Advox Netizen Report Guidelines

Weekly Netizen Report

Guidelines initially set up by Rebecca.

The Netizen Report is a weekly publication that overviews the power dynamics between citizens, companies and governments on the Internet. It should serve as a quick weekly roundup of the most important news stories for people that are engaged with these issues around the world. It is translated into a number of languages and posted on Global Voices Advocacy. The report in its weekly form should be no more than 1200 words long.

Process

The Netizen Report is assembled each week by a team of volunteers who work together using a Google Group and Google doc, where they compile research and links, and draft the report itself. All research must be complete by Monday afternoon pacific time, so that the writing phase can begin on Tuesday. The report is published on Wednesdays by Advox and Slate's Future Tense blog. Any GV community member is welcome to join the Netizen Report team. Contact Ellery if you're interested in joining.

Content

The content can vary depending on the nature of news stories, but include things such as censorship, surveillance, online activism, privacy, Internet governance, and corporate power, among others. Each item we include must demonstrate relevance for the fundamental rights of citizens using the Internet or digital communication tools. For this reason, our coverage of tech industry news is relatively limited.

Each story should have a brief explanation of the key issues involved. This should be about a sentence long. If an issue is very complex or needs context additional explanation of a sentence or maximum two is alright but please be succinct and use links to provide people with additional background.

Where stories relate to one another or there are different posts on the same issue, they can be written into a short paragraph.

New stories should be covered in each edition, but it is alright to have new updates on issues that have been covered before. It isn’t necessary to link to old articles.

All article links should be in English where possible.

The lead should normally be 1-2 paragraphs in length, and should highlight an issue of importance from over the week. Wherever possible, we should try to highlight news from outside the US unless there is a major story (ie. the SOPA protests) – so that we can give greater voice to issues that might not get much attention otherwise. Even when we highlight a US-focused story, if there is a global angle that we can take (ie. reactions from around the world) this will contribute to our readers’ knowledge. It is helpful if the lead story involves something for which there are pictures or other visuals.

Visuals

We need a photo or some other visual at the top of the Netizen Report. This image is also used as a feature image on the front page of Global Voices Advocacy. It should also relate to the lead story. We must have the rights for any images that we include with our posts. This can include getting permission to use photos, using our own works, or using creative commons licensed work.

To find Creative Commons licensed work:

  1. Flickr.com advanced search: select “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content.” Be sure to check the rights (in a text block to the left) on every photo, as there are different levels of permissions granted.
  2. Google images advanced search “free to use or share,” or other options so long as they are not “not filtered by license.”
  3. Wikimedia commons: all photos on wikimedia are cc-licensed.
  4. The CC Search Engine allows you to choose among numerous media services (images, music, etc.).

Style

The word Internet should always be capitalized.

Linked words or phrases should be short, no longer than a few words.

Word choice should be simple and active and sentences as clear and direct as possible, to help out the translation team.

Specific names of organizations, people, and dates should always be included, avoiding acronyms. It’s better to be specific than general. Do not italicize the names of companies, websites, or news organizations.

Our audience is global. Do not assume that readers are familiar with particular names, institutions, acronyms, or cultural icons in any particular place. Everything must be spelled out and explained with a phrase when needed on first mention. Hyperlinks to a Wikipedia entry or web page for the institution or person mentioned are very helpful to readers who may be unfamiliar with what or who you are writing about.

When referring to government agencies, mention which government they are from, ie. US State Department rather than just State Department.

The tense should be active and first person plural (we, not I – or even better, the Netizen Report). While it’s alright to reference ourselves, it would be best to keep this to the lead.

Punctuation should consistently go inside quotes, eg. “word.”

Keep currency values in their original form. Consider noting the equivalent sum in a dominant world currency such as the Euro or US dollar. For example: “Raif Bawadi was sentenced to ten years in prison and a fine of 1 million riyals (about USD 237,000).”