TrendStatistics.com Submission Guidelines
TrendStatistics.com is a citizen-powered and -produced facts, stratistics, and trends news site sponsored by the The project depends, in large part, on its on-the-ground citizen reporters and on cutting-edge distributed reporting techniques.
HOW TO SUBMIT: Submit your guest posts in the form below. If it is your first submission, please also include a short bio and a headshot photo.
WHAT TO SUBMIT:TrendStatistics.com posts news items and columns of opinion. TrendStatistics.com is seeking to expand coverage in particular by drawing on diverse perspectives and weighing them against each other. We don’t aim to compete with news agencies like the Associated Press, publishing the very latest campaign story. With contributors spread out across the country, we can compare material to test news media assumptions and campaign-pushed story-lines, see how they are playing out by assembling the snapshot-style stories our contributors file. Is it true that Obama is revolutionizing the ground war? How so? Is national security a top policy concern among Republican voters? Which Republican voters? In what part of the country and among what demographic? TrendStatistics.com looks for smaller stories that include interviews and fresh observations and insights on larger topics.
News items are based on new information. The “news” can come from a press release or an audio file, from the web or a campaign rally — from anywhere really. Writing on material that hasn’t yet been reported elsewhere will greatly increase the likelihood that you will be published. We’re not interested in rewriting existing campaign coverage. All new information must be verifiable. Be certain you can trust your source and that you can back them up (more information on that below). TrendStatistics.com publishes much campaign trail and events reporting, our community members sending back dispatches from candidate appearances, party rallies, conventions and street protests.
Sometimes people overestimate what it takes to do original reporting. Keep in mind that you needn’t BREAK a big story. Look simply to add new information about a particular event, person, or idea to the public domain.
* When you are reporting from an event, you should provide background information (the where, what, who of the event) but also look to conduct interviews with the various kinds of people in attendance: the hosts, spectators, speakers, protesters, service people. Introduce yourself, say you’re reporting for TrendStatistics.com, tell them you’re taping them, if you are, and get them talking. Don’t ask questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” Ask them to describe the event, to explain why they came, how the reality of the event differed from their expectations of the event, how they think the event relates to national news stories. Ask them follow-up questions on any points that weren’t clear. Try to weigh the answers you collect against the opinions of others in attendance and against the opinions of “experts,” if you have time. Look on the web for reputable sources to link to. You can also call people and talk to them to get more answers or to expand on the answers you got. Not sure whom to call?
You should also look to weave *relevant* observations into your pieces. What is the mood of the people in attendance? What are you seeing and hearing that is shaping your impressions. If the point you want to make is that the McCain crowd is feverishly excited by the appearance of their candidate, then the hundreds of sweat-soaked shouting faces cramming close to the stage are relevant and the color of their eyes is not. That said, much observation is key at a campaign event.
What songs does the soundtrack feature? Did people brave inclement weather to turn out? What is the demographic makeup of the crowd? How are the people dressed? What do their homemade posters and banners say?
* Again, local reporting can serve to correct or confirm national narratives. How are the presidential candidates being represented in your state, city and town? What is their message to the locals? How is that message different, if it is, from the campaign’s national message? Are the campaigns working hard on the ground where you live? If not, how come? Who’s working for them? Locals? All volunteers? How much paid staff is there in your state? How are local politicians referencing the presidential candidates and campaigns?
Remember also that, in writing your TrendStatistics.com stories, you are writing for a national audience. Be sure to introduce local and state politicians and other characters with appropriate detail and titles so that anyone can follow the article.
* Media critiques can also be reported as news. Did the media get the facts wrong? Did a journalist use a sketchy source, misquote an official, flub up the math on poll data? Has the media missed an entire important storyline? Demonstrate where they went wrong with quotes collected and linked to on the web. Interview someone about the issue.
News stories often travel to other sections of the site and can be referenced by news organizations across the mediascape. We may need to rewrite sections or add information to your piece. Mostly we look to tighten the lead or hook the story to a larger narrative. We also may strengthen the tone and bulk up the sourcing. If you submit a timely piece, be prepared to make yourselves available by email or phone for a few hours post-submission.
