www.hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk     Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

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HOT is looking for new writers

Have you ever thought of writing for HOT? If so, come along on Sunday 25 February at 4pm to Cafe Grand Rue Pera, 74 Queens Road and find out how easy it can be! Erica Smith shares the joys of being a HOT citizen journalist.

HOT has been run by volunteers since 2009. Because it’s an online publication, it is relatively simple to keep it going, but we know there are so many more voices out there that could be heard through our digital pages, and we’d love to expand our HOT team.

So, if you’re interested in becoming a contributor to HOT, then come along to meet some of the HOT team and find out more about HOT house-style and tips for writing a successful article.

What we are looking for
Articles that have a local connection – maybe an interview with a local person who interests you, or a preview of a band or performer who has an upcoming event in the town. Maybe you are passionate about local architecture or walks in the local countryside or a particular community group or campaign. An example is that I have been involved with the Save the St Leonards Crown Post Office campaign, and have written several articles documenting the process of the campaign.

Articles don’t need to be very long, I recommend 600 words – I’m a great believer in brevity, particularly to get your message across in an online publication. However, if there is an in-depth story to cover, the beauty of a web-based publication is that articles can be as long as they need to be, and have as many illustrations as you wish to process and upload.

If you don’t want to write articles… but do want to contribute to the wealth of activity in this town, we would LOVE to have more people adding events to our very popular What’s On guide. It’s easy to do, and it is really valuable to have an online calendar of so many varied events for locals and visitors to peruse.

Fiction/poetry
HOT does include some fiction and poetry, but our primary focus is external happenings in the area rather than offering a platform for creative writing. We’d love articles about local writers (and other creatives), and there is no reason why there couldn’t be a reciprocal arrangement where one writer chooses to interview another writer, and select extracts of their work to be included in the article.

Perks of the job
HOT is careful that it remains independent in its content. We do have some advertising on the site, and we really appreciate those sponsors. But we try hard not to be partisan in our editorial. So, we don’t really encourage people to directly promote their own businesses, or other people’s businesses if they are being paid to get articles published (that’s marketing, not journalism). However, if you want to preview a gig or show, most venues will be happy to put you on the guest list. We are often contacted by agents asking if we would like to interview a band or performer.

WordPress and peer review
HOT is a WordPress-based website, and we train our contributors to use it. It isn’t hard, and the more frequently you write articles, the easier it is to remember how to use it!

Our main rule is that we never publish our own stories. This is for two important reasons:
1 – it is easy to miss out silly things in your own article, so it is always good to have someone else check for spellings, that you’ve included the date of an event, and added a featured image for the story.
2 – we have to be careful that no story is libellous. Whilst the opinions may be that of the writer, HOT still has to be responsible about what is published. This is why peer review is really important.

The peer review process means that we ask all writers to proof and publish articles by their fellow journalists. It doesn’t take long, and it’s a good way of becoming more familiar with what is being published, and getting to know your fellow HOTTIES.

If these 718 words haven’t put you off, then I look forward to seeing you at 4pm on Sunday 25 February at Cafe Rue Grand Pera, 74 Queens Road, Hastings.

Posted 11:11 Wednesday, Feb 14, 2018 In: HOT Gossip

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