We want to parse out fact from opinion. The main goal of our news stories is to give a clear and holistic, broad perspective. Any news item we cover is important for some reason, and we want to give the reader all the information they need to understand how the story affects them.
In general, we want to keep opinion exclusive to the opinion section, but events often demand some sense context and why something is relevant. In those cases the opinion will be offset to the latter part of the article and announced through formatting or signal phrases. We have no intention to veil opinion as fact or leave readers unaware that there is more to the story. You can also consider writing two articles, a news piece and an editorial, and we’ll link the two. This might be clearer and would provide additional links for the magazine.
News we will cover will relate clearly to politics, the work of government and governance and the idea of politics as a function of power as well as policy, Science, and culture, which can arguable cover a lot of ground, but we like to think of it in academic or sociological terms, the beliefs, values, language, meanings, attitudes, the general perspectives of our neighbors.
There should always be a narrative and a protagonist and usually an antagonist. If you are writing about a person, good. Does anyone stand against the person? Is that person the protagonist or the antagonist? If you are writing about a phenomenon, find someone who is in the middle of it, who experienced it, who is affected by it.
We won’t always have a news story that involves a character, in that case, how does it influence the reader? Make the reader the protagonist in a news article about the patriot act. What affect does it have, seen or unseen? If you can’t find a real person in the story, then we are missing one of the key ways of validating and verifying the events we’re chronicling and/or it isn’t relevant In the same way you can evaluate the relevance of the story FOR US. Is the story about Kanye West? That isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker if it is something relevant to the not-so-rich and not-so-concerned with what might spin West’s compass. We’ll cover his music if it taps into real cultural or political relevance (or science, if it’s in there somewhere.) And if he ever says Jeb Bush does not care about black people, we will be on that like a republican on an Iowa prayer breakfast.
Editorial will usually respond to news events we cover. Our main interest is in making sure the reader has access to the facts. It will frequently be ideal for the same person to write the news and opinion pieces or for collaboration. We will usually link between related news and opinion pieces. Don’t let this information deter you from contacting us for an editorial, especially if it is regarding something timely and/or important.
We’re not interested in sensationalism. While I won’t say we’re against publishing hyperbolic or flawed commentary (it could start a discussion or make a valuable point), we will hold editorializing and punditry to high standards. It would betray our mission statement to publish something misleading and knowingly allow readers to leave us with misguided information. Really bad editorials run the risk of being the subject of a “Why This is Bullshit” article.
We are open to guest blogs and guest bloggers, especially for pieces that correspond thematically with an issue. Let us know your ideas and make sure you know what themes/issues we will be working with in the future. Please bring any of your ideas for possible themes/issues to our attention!
We are also looking for regular bloggers. If you have a blog elsewhere you’d like to feature here, or not, if you are a blogger elsewhere and want another outlet here, if you’ve never blogged before but you’re the next Bill Hicks, if you are prepared and equipped to write at least two blog posts a month, contact us. Please send at least three samples. Let us know if they can be included in your blog. As with any contribution, include the bios and bylines.
Why this is Bullshit
This will follow a more particular format that anyone with an understanding of academic argumentation and rhetoric will already be comfortable with. This will feature a targeted response to a current argument—whether it is an argument/assertion made by a public figure recently or a talking point being made by a group or political party.
The goal is to dismantle the argument with logic and tangible evidence in a way that helps educate the reader to better work through the process on their own and get used to doing it by habit, ideally with some liberal wit and a dash of snark.
Yeah, more information is necessary (and for “101.”) We will be publishing related articles that will articulate the standards wonderfully, and there will be numerous articles published in each department to point at our general sensibilities. You are encouraged to contact us if you have a fire under your ass about these in the meantime.
This is driven by contemporary events and discussion, but there is less immediacy. Here we will feature deconstructions, breakdowns, and clear definitions of concepts and phenomena that are commonly misunderstood or misrepresented. In some cases it will be a short and clear-eyed re-alignment on something that has been misrepresented in the news for a while. In other cases it will be an ongoing parsing of facts, figures, trends, opinion, etc that make an issue appear to be ambiguous than it probably is.
Until we have some solid examples to point to, you might be just as pivotal as we are in shaping this.
The Kitchen Sinkst
This is where we put stuff we love but have no other place for. We’re hesitant to set any limitations or guidelines here. As we’ve said elsewhere, you might be as integral to defining this department as we are. We’ll include lists, memes, graphics, comic strips, graphic design, self-help—we’re not entirely sure of the boundaries, yet. There are three goals: 1) bringing new perspective and meaning to difficult subjects, making sure the magazine doesn’t take itself too seriously, finding opportunities to market the magazine elsewhere through sharable, potential viral items that can help draw future readers back to the magazine.
This is where we can put just about anything else that doesn’t fit into an existing department. If you have an idea that you think is right for us but doesn’t SEEM to fit. It can go here.
This is not a dumping ground or dismissive place for odds and ends. All things considered, this will inevitably be where some of our most popular writing and departments winds up.
Come one! “Kitchen Sinkst“!? That’s clever!
Reviews of books, movies, etc, etc; interviews with artists, producers, etc, etc; critiques of work, old and new; relevant news of upcoming releases; news of new technology that might not fit in the science department.
The key requisite is that everything must be tied to a greater issue. It must inform a greater issue. We are not interested in a straightforward review of that band you love, no matter how spectacular they are, but if that band is somehow navigating a relevant social issue, if the singer is fighting for trans rights, if the whole band lobbies against citizens united, then we want it–but it’s going to be talking mostly about that thing, not the band. If that new book helps to inform our understanding of a a political debate, if that artist wants to provoke a discussion about sexual identity, if the video game mishandles or handles well sexual or racial diversity, that is something we’ll publish.
To put it another way, any media we cover needs to—in a sometimes small but always important sense—be a jumping off point for a greater issue.