On Contributions by Anna
March 4, 2009, 3:06 pm
Filed under: Anna | Tags: , , ,

This week the American Observer tackled the weighty issue of lobbying in D.C… or rather, lobbying in general, including the new laws and a history of modern advocacy.

Unfortunately, as Russ mentioned earlier this week, several of us were tied up in editing and choosing decent advocate profiles from a giant pile sent to us by Jane Hall’s Advanced Reporting class. Out of the 15 or so that were submitted, we chose to publish four. Kind of sad, huh? Well… I think we could have curbed our problems with the articles if we had laid out the following guidelines:

  • Contributions have to be well-sourced. All of these profiles had a single source, which, had we published them without editing, would have sounded as if the American Observer was advocating them, too. We can’t have that.
  • We need to know EXACTLY what the stories are before we agree to receive contributions. Apparently Professor Hall told her students it was okay to only speak to one person as the source for the piece… had we known that, we would have said no from the beginning and saved everyone a lot of time and work.
  • Art is required. Since the beginning of the semester, we decided to make the Observer more magazine-y and multimedia heavy. That means art. Give us a photo, a graphic, whatever… just give us SOMETHING.

So that’s what I think. As managing editor for the past week, I was very involved in the entire process, so consider it a word from the experienced, and now the wiser.

Cross-posted to American Observer and Escapador.


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[…] an earlier post, Anna explained our decision in a little more detail and suggested some ways to make the system work smoot… for future collaborations with outside classes hoping to contribute to the Observer. I responded […]

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