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The Complete Guide to Writing for the Classy Libertarian

To fulfill our mission with the Classy Libertarian, we believe every aspect of our publication should be transparent both to contributors and our readers. That’s why we’re publishing our writing guides and internal structure for the world to see, and to hold us accountable to the standards we’ve set for ourselves.

RECRUITMENT REQUIREMENTS

Definitions:

Contributor: A student or guest with an author page and at least one article on the site. Submissions of opinions pieces and news reports are accepted from contributors on a rolling basis and published at the discretion of the editorial board.

Student Reporter: A regular contributor to the Classy Libertarian. Student reporters are expected to provide a minimum of (1) 800-1200 word OR (2) 400+ word news reports per month.

Opinions Columnist: A regular opinions contributor to the Classy Libertarian. Columnists are expected to provide a minimum of (1) 800-1200 word piece OR (2) 400+ word pieces per month within a specific category of the site.

Staff: A team member responsible for performing specific duties related to publishing and promoting content.

Prerequisites:

Contributor: Students or guests interested in being contributors to the publication must first be accepted to a campus coordinator position with Students for Liberty. Guests interested in being contributors to the publication will be accepted on a rolling basis at the discretion of the editorial board.

Student Reporter: Students or guests interested in being a columnist for the publication must first be accepted to write for the Classy Libertarian as a contributor. After (2) months of regularly meeting deadlines, they will be offered a promotion to Student Reporter, writing across categories.

Opinions Columnist: Students or guests interested in being a columnist for the publication must first be accepted to write for the Classy Libertarian as a contributor. After (2) months of regularly meeting deadlines, they will be offered a promotion to a columnist in one of the site categories. Columnists may use their involvement with the publication to satisfy their project requirements as an SFL campus coordinator.

Staff: Students or guests interested in being a volunteer staff member for the Classy Libertarian will be accepted to specific positions at the discretion of the editorial board.

WRITING STANDARDS

Topics:

Each article’s topic must be related to news and/or politics and must be cleared by an editor before you begin working on it. To submit an article pitch you’ll need to do it on our Trello workspace. Trello is an outline platform allowing us to post ideas for editors and other contributors to see. Here you’ll be able to help strengthen other contributor’s pieces by suggesting sources or adding comments as well as having your own work critiqued. Editors will approve or decline article pitches and you’ll be able to work with them to develop your topics.

Trello:

To log into the Classy Libertarian’s Trello board please click the embedded link and make an account on the site if you do not have one already.  After that make sure to direct message one of the editors and we will give you access to the board.

Sources:

Because we value the accuracy of our writing as well as the overall quality, we will not run an article until it has been properly sourced, period. You are responsible for sourcing your own work. The editors have no obligation to add or update your sources for you, and they will instruct you to add a source if you neglect to do so, which may delay the publication of your article if this is not fulfilled in a timely manner. Hyperlink the source to a single-word or three-word phrase (usually a verb, sometimes a noun). No more than three words should ever be hyperlinked. (Take a look at some of the other articles if you want to know how this will look when the final piece goes up). If you need help thinking through how best to source your argument, keep in mind some of these guidelines:

Sources don’t have to be added to define obvious or blatant information (i.e. everyone knows that Barack Obama was president, so there’s no need to source that info), but if you are citing a news story, statistics, a particular document, or a video, you must link to that source. 

Only reputable sources are permitted. Reputable sources include most news sites/publications, academic/scientific studies, documents, etc. Non-reputable sources include Wikipedia, small publications, blogs, etc. If you have any questions on if a certain source is acceptable, ask an editor.

A source you cite should undoubtedly say what you are claiming it says. It should not be something you interpret it as saying.

Structure/Substance:

  • Keep the article’s information flowing in a logical sequence. This doesn’t mean you have to tell a story from beginning to end, but don’t veer off topic or add in needless (extra) information.
  • Use single-sentence paragraphs in extreme moderation. Choppy does not equal more effective.
  • Please do not double-space between sentences.
  • If you think something might be too edgy to say in your article, the odds are it is. Feel free to check with an editor, however.
  • Feel free to experiment and have fun with the voice/style of your article, but keep it in a professional tone.
  • ENDORSING CANDIDATES: Articles are not allowed to explicitly take a position on behalf of SFL or the Classy Libertarian. Even writing an article saying you personally condemn or applaud a candidate can be misconstrued by our friends the IRS to attack our 501c3 tax status. Articles like this will not be published.

