Checklist for ELi Writers

You don't have to fill out this list of questions every time you submit an article to us, but this is a checklist that will help you keep on track, especially if you are new to ELi as a reporter:

  1. Has the editor already agreed to the topic?
  2. Is the article approximately the right length for the topic? (A short article is about 300-400 words. A typical article is about 600 words. A longer article is 750-1000 words. When we publish something longer than that, it's because it is a big story or a news analysis piece.)
  3. Is the article factually correct? (Are you confident that everything that counts as a fact is represented accurately?) Are your sources clear to readers?
  4. Is the article free from your own opinion and editorializing? (Here's a useful handout showing how to avoid opinion-laden prose.)
  5. Is the article clearly written, so that a person who is relatively new to the topic can follow it?
  6. If you orally interviewed someone for this article and did not record the interview, have you checked the quotation with that person to make sure that person agrees that the quotation is accurate? (You can do this during the interview or after as follow-up.)
  7. Is the article free from plagiarizing? (You plagiarize when you use someone’s words, phrasing, or ideas without clearly giving them appropriate credit, by name, directly in conjunction with the use. Use of someone’s words also requires quotation marks. If you’re not sure about this, please ask!)
  8. Have you let the editor know if you have any potential conflict of interest that needs to be disclosed with the article by disclosing it at the end of your draft? A potential conflict of interest occurs when you or someone with whom you have a close relationship may benefit (e.g., financially or in terms of reputation) from your article. When in doubt, disclose!
  9. Have you let the editor know how your name should appear in the byline?
  10. If you've provided a photo to use with the article, and you did not take the photo, do you have permission to use it, and have you indicated credit and permission as required at the end of your article?
  11. If you are to be to paid for this article, have you completed the required tax form? (Ask your editor if you need the form.)