Monday, April 16, 2018

Captions Basics

New to the Digital Communications Internship or just want to brush up your caption-writing skills? Then this is the guide for you! Nearly all Digital Communications Interns will be required to write captions. This blog post will teach the basics to get new interns started. 

Note: If you would prefer to learn through a document, click here to read the original DCI Captions document. If you enjoy presentations, click here to view the DCI Captions Basics presentation. 

General Format

DCI captions all generally follow the same format, consisting of

  1. hook (optional but recommended)
  2. declaration of the event and congratulatory or interesting comment
  3. solid info (who what where when why)
  4. additional info and results
  5. future plans
  6. credits


The most covered topic is Arcadia High's sports games. Captions must include 

  1. names of both teams
  2. whether it was a win or loss
  3. where and when the game took place
  4. overall season record
  5. congratulatory words (if it is a win)
  6. when and where the next game is
  7. any additional info (for example, if it is a special game such as a Senior Night)

Also, watch out for special sports vernacular! They vary from sport to sport and can be quite tricky, so be sure to do a little research before writing a caption, especially if it is your first time covering an event of that sport. Below is an example of tennis vernacular.  
A tennis match is composed of points, games, and sets. A set consists of a number of games (a minimum of six), which in turn each consist of points.
—"Tennis scoring system" on Wikipedia


Nearly all other events fall into another category, sharing similar qualities such as

  1. event name
  2. performers
  3. directors/staff
  4. ticket price, different types of tickets, where to buy (if it is ongoing)
  5. time, date(s), location
 Be sure to thank large groups and important people (e.g. a show director, choreographer) for their contributions to the event. 


When DCI interns cover events, the credits always begin with "Photos by Digital Communications Interns". If staff members helped out, simply include them as "staff". Unfortunately, we do not name parents and others who contributed due to previous instances where people helped just to get their name mentioned. 

An example credits statement:
Photos by Digital Communications Interns Travis Chen, Kelin Graul, and staff. 


If you want your caption to be extra interesting and deviate from the standard hard facts, research is the way to go! You may also need to research to find out info or fact-check. Some great resources are
  1. Twitter
  2. Apache BigTeams
  3. Facebook
  4. boosters social media pages


Make sure to be courteous! For example, don’t use words like “demolished” and “pulverized”. Instead, just say we “defeated” or “beat” another team. While we are glad our team won, we must remain polite and professional.

Fully spell out acronyms because not everyone knows what something stands for. For example, the Performing Arts Center (PAC) was built a few years ago, so old alumni may not recognize the name "PAC". 

Of course, watch out for common mistakes:

  1. AHS’ Boy’s Varsity Basketball should be Arcadia’s Boys Varsity Basketball
  2. don’t start with the date
  3. basic grammar (such as it’s vs its)


Want to spice up your caption? You can start with a hook sentence to pull in interested readers. Hook sentences can include shocking changes during a sports game, unexpected outcomes, and a catchy idiom. 

To make sentences sound better and more interesting, you can start with a verb. Also, more info that helps the caption deviate from the standard solid info will make your caption stand out!


If you want to see some examples of what a great caption looks like, simply head over to Arcadia Unified's Facebook page or Instagram account


Now that you've read this all, why not try putting your skills to the test? I created two imaginary but normal events that the typical DCI intern would cover. Give them a try!
(They're rather short so feel free to make up some more info that, while writing a caption for a real game, you'd find through research.)

  1. 2/9 Girls basketball home game vs CV, win 56-48, next game 2/16 vs San Marino at San Marino
  2. Orchestra Fall Concert, 10/20, all 3 AHS orchestras, in PAC, 5-7 PM, tickets are $3 for students, $5 for anyone else

Feel free to comment your "caption" below!


Thanks for reading! Here are the links to other forms of this article, reiterated in a different format. 

Original DCI Captions Document
DCI Captions Basics Presentation

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