Civil.ge has home staff that provides most of news items and some news analysis coverage. However, we are open to contributions in news analysis, opinion and features sections. To suggest an article, please write to our Editor-in-Chief indicating “article suggestion” in the subject line, a proposed lead of the story, and your brief bio (for the first-time contributors, longer resume with publications list would be desirable) at Otto.firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do we publish?
The dominant style of our articles is news analysis: these are informative and balanced pieces of 950-1100 words, with a strong perspective of the author. The news analysis is factual and analytical. Articles should make a point, but they should do so with facts, intelligence and restraint. The reader should end up with information – what is happening, why the author thinks it is happening and an idea of why is it important. The best example are news reports (not the leaders) in The Economist.
The opinion/commentary pieces, give a forum for our authors who have something important to say. These pieces must be shorter – typically 550-650 words. A piece must be proscriptive as well as critical, and must be well-written. For a good example, see the op-ed pages of the International Herald Tribune.
Features are articles that tell stories. Their art is in reporting as much as in writing, and they are dependent on the evocative detail that makes the point. If you are on the scene, don’t say what you think, say what you see. Features take the reader there. It takes an exceptional talent to write a good feature story. We hope to find some. Knowing how difficult it is to come up with good feature stories, we are open for your suggestions, and to contributions of various length and structure.
The news analysis article is our dominant style. The author of the news analysis article takes you in a direction, but this direction is firmly rooted in a factual basis. The article aims to be both informative and balanced in presenting the ongoing debate.
Our news analysis articles have the following basic structure:
Lead: 30-40 words telling the reader who did what, where, when and why. The aim of the lead is to grab the reader’s attention immediately, to let them know straightaway why they should read this story, rather than clicking over to read any of the thousands of other stories on the Internet. It should be strong, explaining exactly the importance of the piece.
Significance: a paragraph telling us who the event is important, what it is likely to affect, and how is the country/region/policy going to change as a result.
Context: one or two paragraphs, describing as briefly as possible past developments immediately preceding this new event, which help the reader understand the actors, stakes and trends.
Analysis: break down the issue at hand into understandable bits, expand on your lead by providing analytical format, presenting sub-issues, arguments and counter-arguments that frame the discussion. If you decide to include quotes, pay attention to presenting diverse points of view.
Outlook: In one paragraph, based on your analysis, tell the readers how are things likely to develop.
Conclusion: refer to your lead, stress the importance of the matter. Try to leave a lasting image in your readers’ mind. Never add new information here.
To write a good news analysis, it is helpful to imagine that you are telling someone a story of importance for both of you, which requires your joint action. Be factual, present your vision of the situation, but not your opinion about the protagonists. Omit needless words.
For us, opinion/commentary is a piece of intelligent argument, written for an intelligent audience. The author must ensure his argument can stand up to an informed criticism.
This is not a blog: it is not about personal experiences or emotions of the author. It is especially not a space for rage or rant.
- Must be based on expert knowledge, analysis and assessment;
- Focus on one subject. We know it is tempting, but please do not go on the tangents!
- Present personal – and hopefully novel – insights in a lively, and even controversial manner, inciting the reader to look at the problem or issue from a different angle.
We would also like to ask you to:
- Use examples and stories, rather than confronting the reader with just your opinion;
- Focus on the issue and not on writer’s own experiences;
- Emphasize intelligence and argument, rather than emotions.
While we differ on certain minor points of style and structure, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting provides an excellent overview of article styles, do’s and don’ts on its training pages. Please refer to these, if you need further guidance.