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Jun 29 / Joel Cordes

Internship Insider: Writers’ FAQ, Part 3

In addition to Bleacher Report’s publication FAQ section, Greg Pearl and I developed a similar “how to write” resource for our interns.

Keep this series around as a quick-reference resource. Here is Part 1 and Part 2.

How/when should I cite a source?
When quoting or referencing material obtained from another source, it’s imperative to cite the original reporter and/or organization by name and embed a hyperlink to the source. DON’T highlight one word or the whole sentence. Instead, choose a few key words in the phrase that you will hyperlink.

Do comments help get more reads? Does it make the page a higher priority on search engines if there is more activity?
Comments can help an article’s searchability and potentially its site placement too.  You should always make an effort to reply to your commenters.

How do I achieve clean copy?
Never publish something you haven’t proofread through 3-5 times.  At least one of these readings should be done out loud in order to catch awkward phrasing, over infinitive use, etc.  If something doesn’t pass the “sounds good” test, it’s not going to read well either.

“How do I know when to use the “Rumors” tag on my work?”
Rumors are always sourced.

Ideas the writer comes up with are not “rumors.” Those are tagged as “speculation.”  You can still use “Trade Rumors: (insert name) and XX …” But you must diligently source and cite research.

How do I write a good Introduction slide?
An intro slide is much like the intro page to a term paper:

1. Decide on your thesis.  Clearly state your thesis in the first line (this should end up matching your headline = an effective online lede)!

2. Support your thesis with a couple of reasons.  You don’t have to include every reason here, but just a few “teasers.” (Note: A mock draft or “best of” list might include players/teams/etc. instead of “reasons”)

3. Don’t completely spell out those reasons in the intro (you’re saving that as the intriguing part of the slideshow!), but do mention what they are (maybe in the form of questions/concerns)?

4. End the intro slide with a key question/transition that again ties into your thesis/headline, but moves into the actual slideshow content. DON’T use cheesy dead wood like “Hope you enjoy the show!”

5. The individual slides will now concentrate on those few “teaser” issues you mentioned in the intro, along with the other reasons you’ve yet to share.  You’ll flesh those out with a complete argument on each slide.

When is the best time to publish my article?
Always hit the deadline given by your editor for an assigned article.  Freelance articles are best published between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (ET) on Monday through Thursday.

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Joel C. Cordes is Bleacher Report’s Sportswriting Internship Program Feedback Editor. Along with fellow editor Greg Pearl, he develops B/R interns by providing feedback and mentoring, the highlights of which are shared with the B/R Blog here.