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Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
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Hastings Online Times in its finished form

Ready, steady . . . WRITE

Hastings Online Times (HOT) has been going for quite a few years now. Its not really a newspaper, nor is it a magazine in any normal sense of the word. For want of a better descriptive expression, it’s an online ‘resource.’ So there’s news, comment, feature material, reviews and reflections; and there’s also a rolling calendar of events and happenings in Hastings and the surrounding area. But this mixture depends on a steady flow of new writers to keep it fresh, diverse and interesting. Here, new member of the team Toby Sargent explains how you can be part of it too.

I’ve absolutely no idea what stories will be found surrounding this one when it goes online. A review of an event that’s just taken place, a preview piece about something that’s happening in a few weeks time, and very likely a personal view from someone about something that they feel passionate about like the environment, local politics or a community project.

Delighted or enraged

The only thing that they’ll all have in common is a connection to Hastings and its hinterland. And sometimes the pieces we publish attract comments from people delighted or enraged by what’s been written. Or simply wanting to chip in their two penn’orth.

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Publishing is easy, even for the IT illiterate

But nothing hangs around on the front page for too long, thank goodness. HOT’s webmeister, Weeksey, has inserted some gubbins in the programme that moves the pieces around the page every few hours and then, as a new article comes on, catapults one of the older ones out into cyberspace. Or, to be more accurate, re-positions it in our online archive.

So HOT is at its best when there are lots of different pieces on different topics, in a state of constant churn to make opening it a pleasure for our considerable readership.

Sports reports

Sadly though, lots of the things that make this town an interesting and exciting place to live or visit never seem to get a mention. Where are the sports reports, for example? Why is there nothing written by – or about – the students at Sussex Coast College? And what about the work being done in schools, or by youth groups?

Then there’s politics. There’s a fair amount of stuff written from a left-ish perspective, but the supporters of our Conservative MP doubled her majority at the election last year, and yet their voice is not to be found at all.

In a different part of the HOT world, we could do with some bloggers using our platform to express entirely personal views on what’s happening around us. The town has scores of individual interest groups who could use HOT to promote what they are doing.

Simple and fun

Writing for HOT is simple and fun. I’m as close as you can get to being IT illiterate really (I’d never have guessed: Ed), but even I got the hang of posting things in time. You could too. Why not get in touch via hot@hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk, use the contact form or just comment on this post? We’ll show you how to do it all and help you get your voice heard. If it’s just a one-off piece, that’s fine. We can input it for you and find eye-catching pictures to illustrate it. But if you fancy becoming a regular, we’ll set you up with a proper account and you can type your material straight into the system.

So yes, it is simple and it is fun. But you won’t make your fortune with it as we are all volunteers, and don’t even get expenses. But who knows? The internet is a limitless world and maybe your piece will get seen by someone on a big circulation magazine and, before you know it . . .

 

Posted 10:25 Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016 In: Home Ground

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