YFile’s Upcoming Events section are pulled directly from the University’s central events calendar. Special requests can be made for events to be highlighted as featured events in the YFile email newsletter; however, not all featured event requests can be accommodated, as space is limited. To make a request, contact the YFile team.
Note: Depending on the number of submissions being received and the time of year, it can take up to two (2) days for a submitted event listing to appear on the calendar.  

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Event coverage (on campus)

YFile staff provide event coverage for high-profile, pan-University events such as major funding announcements, building dedications or presidential events. Requests for coverage should be made at least 10 days in advance to allow staff to plan. All other events can be submitted in advance to the York University central events calendar. Please see the “Events calendar” section above for more details. Key events for Faculties, such as special lectures, performances, conferences and symposia, can be promoted by YFile staff in advance.  

Multi-campus event coverage: For coverage of high-profile, pan-University events taking place at the Glendon Campus and/or Markham Campus, please send a request at least 10 days in advance, and if applicable, copy the appropriate communications manager for the campus location. 

Post-event coverage: Requests for/submissions of post-event coverage will be considered for inclusion in YFile if the event meets the following criteria: 

  • it is of interest to a wide or pan-University audience;
  • it has a news hook other than the event itself (funding announcement, award announcement, new initiative or program, etc.); and 
  • it has occurred within the past two (2) weeks. 

Requests/submissions that do not meet these criteria should be included on the Faculty/school/unit website and co-ordinated with the Faculty/school/unit communications manager. 

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AODA: All images must be ​​compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). For more information, visit the AODA website or York’s accessibility guidelines

Captions (cutlines): All images submitted to YFile must include correct caption information, including the correct full names and titles of people in the order that they appear. 

Credits: All images submitted to YFile must include image credit information (the photographer or the source of the image, along with permission to use the image in YFile). Images without source information may be rejected. 

Format: All images must be submitted in JPG format. YFile does not include PDF, PNG, TIFF, GIF or other formats in its publication. PDFs: Portable document files (PDFs) cannot be posted in YFile or in the events calendar, as they are not AODA compliant. 

Permissions: Externally sourced images may only be submitted to YFile with permission from the photographer or the source of the image. Images should be free from personal details such as family members, wedding or holiday backgrounds, or group settings where permission from other individuals shown in the image has not been secured. 

Sizes: Image size requirements for ads are outlined in the “Advertisements” section above; any other image submitted to YFile must be a minimum of ​​500 by 500 pixels.  

Students/minors: Images that include students will only be published with the understanding that the person/unit submitting the photo has ensured proper permissions and media release forms have been secured. These records should be maintained by the submitting party; YFile does not maintain these records. 

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LCD screens 

Select YFile stories and University events that are open to the community are highlighted in the York News section of the campus-wide LCD screens. To request LCD screen coverage for your upcoming event, it must first be submitted as an event listing to the York University central events calendar (see “Events calendar” section above). After your event is posted to the calendar, contact the YFile team with the link to your event listing and a suitable image (500 by 500 pixels). Note: Not all LCD screen requests can be accommodated, as space is limited to 15 news items on the network. Requests should be sent to yfile@yorku.ca with the subject line “LCD request.” 

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Notice of appointments/new hires

YFile publishes notices of appointments and new hires as outlined in the University’s Institutional Protocol and Process for Announcing Appointments and Senior-Level Hires (approved November 2022). The document outlines that appointment/new-hire notices that appear in YFile include:

  • President, board chair, chancellor
  • Vice-president (including associate and assistant)
  • Provost (including vice and deputy)
  • Dean, principal

Other leadership roles, such as associate deans, senior executive officer, chief of staff, director, should be announced to audiences within their respective divisions, Faculty or office by that division, Faculty of office.

Exception: YFile publishes the special issue “New Faces” in the fall to welcome new, full-time, permanent faculty to the University community.

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Publication schedule 

As of September 2021, the publication schedule for YFile is as follows: 

September to June: YFile publishes three (3) times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. 

July and August: YFile publishes two (2) times a week, on Monday and Thursday. 

Special issues: Special issues run on select Fridays, and occasionally on other days. 

Note: In the event of a STAT holiday on a Monday, YFile will publish Tuesday. The publication schedule is subject to change and will be kept up to date on YFile’s ​​About YFile webpage. 

