August 20, 2010
by Adam Bink
So I have some good news and bad news.
Bad news is, after about a month’s time here, I will need to leave Prop 8 Trial Tracker next week to focus on some other projects at DailyKos and OpenLeft. Of course, I’ll be keeping an eye on this space and commenting from time to time, but won’t be writing on the front page regularly (though Eden and the P8TT folks have invited me to cross-post on the trial occasionally).
Good news is, I suggested to the other management here that it’s time to broaden Prop8TrialTracker into more of a community-based site, and they agreed. There’s a great community of voices here, many of which deserve a bigger platform. That means we’re going to be selecting a front-page writer or two from among you in the comments.
The process to this is two-fold.
One, we’re interested to see who from within the P8TT community you’d like to see write on the front page. This website is, after all, in large part for you. Think about which commenters you think have the best insight, and leave a comment on this post nominating them. You can feel free to nominate more than one person. Nominations carry some, but not all, weight on who we select.
Second, because we’re a commenter-only site without full diaries, we want to make sure those who are nominated can actually write (more about that below). If you’re interested in writing for us, submit (a) some background information on yourself and (b) three (3) writing samples to prop8trial AT couragecampaign DOT org. See the FAQ for details on these two items.
Note that even if you are nominated repeatedly in the comments, you must still send in writing samples to be considered.
Because some of you may have never written on the front page of a blog before, or want to know what responsibilities are involved in “blogging”, I put together some FAQ’s below:
If I’m selected as a front-page writer, what will I be expected to do on P8TT?
You will be expected to produce at least two guest pieces per week, fully edited and formatted. You posts will be reviewed for publication by the P8TT editors.
What should I write about?
We’re a blog that covers Prop 8, the movement for full marriage equality, NOM, and topics closely related to those issues. You’ll be expected to cover those “beats” in your weekly piece(s). Your pieces can range from covering “breaking news” as it happens to more in-depth explorations of a topic.
Will I be expected to be “on call” to cover events like NOM rallies?
Not in the least. This is a volunteer opportunity to feature your writing, not a job. You and the editor will work out a writing schedule that works best with your schedule, and if you’re interested in helping cover live events or “breaking news”, you can. But there’s no expectation beyond writing your regular pieces each week.
But what if I’ve never blogged before?
Many of the best front-page writers on blogs started out in the comments (at DailyKos and OpenLeft, for example). Commenting is often a precursor to good blogging. Or if you get in debates over e-mail, sometimes I’ve found the best arguments in those e-mails translate well to a blog post. Think of writing a blog post as writing an op-ed, only better (because we’ve got things like video and linking ability).
Speaking of video and linking, what is HTML, and do I need to know it?
HTML is a way to add depth to your writing, and yes, you’ll need to know basic HTML. It’s how I make this sentence appear bold. It’s a simple bit of text you add to your posts that can add links, video, photos, bolding/italics/underlining, bullet points and more.
Fortunately, we use WordPress here, which has built-in tools for adding 99% of all the HTML you’ll ever need with one-click functionality, so you won’t need to worry much about it. And for fancier stuff, my home blog, OpenLeft.com, has a good how-to post (which I just linked to using, you guessed it, one-click HTML!).
What do I need to submit to be considered?
Read this section carefully. You need to submit an e-mail to prop8trial AT couragecampaign DOT org with the following two items:
1. Some background information on you, including the following:
- Some background about yourself
- Whereabouts you live
- What you do on a daily basis, including your occupation and other places you regularly spend time writing
- Describe in a paragraph or two where you think the movement for full marriage equality needs to go to in the next several years.
- Lastly, tell us what kind of writing/publications that are must-reads daily, and what kind you like to read when you have some spare time.
We’re asking because scheduling posts means knowing what time zone you’re in, what kind of commitments you have already, and how much attention you’ll be able to give to the P8TT community. Be honest about everything. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, we are just seeking a diverse group of writers.
2. As I wrote above, three (3) writing samples, either in the e-mail or as attachments. Blog posts, including user diaries (like at OpenLeft or DailyKos) are preferred. If you haven’t written many or your best work isn’t in them, you can submit other writing, but limit it to 800 words or less (blog posts should be submitted in their entirety, though). Excerpts of longer pieces- like an article for a magazine or a college term paper- are fine. You should be sending in writing that showcases (a) your skills at good, interesting, writing (b) your ability to explore issues and/or advocate for your cause.
What if 46 people in the comments all say I should be selected?
That weighs in your favor, but you won’t be considered without sending in the material above.
I didn’t get many nominations in the comments. Should I still apply?
Yes! It’s not a popularity contest. While reader nominations are a factor, we’re looking for the best person.
I’m not interested in applying, but can I nominate other people from the comments?
YES! Your opinion on who you’d like to see matters. Leave a comment with the username(s) of who you’d like to see promoted to the front page.
What if I have other questions that aren’t frequently asked?
Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer it.
We’re looking forward to see your nominations and applications!