Author Guidelines

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Welcome to the Global Voices author guide. This is a reference document to help the community ensure high editorial standards across the entire GV site.

Related articles: Welcome to New Authors | GV Posting Guide | Style Guide | Commenting Guidelines | Decentralised Publishing | Demotix Image Guidelines

Who is Who at Global Voices?

A lot of people are involved in making Global Voices tick day to day (including you!). Make sure you have at least one editor who is your primary contact person, and that you are subscribed to the appropriate GV Google Groups.

The easiest way to see who is who, is to visit:

http://wiki.globalvoicesonline.org/article/Style_Guide#GV_Editorial_Code

GV Editorial Code

Read our code was drafted and endorsed by the Global Voices Community on August 5, 2013 >> GV Editorial Code

Publishing Process

We have two kinds of posts on Global Voices: long form posts and the shorter quick reads that are under 200 words The long form posts appear on the left/center of the GV homepage, and the short 200 words and under quick reads appear in the right-hand column (these are mostly written by Editors).

The Managing Editor selects which posts are featured at the top of the homepage every day.

Global Voices Authors cannot publish directly onto the GV website. When you write and save a draft of a post, you should email your editor to let them know it is ready to be reviewed and published.

Editors are never automatically notified that posts are ready for review!

Style Guide

For a comprehensive guide on GV style that all authors need to adhere to when posting, see the Style Guide.

If you have any queries on GV style and formatting that aren't answered in the style guide, please be sure to contact your editor.

GV Story Checklist

Before submitting your Global Voices article for review, check these items:

  • Headline: Will readers feel compelled to share this headline on Facebook and does it have the keywords that search engines need to bring it right to the top?
  • Lead: Do you have a captivating 15-25-word summary of the story somewhere in the first three paragraphs of the post?
  • Photo: Is there a nice big image at the top that is at least 800x600 px? Do we have *permission to use it? Did you include that info in the caption and the link? And did you upload it to the feature box?
  • Context: Did you highlight our purpose for telling the story? Why is this story breaking, trending or why is it important to us? Did you give the reader enough background to understand this story?
  • Commentary: Did you add 1-6 tweets or citizen media comments? Include some background on the person making the comment. Is a real name associated with the account or is the account under a pseudonym for a person who wants to stay anonymous – we should specify. Is the commenter an expert on the region? Or is he or she just a really well informed comedian from the region? Do they have 10K followers on Twitter; let’s add that in. Or are they an eyewitness? We should specify why their voice is being amplified.
  • Big Picture closing: What do you want to reader to feel when they finish the post? Should they have a sense of how big the problem is? Or should they feel hopeful? Make sure your last few words speak to them.
  • Categories: Did you select the most relevant categories?
  • Excerpt: Did you include an excerpt that is different from the lead?
  • Thumbnail: Did you remember to select a thumbnail image?

Finally

  • Saved copy of html post in text editor prior to submitting in case of tech errors
  • Notified your regional or language editor that your post is ready for review

Thank you for writing for Global Voices.

Republishing Process

If you have published a post on Global Voices Advocacy or Rising Voices and would you like to have it published on Global Voices Online too, please consult the relevant regional or language editor first, and should they agree, please follow the process below.

Fetching post content in Posts > Add New

The first step is grabbing the URL (link) of the source post that you want to import and entering it in the Lingua Translator box in the New Post screen of the site you are translating for (although it is called 'Lingua' it does not matter if it is from Advocacy or Rising Voices).

  • Go to the source post you want to import, on Global Voices Advocacy or Rising Voices.
  • Copy the url.
  • Go to the Global Voices in English dashboard
  • Go to Posts > Add New
  • Paste the URL of source post into the GV Lingua Translation box.
  • Click the Fetch Post Data button.

This will check that the url is valid, save the translation record and return the content from the source post to your new post. The following information should automatically be populated in your new post based on returned data:

  • Post title
  • Post content
  • Post excerpt (if it exists at the source)
  • All post categories that exist in Global Voices in English. You will need to update the categories under 'Topics'
  • Post thumbnail image (if it exists at the source)
  • Other post metadata (featured images, etc.)
Box after content import

After you fetch content the GV Lingua Translation box will also show you information about the source post to confirm that the source record is working properly. Please ensure that the information is correct and that it links to the post you are importing.

Note: The system is set up to show you errors if there is a problem with your url. Please read any errors carefully and follow their instructions. An error that you need not to worry is the reminder about the categories – just choose the ones that you find equivalent/necessary. If you have continued problems please contact your Editor.

