Your ELi: Informational Meeting for New Reporters February 4

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Saturday, January 30, 2016, 12:01 am
Ann Nichols

As I reported recently, ELi is looking for more reporters. On Thursday, February 4, we’ll be holding a free, open, informational meeting from 7:00-8:00 p.m. in Room 211 of the Hannah Community Center to talk with all community members who are interested in what we do at ELi, particularly for those who might want to be reporters or who know someone who should be reporting for us. The meeting welcomes people who want to be volunteer reporters as well as those who wish to be paid.

We will cover how ELi works and how to get involved. You’re completely welcome even if you don’t want to be a reporter, but are just curious about the folks and processes at ELi. We welcome high school students, MSU students, senior citizens, people who write a lot, and people who don’t write a lot but want to try.

We need new reporters because we’re growing, gaining readers, and, honestly, scrambling a bit to cover all the stories this city presents. We get ideas from readers, from our reporters, and from things Publisher Alice Dreger and I see as we live our daily lives in East Lansing. Whether you have ideas about stories we should be covering or want to report based on ideas we give you, we would like to meet you.

ELi is a non-profit, nonpartisan community service focused on keeping East Lansing citizens informed and up-to-date on everything from big news (like the reopening of Red Cedar Elementary) to what to do over the weekend (like the skating rink in Valley Court Park or a concert to benefit Ele’s Place).

We cover science, music, sports, schools, City government, interesting people in the community, and local businesses, as well of lots of other things. We know there’s more out there, and that’s where you come in.

Here, from ELi’s site, is a general idea of how we work with reporters to get the best possible final product for our readers:

How do I find a topic or propose a topic?

  • You can propose a specific topic to an editor. (Remember it needs to focus on East Lansing.)
  • You can ask an editor for possible topics (you can specify you area of interest), and commit to one (or more).
  • You can become a regular reporter who follows a particular story (e.g., BWL vegetation management) or topic area (e.g., Planning Commission; high school administration; astronomy). In that case, you will work with an editor to keep us apprised of what you’re planning to submit, and when.


How does submission and editing of an article work?

  • You and an editor will work out a deadline (hard or soft), and then you’ll submit the article to the editor as a Word document.
  • If there is significant editing, the editor will check back with you. If the piece only requires small corrections (like punctuation or spelling, or changing paragraph breaks), the editor will post it without checking back.
  • If an article requires too much editing to be worth our resources, we may reject it.
  • If you have a high-quality photo to submit with your article, you can do that, or if you think you won’t have one, let us know (preferably early) and we will arrange a photo.


How does payment work?

  • Whether a writer is paid or volunteers her/his work is up to the writer. We never question anyone who wants to be paid.
  • Writers are only paid if work is published; we don’t pay for drafts because then there is no incentive to submit high quality work and to work with the editors.
  • Typical payment for a short piece requiring no special research is $25. For a piece requiring interviews or other research, typical pay is $50. For pieces that require substantially more effort (e.g., attending a long meeting and writing up what happened), pay may be higher. Reporters are paid as independent contractors, which means we do no tax withholding for reporters.
  • We send out checks at the end of the month unless you have a special need to be paid sooner.
  • If you earn $600 or more in a calendar year with us, we need you to fill out a tax form with your social security number and we report the total payment to the IRS at the close of the calendar year.
  • If you are a minor, you need to show us your work permit.

Intrigued by the challenge of serving the people of East Lansing by providing non-editorial, non-partisan, factual, clear, and accurate news? Join us on Thursday evening to learn more.



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