When you are an online “newspaper” that is dependent partially on contributions from your readership, it behooves you to establish editorial guidelines with respect to “style”: spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. Publicly declaring editorial standards sets the tone, and tells contributors and readers alike that you are serious and trustworthy. Without published standards, your content is all over the place.
But here’s the real question: does a publication without standards really care? Is it trustworthy? Is its writing professional, or is it half-assed?
I just saw a great example of a publication with no standards. (And, no, I’m not talking about The Huffington Post.) And here’s what it said about submissions. My editorial comments are in brackets.
“Write for XY News (XYN)” is a feature for guest writers to write about issues relevant to both ER & Global Defense.
[No, no. The quotation marks shouldn’t encompass the acronym; take the acronym out entirely. Plus, why is “global defense” capitalized? It’s not a proper noun phrase.]
Are you a newbie writer? Do you have story ideas but are hesitant to write it or have a writer’s block? Do you have a flair for writing, have a sound analytical insight, aren’t afraid of criticism then XYN is the right platform to connect with a daily average visitor base of more than 1,50,000 page views. XYN is one of the world’s most popular defense related websites.
[Where to start. There’s no such number as “1,50,000”; they either claim 1,500,000 page views or 150,000 page views, but I can’t believe they get a fraction of that. And there’s no noun-pronoun agreement between “ideas” (plural) and “it” (singular)! And that “Do you have a flair” sentence is a run-on (and on) in a big way. And don’t forget the hyphen in defense-related! Boo!]
Please note that XYN is a highly professional and dedicated defense news website and we do not publish unrelated articles or content that are lifted from other sources.
[Yeah, right. Here’s another run-on sentence. Plus, when you have an “or” construction (“articles or content”), the verb agrees with the noun closest to it, which, in this case, is singular, so that verb should be “is,” not “are.”]
The article must be at least 500+ words. Any relevant images for your post will be published by us. We’re not interested in articles that were half-assed, or slapped together in a few minutes.
[I would say that “at least” makes the + sign redundant: one or the other, but not both. There’s a big problem with the verb tense in the “We’re not interested” sentence, because you’ve got to say “articles that are half-assed or were slapped together….” And I’m highly offended to see the word “half-assed” directed at potential contributors because this website’s content is so very lousy and this “call for submissions” text is some of the worst I’ve ever seen. “Half-assed” has no place in professional writing. No. Place.]
Share your own/original thoughts and blog your heart out. We look forward to hearing from you!
I’ll tell you what: f I were a potential contributor, someone serious, someone with credibility, I’d take my defense news elsewhere, to people who weren’t so half-assed.
Geez! And these people are writing about global defense and misspelling the word “jet.” Unbelievable. And, that’s the sad thing. Their articles are unbelievable because their writing is so poor. I wouldn’t trust ’em as far as I could lob a missile at ’em.