Author Resources

'How To' Tutorials & Screencasts

Screencast: How to create a post on Global Voices

Screencast: How to format text in posts on Global Voices

Screencast: Images and thumbnails in posts on Global Voices

Screencast: Links in images and image captions on Global Voices

Screencast: Copyright and Creative Commons Basics on Global Voices

Screencast: Editing your profile on Global Voices

Screencast: How to translate a post for a Lingua website

Screencast: How to embed an audio file into a Global Voices post

Tutorials homepage

Services and tools to curate content

Twitter

Following Hashtags

Recommended Clients

Facebook

  • Searching specific terms Foupas

Photos

  • Flickr Note: Make use of advanced options.

Rights & Responsibilities

Our broad goals and values are outlined in the Global Voices Manifesto. This document was co-authored by Global Voices contributors and translated to many languages.

Responsibility Guidelines

  • It is the responsibility of both Authors and Editors to communicate with one another in a friendly and respectful manner. We are a community that is built upon trust and friendship across borders.
  • It is the responsibility of Editors to respond to email from Authors expediently, but also for Authors to understand that Editors often travel or may be otherwise unavailable. Editors should communicate when they will be offline.
  • Authors submit drafts of their posts for review and editing by Editors. It is the responsibility of the Author to submit accurate and coherent reports that have been spell-checked and prepared to the Author's best ability.
  • Editors are responsible for editing posts so they adhere to Global Voices quality standards for both content and format. Editors should allow Authors to review significant changes before publication, but ultimately Editors have authority to make changes for accuracy and appropriate presentation.
  • Editors answer to Global Voices Managing Editor. If Authors feel wronged or concerned with any aspect of Global Voices work or management, they are welcome to email the Managing Editor directly for advice or mediation.
  • Global Voices Volunteers have two elected representatives on the Board of Global Voices who are also available to hear any queries or complaints, and bring them to the Board if necessary.
  • In order to be considered "active", Authors must write regularly (or semi-regularly) for Global Voices and participate to their best ability on mailing lists. If they are "inactive" for more than a few months, they may be removed from mailing lists. But Authors are always welcome to return after any absence!

Protecting Authors

As we all know, higher powers have ways to switch off the internet in moments of crisis and conflict or make people mysteriously disappear. Politics, conflicts, earthquakes, floods. It could really happen anywhere, usually when we least expect it.

Problem: In crazier months, we've previously struggled in several cases to locate alternative contact information for authors (like landline or mobile numbers) and it's made us acutely aware of how important it is for us to keep more information about how to reach authors in case they're not able to respond email. It doesn't matter where you live. This goes for everyone.

Solution: We have now added more fields to the profile information, and we ask authors to enter in the system when they have an account on Global Voices in English. This includes, phone numbers, city of residence, and emergency contact. All this is voluntary, but authors are urged to update their profiles immediately. Only editors will have access to this information.

Please login and visit this link.


Promoting Authors

In addition to the serious safety fields, we have added a few (hopefully) personally rewarding fields for authors to update.

  1. When you enter your Twitter name in your profile, readers who click on the "Tweet" button on any of your articles will be invited to "follow" you on Twitter immediately after.
  2. One of the new fields we have added is "Blog RSS". If you enter the feed of your personal blog, we hope at some point to have a GV community website that pulls in headlines from all the blogs of active authors. It's just an idea (actually, from the Summit) but if you add your feeds we can work on it.
  3. If you fill in all the fields we may be able to display information about authors in more interesting ways (for instance a map) or similar, fun things. So, please fill out ALL the fields.
  4. When you update your biography readers will know about all the exciting things you are working on apart from Global Voices.


Social Media

GV encourages authors to promote their own work and the work of other GV community members; it helps drive traffic to our site and help us continue the important work of the organisation.

Make sure you promote your articles and any other GV content that interest you via social media resources and tool!

See the GV Social Media Guidelines (coming soon) for advice and tips.

Impartiality and Diversity of Opinion

Global Voices strives to keep a neutral tone, so we ask Authors to keep personal opinion restricted to their own blogs, and be fair in quoting multiple voices on a story.

As a community, we are very broadly committed to freedom of expression, peace, and human rights, but our inclusiveness of Authors from so many different backgrounds means we must be open-minded and refrain from making statements for or against different issues on behalf of the whole community.

Covering Conflicts

We have an especially great responsibility to be fair and accurate in times of conflict, where either side is looking to prove they have been wronged. Scrutiny of unknown sources is extremely important, and we want to avoid using sensational language, or repeating numbers of dead or wounded early on in a conflict. Whether our sources are partisan groups, news reporters, or neutral observers such as the United Nations, we should be extremely cautious and never accept "facts" without question.

Reporting Breaking News

"Personal accounts", or translations of really good blog posts giving first hand stories of things that have happened are good ways that GV in particular can add value to breaking news.

