News should be timely (the last 72 hours), relevant to a significant number of people, and unusual, interesting and have significant repercussions. Bear in mind the impact of your story. Does it affect a lot of people or a limited few? Does it have emotional appeal? The prominence of any people featured in your story also comes into play; if the subject is a well-known public figure, your story has the potential to get a lot of attention.
So, what we're looking for at NowPublic is:
- authentic and tightly-focused pieces that tell a relevant story
- news that offers concrete information of wide interest
- research in context that it is well-balanced, objective, and specific
- content that adds something to the public discussion rather than recycled ideas
- facts citing solid and verifiable sources rather than opinion
- 250-600 words that the world both needs and wants.
Think about your own surf habits and how impatiently you skip from one page to another until you find what you're looking for, ie. articles that are entertaining, relevant, and true. Keep it fresh and useful and put the material out there and trust sophisticated readers to glean what’s relevant to them without overstating your own perspective.
Don't make them take your word for it - give them a reputable reference and resource to supplement what you’ve said (we don't mean Wikipedia) and don’t back into the article – write a strong, tight lead, build your progression of facts logically, and end with authority.
If you are highlighting external sources within your story, be sure to include your own original commentary or introduction. Writing in your own words is what really makes your contributions valuable.
Point of View
NowPublic follows the traditional practice of using the 3rd-person voice, still conveying information that is clearly a result of personal investigation, research, participation or tested practice. This avoids misrepresenting the site as a collective and unedited blog and isn’t overly familiar and off-putting for readers who want information before your personal history.Your name in the byline will say it all – you were there, you’ve lived it, you know it, you stand by this information and vouch for its authenticity. Overstating the “I” with frequent use makes the story appear more about you and less about the relevant information you impart (that’s why readers have come) and can come across, however unintentionally, as self-serving.
Inverted Pyramid and the 5Ws
One of the best practices for writers is to follow the 5Ws guideline by investigating the Who, What, Where, When and Why of a story including:
If you can’t identify what makes your story unique and interesting, chances are nobody else will either.
- Who is driving the story? Who is it about? Who is affected? Who benefits? Who loses?
- What has happened? What are the consequences? What does this mean for the reader?
- Where is this taking place (building, neighbourhood, city, country)? Where should readers go to learn more?
- When did it happen (time of day, day, month, year)? When was the last update? When can you expect to learn more? When will the effects be felt?
- Why did this event take place? Why is this important in the big picture? Why should readers care?
We're looking for trends, responses to events, breaking stories, scoops, newly-announced changes, the latest research, scandal or cultural event. That can mean reviews of new books, movies, products, music, software, destinations, services etc - but that's not the same as an endorsement. Weigh the pros and cons, recommended the item or not and don't forget to link to related material that's new again in light of recent information.