“The games’ afoot…”
Part One consisted of some grand check-lists for managing the site and it’s disparate authors; all well and good. Working top-down, then at the next, practical level, we need some tools to help us implement the objectives set out.
On-line is learning the lessons of traditional publishing, where there are many established tools and techniques to draw on.
If we’re pushing ahead, then we could do worse than implement a written set of Editorial Guidelines, the framework under which we operate:
- The Who’s Who: named Contributor, Author and Editor roles
- Contributors guide: frequency, dates, word counts, author’s ideas or assignments given
- Content/Topic guide: subject matter, specialities, opinion, restrictions
- Contribution method Method: Direct, email, Google Docs, preview or review cycles, proofing
- Payment: How and when they are compensated
- Copyright assignment and licensing: syndication of content, reprints, permissions, license terms. Who owns what, how long, and what steps will be taken by which part to protect these rights
- Syndication/Distribution: How, when and who manages syndication
- Social Media: who when and how is content promoted and shared through social media; to which channels and platforms
- Disclosure: where disclosure is needed, when and how
- Self-promotion: How the author will promote themselves and their work on the blog, and how they will promote their contributions off the blog
- ‘End of Contract’: If the agreement ends, how can it end, what are the closing terms, and what will happen to the previously published content.
Regular contributors to any blog represent themselves and their unique voices, but also represent that blog. Unless you intend to court and cultivate controversy, you have to set out the rights and responsibilites:
- What’s expected of the editors in maintaining the integrity of the site. ‘The buck stops here.’
- What’s expected of the contributors in maintaining the integrity of the site. ‘Don’t pass the buck to begin with.’
- The ‘Editorial Line’ on all the issues covered in submissions to the site; even the ones you choose not to publish. Be prepared to defend and stand by this line. This has to include the five constants; money, sex, death, religion and politics.
- The policy on use of profanity (language and images) and personal anecdote (‘naming and shaming’).
- The avoidance of libel, slander and defamation of character. Internet law is evolving, but exisitng laws can be tested in any media at any time. Remember the US has one-sided extradition agreements with most of the planet.
It’s another set of grand check-lists, but without them, it becomes impossible to define what the site is about.
More in Part Three – Writers – next time. The Editors