Content Standards review: A directory of B/R writer rules
“I didn’t know” doesn’t fly at Bleacher Report. The 10-part Content Standards series on this blog spelled out the rules and expectations B/R has for its writers in some depth. That series—along with the Content Standards themselves—thoroughly explains our policies.
Contributors are responsible for knowing and following these editorial policies to ensure that all submissions reflect the highest level of quality possible. If you break the rules, you won’t be able to escape the consequences by saying you didn’t know them.
Consider that the first rule: You have to know the rules.
Here is a review of the major points covered in the Content Standards, with links to other posts and documents that will help you better understand the points being made. This post should be treated as a reference. It shouldn’t be a substitute for reading the 10-part series.
Attribution Guidelines: Stop here if you are just learning to source online, as this “Sourcing 101” document contains everything you need to know.
Verifying Sources, A Primer and a Checklist: Consider the individual (and media outlet’s) history of reporting accurate information and general reputation—while also noting if A. the source is first-hand on the scene and B. others are re-reporting the news—before feeling comfortable enough to write your reaction.
How to Properly Source Breaking News Reports: Before writing a reaction to a breaking news report, make sure the source is credible, the author is properly cited (named specifically within your story), and the specific article, blog post or tweet is directly hyperlinked.
Sourcing for Direct Quotes, Rumors and Paraphrases: As with breaking news, always make sure direct quotes, rumors and paraphrases you receive from other sources are properly cited and hyperlinked.
Rumor Review: Rumors Must Be Sourced, Not Confused with Speculation: Make sure that all rumors (unconfirmed and unofficial news items reported by credible media outlets) are sourced and backed up in an assignment with “rumors” in the headline, while speculation from yourself or others is properly labeled as such and not called rumors.
Better Safe Than Sorry on Sourcing: Always err on the side of sourcing your work, especially when it comes to criminal allegations, scouting reports, recruiting information and proprietary statistical evaluations.
Examples of Poorly Conceived Content: Make sure all your submissions present clear and coherent personal arguments or news reports, done with the utmost professionalism.
Promotional, Commercial and Gambling Content: Writers are allowed to promote themselves within their submissions, though there are restrictions to the amount of promoting that can be done (alongside restrictions on linking to sites that accept bets).
How To Avoid a Poorly Produced Content Violation: A collection of writing resources for contributors to peruse as they navigate Bleacher Report.
Plagiarism, Know What It Is, Because Bleacher Report’s Policy Is Zero-Tolerance: If you plagiarize, you run the risk of losing your site privileges and having your entire account (and submissions) removed from the site.
Non-Original Content, a.k.a. Plagiarism: Don’t plagiarize, don’t self-plagiarize, don’t improperly paraphrase, don’t excessively borrow other sites’ content.
Avoiding Non-Sports Content: Writers are allowed to introduce non-sports content if it is interconnected with the sports world, but avoid jumping over the line and delving deeply into non-sports conversation.
Forbes’ April Fool’s Faux Pas Shows Why Satire Is Forbidden at B/R: Bleacher Report does not allow satirical (or fictional) pieces due to possible confusion with actual news items on search engines.
Humor: How To Bring the Funny Without Embarrassing Yourself: Just because satire is forbidden does not mean humor on the whole is as well.
Avoiding Offensive Content: R-rated commentary (and any commentary that can be perceived as offensive) needs to stay home, as does PG-13 profanity.
Take Home Note: As usual, if you ever have any questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Paul Kasabian is Bleacher Report’s Content Moderation Coordinator. He can be reached at email@example.com.