Globalist Writer’s Manual
- Researching your Globalist article
- Conducting interviews
- Structuring your article
- The editing process
- Interpreting edits
- The finished article
- The Globalist Style Guide
Researching your Globalist article
Finding sources for your article can seem daunting at first. Below are a few starting points for locating individuals and resources relevant to your article.
- Online magazines and newspapers: While these will not provide you with the original ideas you will need to write a compelling article, they are a great place to find background information. Besides the usual suspects (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Economist, The New Yorker, The Atlantic), try looking at foreign media sources.
- Think tanks and Non-Governmental Organizations: These organizations tend to have a great deal of specific, in-depth and relatively unpublicized information to offer. Think tanks are sometimes on the cutting edge of research in a specific area, and NGOs often have on-the-ground experience in a region or in dealing with an issue. You may often have success reaching out to an organization’s Media Relations or Communications Division to schedule an interview with one of their researchers or fellows.
- University Resources: Use the vast array of human, archival, and electronic resources at Yale. There’s a good chance that a professor or post-doc at Yale specializes in exactly the topic you are writing about. Find him/her on OCI or departmental websites. Set up a meeting.
A few principles to keep in mind while researching:
- Be an informed user of the Internet: As you know, not everything is true or accurate. Be wary.
- Collect contact information: Start compiling contact information sooner rather than later. You want a healthy list of potential interviewees—the more sources you have, the more dynamic your article will become, because you will have a wide scope of opinions and information to include. Note names of people connected to your topic, and then Google to find their latest contact information.
- If possible, try to get a few confirmed names before you pitch: We know this isn’t always possible, but if you can confirm that at least one or two sources will talk to you before you pitch your article, your pitch becomes much stronger, and you’ll have a leg up once the writing process begins.
Quotations are an essential component of any journalism. Individuals—their words, thoughts and idea —are what will make your story come alive. Getting powerful quotations requires good interviewing. Personalized, vivid descriptions of local events, replete with individual anecdotes and creatively present images, are what expand and enliven interest in the broader issues at stake.
Look for potential interviewees while researching your topic—these are the sources mentioned above. Contact more individuals than you ultimately plan to interview. If you do not hear back from a given contact, call them. Be persistent, but polite. You will probably have to call more than once, and in some cases may have to follow up several times. At the end of every interview, ask your interviewee for further people to contact and resources to consult. If you do not end up interviewing a contact, be sure to thank them for their time regardless.
Setting up interviews
When setting up interviews, remember than in-person meetings are always preferable to phone/Skype interviews, and both are preferable to emails. Much more information, like the interviewee’s behavior (were they uncomfortable with a certain question?) and tics (what did their office look like?) can be gleaned from in-person or phone interviews. Use the imagery from your interviews to draw readers into your story.
A few interviewee-specific suggestions
- Professors: This interview can be informal. Plan on asking for advice. Present your ideas and pose direct questions.
- Experts in their field: This will probably be a formal interview. Prepare 15 short questions, and ask the most important ones at the beginning.
- Official representatives: Prepare 10 very specific questions, and refrain from giving your personal opinion during the interview.
Primary and secondary sources
Secondary sources are often not enough. Primary sources add specificity and tangibility to a story. Brainstorm ways you could contact primary interview sources. Do any of your friends have connections to your region or topic of interest? Do your professors have contacts? Again, ask each person you talk to whether he/she can put you in touch with someone on the ground.
Wherever your interviews and research takes you, take pictures. These can potentially be included with your article later on. If you’re sourcing your article from New Haven and lack photos, consider researching out to Yale peers who are from the country in question, or have traveled there, to see if they might have photographs that they’d let you use with the appropriate acknowledgement.
Structuring your article
There is no formula for organizing a Globalist article. The individuality of each piece makes the magazine exciting to read. Nonetheless, there are certain conventions that can help you as you write.
Key points as you sit down to write
- The Globalist isn’t an academic journal; we tell interesting, relevant, and exciting stories. Don’t survey a story; bring it to life.
- Ask: What is the story here? Where is it?
- A great article can be summarized in a one- or two-sentence summary of the argument intertwined into the narrative.
- Always try to say more with fewer words – editors will help you cut, but you don’t want to let the reader get bored at any point in the article.
- What’s clear to you might not always be clear to the reader.
- Want a piece that is logistically linear, following a progressive thread through which each paragraph builds on the last.
- Have a lede that grabs the reader: The best introductions pull readers in by the first or second sentence of the article. When you begin writing, review your notes and research to find a vivid, exciting image, scene or quotation that could open your piece and hook your reader.
- Sometimes a scene that you will then flash back from works well.
- Consider sketching a key character or locale.
- Hint toward your article’s thesis: Your article must have a main point that it drives home. It is not a thesis in the sense of an academic paper, placed at the introduction, but an issue or argument that your article aims to address.While you may not always have the thesis in the opening paragraph (to leave more room for a narrative) you want to bring a sense of argument in early.
- Include examples: Never make a broad statement that you can’t back up with an example. Anecdotes, statistics and direct quotations are all forms of examples (go with the latter when you can). Good reporting is evidence-based.
- Integrate historical and background information: Place your story in a relevant context. Be concise. Try to work in the background of your piece subtly and naturally. Direct quotations from experts in the field can be a lively way to incorporate background. When writing, think of the reader—make sure to include enough background information that the reader understands the issue at stake.
- Concisely summarize: Restate the main idea of your article in a punchy sentence or two.
- Consider the implications: What’s big picture? Make sure to address the question of why exactly your article matters.
- No-no’s: Refrain from ending an article with a question or a vague statement about the future.