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The Reminders section appears in the email newsletter only and features previously published headlines from YFile. Requests can be made to have a headline included in the Reminders section and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Common requests include: event reminders, calls-to-action (surveys, etc.), nominations and more.

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Social media

For requests pertaining to social media, please contact the Communications & Public Affairs Division’s digital marketing manager, Jason Miller

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Story content and common inquiries 

This section answers frequently asked questions about writing style that YFile receives from content creators across the University. 

Bold font: Names of those affiliated with York University will appear in bold on first reference. 

Capitalization: Capitalization rules outlined in the Writing Style Guide will be followed. Some common capitalization rules include: 

  • Job titles: A person’s job title is only capitalized if it precedes the person’s name (exception: honorific titles such as Distinguished Research Professor). 
  • Note: The title “Dr.” is only used for certain health-care professionals, as outlined in the Writing Style Guide 
  • Subjects: Subjects (areas of study) are not capitalized unless in reference to a department, Faculty, unit or school (e.g. science versus Faculty of Science; anthropology versus Department of Anthropology). 

Headlines: Headlines for YFile should be written in present tense using active verbs when possible. Headlines should be limited to 70 characters. For other style considerations on headlines, refer to the Canadian Press Stylebook

Length: Stories submitted to YFile should be about 400 words and no more than 750 words. Long-format stories are occasionally published in YFile. These story ideas are developed in advance, and support the University’s academic priorities, the University’s core values and the four pillars that guide the University’s vision. All stories and story ideas should be submitted to YFile through the online story submission form

Possessive adjectives, subject and pronouns: The use of first- and second-person possessive adjectives, subjects and pronouns are generally avoided in YFile stories and will be subject to revision by YFile staff. Please avoid the use of the following: “I, we, you, mine, ours, yours, my, our, your.” Exception 1: These can be included in direct quotes. Exception 2: If the story is presented as a statement or announcement that is attributed to a person or persons, these adjectives, subjects and pronouns can be included. 

Quote attributions: A direct quote can only be attributed to one source/speaker. A direct quote cannot be attributed to a group of people or a group of authors. In an instance when a direct quote is taken from a published work, the title of the work will be attributed, or it will be referred to as “the paper” or “the study.” Where a person is attributed in a direct quote, the attribution must include a full name (first and last) and cannot be anonymous. Exception: If the person attributed has been identified with first and last name in the story before the quote appears, the direct quote can be attributed using the last name only. 

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Story submissions 

YFile has an online story submission form available to assist with organizing requests. 

To better serve all Faculties and departments, story requests should be discussed with the Faculty or departmental communications managers before submitting to YFile.  

YFile’s mission is to support York University’s goals and objectives by celebrating academic and research excellence, student success, community engagement, teaching and learning. To ensure York news is shared with the right audience, YFile works closely with C&PA’s Media Relations & External Communications team. If your story is selected for external amplification by Media Relation & External Communications, YFile will respect any embargoes set by the Media Relations & External Communications team. For more on embargoes, visit the “Embargoes” section above. 

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YFile is published by York University’s Communications & Public Affairs Division (C&PA) and distributed by email newsletter to more than 7,000 faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the University. A subscription includes regular issues of YFile as well as special issues. Subscribe to YFile here

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YFile follows specific tagging conventions that align with the University’s overall tagging strategy. There is an accepted and approved list of YFile tags. York University communications staff and content creators are welcome to suggest up to five (5) additional tags to be assigned to a their YFile story and can do so using the online story submission form.   

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V​​ideos can be included in YFile stories on the YFile website as embedded properties from YouTube that are shareable with an embed code. ​​Videos cannot be included in the YFile email newsletter. ​​Requests for video creation should be directed to the appropriate Faculty or departmental communications manager. 

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Web resources 

YFile: ​​yfile.news.yorku.ca 
YFile online story submission form: yfile.news.yorku.ca/story-ideas 
YFile subscribe page: yfile.news.yorku.ca/subscribe 
YFile Approved Tag List: approved list
York University central events calendar: events.yorku.ca  
York University Writing Style Guide: link to document 
Communications & Public Affairs Division: ​​cpa.info.yorku.ca 

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