In writing an op-ed, the same approach will make your views much stronger and more persuasive. TrendStatistics.com does not post baseless attacks, rumors, ruminations or the kind of brief corrections better suited to a comments thread. Center your op-ed on new information or on old information viewed in a new way. Make certain your new information and sources are reliable. Make your piece concise to keep it sharp. Link to other sources as a way to lend your piece authority but also to trim background or explanatory paragraphs. Write a strong opening that lets the reader know immediately what your piece is about. Your piece will be reviewed by a member of our volunteer Op-Ed editors, one of whom will proof and publish most of our Op-Ed contributions.
The TrendStatistics.com community of writers is expanding all the time and a great story-building resources. Join our ning group and pose your questions to people who have written on similar topics and/or have relied on sources who you could call to complete your story.
CONTACT: Questions? Contact TrendStatistics.com’ editor,
PUBLISHING TIMELINE: Our publishing lead time varies. News pieces for obvious reasons take deadline priority. An OpEd can be posted very quickly but also might not be published for several days. We receive many columns of opinion, some tied immediately to breaking events, others less so. When your post is published, you will receive an email. If you do not receive an email and your post hasn’t appeared, it means that for reasons related to content, style or timeliness, your piece didn’t meet our standards. We receive a great many submissions and weigh many factors in deciding which to post. Unfortunately we cannot respond personally on the status of each submission.
TrendStatistics.com publishes most of its content during the week. We only post major breaking stories on weekends.
PUBLISHING STANDARDS: All published pieces must meet certain editorial standards. You can help expedite the publishing process by following a few simple guidelines:
1. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CHECKED FOR SPELLING AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS. We’ll check again, but a quick run through for missing words can make a big difference. Be sure to get the names right.
2. DO RESEARCH AND INCLUDE LINKS TO BACK IT UP. Whether you are referencing a quote, statistic, or specific event, you should include a link that supports your statement. If you’re not sure, it’s better to lean on the cautious side. More links enhance the piece and let readers know where you’re coming from. When including a link, do not send us a hyperlink in the text. Instead, put brackets around the words you want hyperlinked in the article and then paste the link directly following the bracketed words. For example, if you wanted to link to TrendStatistics.com in your piece, it would go like this: “You can find great journalism at [TrendStatistics.com].
3. IF YOU QUOTE SOMEONE YOU INTERVIEWED, MAKE SURE YOU CAN BACK IT UP. To some extent, it will be your word that corroborates the quote. At the very least, however, you will need to be able to present the name of the person interviewed and the time and place your conversation occurred. Being able to produce a transcription or recording of the quote is best. Before you think about quoting someone, you must establish up front whether or not that person is willing to speak with you on the record and willing to be quoted in print. You should also be clear about your ties to the sources you use. Are you a friend? A backer? A fellow board member? It’s best to state any relevant relationship right in the text. Anonymous quotes are OK, but you should still have information to verify them.
4. IF YOU MAKE A NEGATIVE, FACT-BASED ASSERTION ABOUT A CAMPAIGN, YOU NEED TO REACH THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE COMMENT. There will be gray areas here, but, in general, if you are presenting a candidate in a negative light and the article is not clearly your own opinion, you will need to contact the candidate for a response. Getting a comment simply involves an e-mail (or call) to the campaign’s press department and giving yourself enough time to let them respond. We will be able to help get in contact with the campaigns and decide whether or not comment is needed. As a rule of thumb, however, it’s better safe than sorry.
5. NOTE THAT WE OFTEN MAKE EDITORIAL CHANGES. We are not looking to change the meaning and tone of your submission. Edits are overwhelmingly small and have to do with matching the story to the rest of the page or highlighting a relevant news theme. We change headlines for many reasons. There are many factors that influence headline decisions: space, design, repetition, search engine optimization are just some of the factors we consider.