The editing process
The editing process consists of a cycle of three edits of articles, for a total of four drafts. Your Associate Editor (AE) and Managing Editor (ME) will work closely with you, with oversight from the Editor-in-Chief (EIC). A step-by-step breakdown of this collaboration is as follows:
- Your article proposal is accepted. Your ME will send you an email introducing himself/herself and your AE. This email will lay out article deadlines.
- Meet with your AE and ME. While not mandatory, we highly encourage you to set a place and time to meet your editors. You’ll discuss your plans for the article, potential obstacles you might face, where to look for sources, and any questions you may have about the writing process.
- Research and write your first draft.
- Send in your first draft and receive back your first round of edits. Your ME and AE will meet with you after the first draft to discuss their proposed edits, ideas, and questions about your piece. You may find it helpful to send along any notes or interview transcripts to your editors, so that they have a better sense of the story.
- Send in your second draft and receive back your second round of edits. These will come from your Associate Editor, with any necessary input from your Managing Editor.
- Send in your third draft and receive back your third round of edits. These will come from your Managing Editor, with any necessary input from your Associate Editor.
- Send in your final draft. This draft should be polished and ready for publication. IF your Managing Editor wants to make any final changes, he or she will run them by you.
Points to keep in mind during the editing process
- In all email communication between you and your editors, please remember to cc both editors and the Editor-in-Chief.
- Deadlines are critical. Stick to them as closely as you can. Editors are understanding about conflicts and scheduling needs as long as you communicate the detail of your situation as early as possible. If you think you will not be able to make a deadline, let your editors know. If you ever feel like you have hit a dead-end or are unsure how to accomplish a necessary task, let your editors know.
- Face-to-face meetings between editors and writers are essential. A good conversation about your story can often open up new angles and perspectives to explore, or clear up any miscommunications. Talk with your editors as often as you need to. They want to help you!
Edits that editors return to writers consist of two parts:
- Changes (also known as line edits): Editors mark changes they want to make with the Track Changes tool in Word. Writers can choose to accept or reject the changes.
- Comments: Comments appear throughout the article.These may include specific points regarding structure, voice and sources that the writer needs to address. Comments may also give general instructions for steps and goals for future drafts.
What to take away from your edits
- Make sure that you address all concerns pointed out in each round of editing before sending in your next draft. This will allow subsequent rounds of editing to be focused on addressing different issues and polishing your piece.
- Do not be discouraged if you receive a draft with many changes and comments. Even a strong article can be torn apart (and improved!) by an aggressive editor. Edits are a sign of engagement on the part of your editor, not of any weakness or mistake on your part.
- Feel free to leave comments for your editors if you disagree with any changes or have any concerns of your own.
- Pay attention to comments your editors leave, especially if they involve re-structuring or re-writing. Start playing around with re-structuring early on once you receive your edits. Re-structuring is a big change, and it will require time.
- If a sentence is confusing or complicated, take out words until its clear. Or, split it into two sentences.
- Your article is your own work, so go with what feels right to you.
- Remember that you will always intuitively understand what you mean to say in your writing in ways that other readers might not. For this reason, if you find yourself disagreeing with your editors, try to give them the benefit of the doubt. The questions and concerns that your editors have will likely be the same ones your readers will have.
The finished article
Once your final draft is in, there are just a few steps left!
- Copy-editing: Before articles go to the publish, the Globalist holds a copy-editing session. Everyone is invited to grab a pen and look over final drafts of each article for typos, inconsistencies, vague wordings, and other errors. You’ll be able to get a sneak peek at all the articles that will be published!
- Publication: Congratulations! Your article will appear in the print or web edition of the Globalist. Be sure to send copies, either digital or print, to your sources.
- Critique: One or two weeks after publication, the Globalist will invite a Yale faculty member with significant journalism experience to critique the latest issue and share his or her thoughts with the magazine’s staff. All writers are invited! Critiques are a great opportunity to learn from distinguished writers and improve your own writing, especially when you next write for the Globalist.
- Paragraphs and long topic sentences should be short and to-the-point.
- Avoid needlessly long words or jargon. Language should be simple, but sharp and effective.
- Use words like nevertheless, furthermore, however, although, etc. sparingly.
- Divide longer articles into sections, with subheadings if necessary.
- Cite sources when stating facts are unusual or not widely known. When using statistics, always say: “According to the Center for X,” “according to a recent book on Topic by John Doe” or “according to the Nationally Distributed Newspaper”
- Subtle or tongue-in-cheek humor works, but use moderation.
- The Globalist is not an academic journal—you have freedom with your writing, so don’t write a paper. Tell a story!
The Yale Globalist follows the Associated Press Style Book.
A few conventions specific to the Globalist
- The name: Italicize; either “The Yale Globalist” or “the Globalist.”
- All quotations are described using the past tense.
- Spacing: Only one space between sentences, two after a colon.
- Introduce acronyms after the first mention of the full name
- The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is responsible for…
- Proper names: Always refer to people by their last names after the first introduction. Make sure also that each person has a first introduction—it sometimes gets lost during editing.
- Capitalization of titles: If a title precedes a person’s name, capitalize the position.
- Chief Minister Sheila Singh said…
- If the title follows the name and is set off by commas, do not capitalize the position.
- Sheila Singh, chief minister of Delhi, said…
- Commas: The Globalist uses the Oxford comma (or serial comma). It is used immediately before a grammatical conjunction (nearly always and or or, and sometimes nor) that precedes the last item in a list of three or more items.
- England, Spain, and France (vs. England, Spain and France)
- Numerals: Spell out one through nine; use numbers starting with 10. For fractions, spell out and use a dash (“two-thirds”). Spell out “percent.”
- Dashes: The Globalist uses the em dash—which stretches from word to word with no spaces in between—to enclose parenthetical thought.
- Dates: When referring to a specific date, use the following format: March 8, 2002.