Introduction and Conclusion:

Put a lot of effort into your introduction and conclusion paragraphs. These two paragraphs are the only ones the reader will truly digest.

Introduction: Making a catchy/witty/intriguing introductory paragraph is the key to getting the reader engaged with your article and setting the tone for the rest of the piece. You want to convince the audience to read the rest of your article, and this is the place to do it. Don’t let the audience get away. Conclusion: This is where your main point is to be hammered into the audience’s minds. This paragraph can also be catchy/witty/intriguing, but instead of setting the tone for the rest of the article, you’re sending the audience the message you want them to get out of your article. Make it powerful. Do not underestimate the importance of these two paragraphs.

Convince: Use the tools of rhetoric (ETHOS, LOGOS, PATHOS, KAIROS, TOPOS) to persuade the audience that your opinion is correct. For more information on these subjects please visit the embedded link.

Opinions: 400-1000 words long

Keep it Professional: Yes, this is an opinion piece, which allows for some experimenting and expressing yourself, but make sure to maintain a professional tone while doing this. For example: Never include sarcastic questions in your articles. It just sounds amateurish and a little immature. This is a surefire way to turn the audience off on your piece. Note that the best length is between 500-800 words.

News: 400-800 words long

  • STICK TO THE FACTS. This is a news piece, and there is no room for opinions. Not even subtle ones. Avoid including your opinion at all costs.
  • Include most interesting/exciting information summarized in the first paragraph of the article for quick digestion of information.
  • Provide the most relevant information while following a sequential order.
  • Be to the point. Shorter, factual statements are the essence of a news article. Don’t provide any extra detail than what is necessary.
  • Alert the editor-in-chief before you begin writing the piece, but don’t wait for a reply.
  • Quickly begin to write the article, checking facts and information, and submit the article for review.

Submitting:

All articles will be completed in a Google Document and shared via email to the editor-in-chief. The editor-in-chief will then assign an editor to review the article and publish it.

Editing:

What to Expect: The editors review each article for overall writing quality, grammar/punctuation, and proper citation of sources. Submitting an article for review does not necessarily mean that it will be accepted/published. News articles are prioritized ahead of opinion articles on account of their current relevance to the news cycle. An opinion article may not be published right away, as the editorial staff may be overloaded with articles, or are waiting for an opportune time to publish the piece.

While the editorial staff’s main responsibility is maintaining the substantive consistency of articles, they are also responsible for helping each contributor become better writers. You will experience constructive criticism. Do not become upset or prideful if an editor offers advice on how to better your writing/article. They are here to help you. Trust their advice; they are in that position for a reason.

Once an article has been submitted for review, do not change any aspect of the piece unless an editor advises you to do so. If you believe a change needs to be made to the article, speak with an editor about your proposal and they will consider it. The editors have the final say, period.

What the Editors Expect: Ask them questions. They are here to help you, and they don’t mind it at all. Talk to them about the piece. Let them know any concerns, suggestions, or requests you may have. Take advantage of their insight. They are in this position because they are talented writers and understand what makes a piece work and what hinders a piece from working. Get to know them. Your relationship with the editors is important, and establishing a positive one right off the bat is going to be beneficial to you both. Follow the rules. Just sticking to this Writer’s Guide frees up a lot of the busy-work they would have to do otherwise and allows them to spend more quality time working on your article.

Finishing the Article:

  • At the end of each article, please signify the end by adding the following line: “Follow the author on Twitter”
  • Hyperlink the word ‘Twitter’ with a link to your account (this can also be done for Facebook).
  • Please make sure to tag your article with keywords that relate to the piece and its content.
  • Choose ONE category to publish your article under. 

Cross-Posting:

If you write for other news outlets or have a personal blog and want to cross-post an article from that other outlet, let us know! We will copy the article and post an attribution. Note: Some websites do not allow cross-posting, so you need to check with your site manager before asking us to cross-post.

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