Writing Tip: What is a sidebar?

British College of Journalism
1 min readApr 14, 2018

A sidebar/ box is an extra piece of copy that is separate from the main section. It’s there to add value, or for extra information that might sit awkwardly in the main copy.

For instance, travel features will often have a “how to get there” box, or “where to stay”. A feature on a footballer might list his goal scoring record season by season.

Unless stated, sidebars will usually be included in the word count for the article. So 1000 words usually means just that, not 1000 words plus sidebar.

Many students actually design a sidebar into their copy — some even tint it a different colour. I hate to say it (as it does look pretty) but this is a waste of time. Magazines and newspapers will design their own. So just write “sidebar” and carry on as before.

Learn more with the British College of Journalism

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British College of Journalism

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