WRITERS' GUIDELINES. (How to Write News For Which We Willl Pay)
Payment. (Payment will begin when the Sudan Diaspora News is ready to be printed as a newspaper. That date will be announced here, and at www.Saltshaker.US/Sudan.html. Until then, contrary to the rules below, all comments and news submitted here will be automatically posted at first, but may be rearranged later.)
We will pay at the rate of ABOUT 5 cents per word ($5 per hundred words) for stories we can use.
(The actual rate we will be able to pay, especially in the first few issues of The Sudan News, will be affected by the number of subscriptions that are sold, how much advertising is sold, whether we receive government or corporate support, and how many other writers submit articles. If we cannot pay you at least that rate, we will send you a copy of our budget for the issue to which you have submitted, explaining why it must be less. But at least 5 cents per word is our target.)
Do not make your article longer, in order to get paid more, by adding words without interesting information about Sudan, because then we will edit your article down to what we can use, and pay you at a lower rate per word because of the editorial time we had to spend.
Documentation. Stories the most valuable to us are first-hand reports from Sudan (where the author gets his facts from people in Sudan -- for example, by telephone -- who saw, with their own eyes, the events they are reporting).
We need not only your name (the author) but the names of the people who gave you your information. If they got their information from still others in Sudan, report their names too. If the information comes from a document, identify the document. When we cannot identify an eyewitness to a report, or document it, we may have to classify the report as a rumor.
If it is dangerous to print the names of sources in Sudan, tell us, and we will not publish the name. But we can only pay for news where we have the names of the sources, so that our editors may judge the reliability of the source as well as we can, before publishing the story (without the name of the source), and in case USAID or an equally trusted NGO wants to confirm the story.
When, for example, the author gets a report by telephone from someone in Sudan about a dispute between two villages, the Sudanese resident giving the report will probably believe one side in the dispute. Ideally, the author should talk to someone from the other side of the dispute, to make sure that side of the dispute is reported fairly. If this is not possible, then at least the Sudanese resident should be asked to talk, himself, to someone on the other side, and try as much as possible to understand their position, so that our report on both sides of the dispute is accurate.
How to use quotation marks: When you can remember the exact words your source used, (except that they are in another language), put "quotation marks" around them. When you are summarizing what they said, with your own words, do NOT put them in quotation marks.
Categories of writing. Your comments about facts which others have reported are not "news" but are classified as "letters to the editor". They are important, and will probably be published, but will not be paid for. If you are an authority on the subject you are writing about, so that your experience has brought you into first-hand contact with reliable sources, so that you yourself are a source of information whom other Sudanese turn to for "inside information", and your article reveals new facts mixed with your own opinion and analysis, then your article falls into a third category: "Analysis", or "Op-Ed". Our target for this writing is 3 cents per word. However, if your opinion takes little space and most of the space is new facts, we will pay 5 cents per word.
Form of article:
Your Headline should tell what is interesting about your article, in about 5 words. It is what you would say, if you were walking from one class to another, and passed a friend walking the opposite direction, and wanted to tell him the news but couldn't stop, so you had to explain as much as you could in a few words.
Your first paragraph should be what you would say if you wanted to tell your story to a friend far away, but you had to squeeze your story on to a postcard.
Your first half of your article should have the most important facts that will still be published, if the editors cut the last half because of space.
Grammar. If your English is not clear, get a friend to help make your article perfect. If very much editorial time is required to make your article readable, you will be paid at a lower rate. If your English is so unclear that we have to guess what you mean, we won't be able to print it.
Editorial Board. SNPR will maintain a board of editors to review, select, categorize, and edit articles. They will not be paid, at least at first. It has not yet been decided whether they should be paid when money is available. SNPR has a constitution which ensures fair access to all, and public accountability. If you are interested in serving on the board, you may contact SNPR through Makaldengny@yahoo.com.
Submitting Articles. Submit articles at www.Saltshaker.blogs.com/Sudan_Diaspora_News. Your article will be immediately available to everyone who has signed up with SNPR to serve on the editorial board. A few others may be given access by SNPR, such as someone from USAID, so that they may have current intelligence on conditions in Sudan.
As soon as an article has been edited and accepted for publication, it will be posted on the website, but only subscribers to The Sudan News will have access to it. If an article is rejected for publication, it, also, will be available to subscribers, who will have the opportunity to tell editors if they think the article should be published.
When an issue of the printed newspaper has been mailed out, any rejected articles will be made available to the public on the website. Two weeks later, all articles will become available to the public.
Submitting Photos. Do not attach photos, but insert them in your emails. 300K or greater is a good file size for a picture of one person's face, to make sure our reprint will be clear. If a photo shows several people or other objects, so that our reprint should be 6" wide or wider, then 1 mg (1,000K) would probably be necessary.
Portraits of faces should be clear. A black face which is a solid black silhouette with few distinguishable features, is usually the result of taking a picture of a black person against a light background with an automatic camera. The camera adjusts to the light background, and makes the face too black. This is corrected by either getting a camera with manual control over lens opening (which will then make the background a solid white, but that is less important), or by placing the person in front of a background the same brightness as his face. Clothes that are a different brightness from the face can cause the same problem. White people have the same problem in reverse: a white person, in front of a dark background, shot with an automatic camera, will produce a solid white, featureless face.
(For this reason, if you are considering hosting a speaker where some will want to videotape, try to get a background the same brightness as the speakers' faces. The best video cameras can tolerate only 1/10th the contrast that the human eye can.)