Netizen Report Guidelines

The Netizen Report is a weekly publication that overviews the power dynamics between people, governments, technology companies and other powerful actors on the internet. It should serve as a quick weekly roundup of important news stories for people that are engaged with these issues around the world. It is translated into dozens of languages and posted on both Advox and Global Voices’ main site.

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. Any GV community member can join the Netizen Report team. Contact any Newsroom or Advox editor if you're interested in joining.

Process and Research

Every Netizen Report covers key weekly news about censorship, surveillance, online activism, internet governance and corporate power, among others. Every news item must:

  • demonstrate relevance for the fundamental rights of people using the internet or digital communication tools with a non-violent civic intent
  • demonstrate newsworthiness – news items must involve an event that has taken place no more than two weeks before the Report's publication date

At the start of each Netizen Report cycle, which typically begins on Thursday afternoon EST, our managing editor (Sarah Myers West as of January 2018) shares a new Google doc with the group. All group members are encouraged to:

  • Post links to relevant news items
  • Add one or two sentences per link, summarizing the story and explaining its relevance to Advox issues. This is especially important if/when news items are not written in English.

Please do not post information without a link, as this makes it difficult for editors to verify.

All research must be completed by Monday evening Pacific time so that the writing phase can begin on Tuesday. Typically, Advox editors share the work of completing the writing and editing for the report. The report is typically published on Wednesdays on Advox, GV's main site and on Slate's Future Tense blog. It is also distributed to direct subscribers, through MailChimp. Our subscription form is on the Advox homepage.

Content and Structure

The Netizen Report includes a lead story, a series of news items, and a short list of recent research that may be of interest to our readers.

Lead: The Report begins with a lead story, which is typically selected and written by Advox and newsroom editors. The lead story is intended to give reader 300-500 words of information about a specific event that we feel merits special attention. The lead often focuses on a story that other mainstream tech media have not given sufficient (or any) attention.

News items: The rest of the Report includes a series of news items that are especially relevant and important to our community. We try in particular to include items that have been ignored by the mainstream media.

Each news item must include a brief explanation of the key issues involved. This should be about one 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 in a short paragraph.

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

New Research: At the conclusion of the report, we try to include 1-4 links to longer research reports or in-depth articles that may be of interest to our readers. These must come from academic or independent, non-government institutions.

The report in its weekly form should be no more than 1200 words long.

 

Writing Style

Please follow Global Voices’ standard style rules when contributing to the Netizen Report. Here are a few specific styles notes to keep in mind when contributing to the Netizen Report:

  • Write in the active voice.
  • Use words and sentences that are as clear and direct as possible. This will please the reader and make translators’ work easier.
  • 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 the 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.
  • Include the specific names of organizations, people, and dates. Avoid acronyms wherever possible.
  • When referring to government agencies, identify which government they are part of, ie. US State Department rather than just State Department.
  • 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).”

 

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 the Advox site. It should also relate to the lead story. We must have the rights to 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. Learn more about finding reusable images here.