Write & promote PIN queries - Build the question form

Michael Caputo -


Now we'll talk about producing the question form you'll send to sources - using Querymaker.

Getting started

You'll access Querymaker by going to the series of six buttons at the top of the AIR page and clicking on the plus sign. Then select "query."

A pop-up window will appear where you will title the query and give a short description. That description would be meant for an RSS feed. Make sure your organization is selected. And know that Querymaker defaults to your home project. You can always change that later.

After you've clicked save... you can edit the form. Here you will write a fuller description - one that will show up on your query page. Tell sources what you want to ask about, why you are asking them and what your newsroom will do with the information.

Let's use that "Full Description" field to show you how to edit. Simply hover over the field to see the "edit" option. Click on it ... and begin writing. You can edit with full formatting capability - or write the HTML code by clicking on the "source" tab.

This is how you will edit all aspects of the form.

The first of the three fields to edit is the contact fields section - the source contact information you want to collect. All queries require First Name, Last Name, Email and Postal Code. For more fields, click the “Add a field” tab, then drag what you want from the Contact Fields section. You can edit the text that will display for each field and reorder them.

To publish or not to publish...

To layout your questions, you'll need to make a choice - whether you want to ask a question that could be published as a public response... or keep the response unpublished. You do this by dragging questions either to the publishable field or non-publishable field.

Those in the publishable field can appear on your Insights Page for this query - using AIR's publishing API. We'll get into that later.

Notice that when you move a question into the publishable section an additional question will automatically appear - the permission question. That's mandatory because we require the source to choose whether they want their responses to be public.

Question choice are under the "add a field" tab. Text questions are "single line text" and "paragraph text." These are the questions with the most potential - because they allow the source to fully tell their story.

You'll also find multiple choice questions - check-box, drop-down, radio buttons. There are useful for the responses they provide - but they are also a great way to get sources warmed up to write.

You also have demographic questions to learn more about the source.

While working on the query, you can see how it looks by click the “Preview” tab on the left.

The settings tab

Now let's look at the settings tab. We'll start with the authorizations panel. Make sure your newsroom is chosen in the organization field and that the project is correct - typically it will be the default project - your newsroom's catchall project. Also, pay attention to the Opt-in-to-Global PIN flag. Clicking "yes" here will opt all people who respond to the global PIN.

You can choose the author of the query. This is important if you want your pages to be public-facing. You can choose multiple authors by hovering over the "expand box" in the upper right corner.

Type in the name of an author and choices will appear. You can also designate people to "watch" the responses that come in - using the same method.

The publishing panel

To edit the panel - click the pencil icon.

You can upload an image that will show up on Facebook if you share it there. You can select a deadline for the message - a way to communicate to sources that you'd like to hear from them by a certain date, while still keeping the query beyond that date. You can also choose a date for the query to expire.

It's important to type in a thank you message - the message sources will see if they respond and if you want the query to show up on publicinsightnetwork.org.

What is editable here:

  • The image – this is the image that would publish to Facebook etc. when the query link is shared there.
  • The publish date – the date the query goes live on the Internet.
  • The deadline date — the date by which you need to gather responses to the query.  The query won't go away after this date.
  • A deadline message — the message sources will see regarding the deadline.
  • An expire date — the date by which you want the query to disappear (seldom used).
  • An expire message — the message sources will see if they arrive at the query link after the expire link.  Best to use this to direct sources to your content or other queries.
  • A thank you message — the message that will be displayed to sources on the query page after they submit their response. This does NOT populate the automatic thank you that is sent to the source and includes the text of their response for their records.  The automatic thank you cannot be edited per-query.
  •  Check or no check in the "Display on PIN.org/RSS feed" box.  This should default to checked.

Once the query is ready to be published, just click the "publish" button at the bottom of the panel.

Click the “Overview” tab on the left and you'll notice the various page links you can use. You'll notice that you have a full link or a short link option for the Insights page.

And it's that public-facing Insights Page that you'll send your sources. We'll talk about all the publishable aspects of this page in upcoming tutorials.

 *****To return to the main tutorial page*****

Have more questions? Submit a request


Please sign in to leave a comment.
Powered by Zendesk