Social media storytelling tools such as Storify can help when editors/regions are faced with a massive work load due to breaking news. However, these tools should only be used sparingly. Please consult with your editor regarding their use.

Reporting Suicide Responsibly

Some suicide deaths may be newsworthy, however, it has been acknowledged that the way media covers suicide can influence behavior negatively by contributing to contagion or positively by encouraging help-seeking. Think about reporting on suicide as a health issue, not just in response to a recent death.

As a global website – considering that online news are available at fingerprints and can be easily found through keywords – GVO can have a huge impact on people's decision to take their lives or not, and I hope we all agree we would rather having them keeping their lives.

Although culturally speaking, talking about suicide may differ from country to country, GVO is a global website catering for the whole word, so we need to be very extra careful when bringing ultra sensitive issues like this to a global audience.

Many convincing pieces of research that shows people are affected by how suicide is reported or depicted, both in news and fiction. If the reporting glamourises and/or banalises it – depressed people living at risk can take news as endorsement to support their decision to take their lives. According to the World Health Organisation:

"Suicide is perhaps the most tragic way of ending one’s life. The majority of people who consider suicide are ambivalent. They are not sure that they want to die. One of the many factors that may lead a vulnerable individual to suicide could be publicity about suicides in the media. How the media report on suicide cases can influence other suicides. "

"Clinicians and researchers acknowledge that it is not news coverage of suicide per se, but certain types of news coverage, that increase suicidal behaviour in vulnerable populations. Conversely, certain types of coverage may help to prevent imitation of the suicidal behaviour. Nevertheless, there is always the possibility that publicity about suicide might make the idea of suicide seem “normal”. Repeated and continual coverage of suicide tends to induce and promote suicidal preoccupations, particularly among adolescents and young adults.""

Also according to the World Health Organisation:

"Sensational coverage of suicides should be assiduously avoided, particularly when a celebrity is involved. The coverage should be minimized to the extent possible. Any mental health problem the celebrity may have had should also be acknowledged. Every effort should be made to avoid overstatement. Photographs of the deceased, of the method used and of the scene of the suicide are to be avoided. Front page headlines are never the ideal location for suicide reports."

Reporting, however, can also be used to raise awareness and promote suicide prevention. Websites like Samaritans, Reporting on Suicide and Suicide.org have a lot of information for reporters working on suicide stories to help them do it in a way that will help prevent suicides.

Reporting Suicide on Global Voices

If you decide to write a post, you must adhere to the above mentioned, and also:

  • Add hyperlinks to sources of support to ensure that people in distress can access useful resources quickly.
  • Add the following statement to the end of your post using the "notes" style:

The number one cause for suicide is untreated depression. Depression is treatable and suicide is preventable. You can get help from confidential support lines for the suicidal and those in emotional crisis. Please visit www.befrienders.org to find a suicide prevention helpline in your country.

  • When translating a post about a suicide, localise the statement above to include more specific suicide prevention information available in your language/country.
  • Right after publication, repeat the national suicide prevention lifeline information in the first comment box and close the post for public commentary.

Do and Don't

Below is a quick 'do and don't' list put together by World Health Organisation which you should follow if you decide to go ahead with a news piece about a suicide case – but prior to that, we need to think: is this suicide story really newsworthy? Before writing, please consult the managing editor.

WHAT TO DO

  • Work closely with health authorities in presenting the facts;
  • Refer to suicide as a completed suicide, not a successful one;
  • Present only relevant data, on the inside pages;
  • Highlight alternatives to suicide;
  • Provide information on helplines and community resources;
  • Publicize risk indicators and warning signs.


WHAT NOT TO DO

  • Don’t publish photographs or suicide notes;
  • Don’t report specific details of the method used;
  • Don’t give simplistic reasons;
  • Don’t glorify or sensationalize suicide;
  • Don’t use religious or cultural stereotypes;
  • Don’t apportion blame.

We can also reduce the type of language that may increase suicide risk. Samaritans advises:

USE PHRASES LIKE

  • A suicide
  • Die by suicide
  • Take one’s own life
  • A suicide attempt
  • A completed suicide
  • Person at risk of suicide
  • Help prevent suicide

AVOID PHRASES LIKE

  • A successful suicide attempt
  • An unsuccessful suicide attempt
  • Commit suicide. (Suicide is now decriminalised so it is better not to talk about ‘committing suicide’ but use ‘take one's life’, or ‘die by suicide’ instead.)
  • Suicide victim
  • Just a cry for help
  • Suicide-prone person
  • Stop the spread/epidemic of suicide
  • Suicide ‘tourist’

References and Further Resources

  • Fight the Fog, an informal campaign by European Commission's translators urging writers and speakers to be as clear as possible in their original language.