Stories to Write About

One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing a story is how it furthers Global Voices’ mission:

We work to find the most compelling and important stories coming from marginalized and misrepresented communities. We speak out against online censorship and support new ways for people to gain access to the Internet.

While there are countless kinds of stories that support our mission, there are certain tried and tested ones that we should be focusing on.

Breaking or Trending News

These are stories that highlight authentic voices informing, responding and reacting to a breaking news or trending story. These posts are timely and have an urgency and fall between 200 and 600 words.

EXAMPLE: Malaysia Airlines MH370 Mystery Fuels Conspiracy Theories

This story has close to 30,000 views. It has a great beginning and a very effective delayed lead in the third paragraph:

After a week of conflicting information surrounding the disappearance of flight MH370 and its 239 occupants, theories ranging from ludicrous to plausible have cropped up to fill the void about what happened.

This story also has excellent commentary curation from a wide range of people and a very nice ending.

EXAMPLE: Anonymous International’ Leaks Kremlin's Instructions to Russian TV

This story has 16,000 views. It's short and sweet, and the context in the third paragraph is beautifully written:

Russian television has long been infamous for parroting the Kremlin on political issues. It is still rare, however, that the public glimpses this propaganda system’s internal workings. If Anonymous International’s leak is genuine, Russians are getting to peek behind the curtain today.

Viral Content

These stories explain a photo, video or meme that has gone viral. They fall between 150 and 800 words.

EXAMPLE: Video: Decoding Indian Headshakes In Less Than Two Minutes

This quick read has close to 7,000 views. It nicely explains the video, how viral it is and adds some commentary from the creator of the video and regular viewers.

Advocacy

These stories highlight issues about Internet freedom, regulation, digital rights, digital activism, surveillance, censorship, blogger intimidation and arrests. They usually fall between 400 and 800 words.

EXAMPLE: Bad News & Worse News for Russian Internet Users

This story has close to 4,000 views and is an excellent explainer-type post. It has a very strong kicker in the end which reflects our mission perfectly:

The idea to equate bloggers with mass media is still just a bill in the legislature, but it’s already harming Internet freedom in Russia. One shudders to think what will happen, when the damned thing is the law of the land.

Counter-Narratives

These stories explain how western media got it wrong. These are explainer-type posts that usually fall between 700 and 1,200 words.

EXAMPLE: Ukraine's Activists Debunk Russian Myths on Crimea

This post has close to 4,000 views. It has a really strong lead with excellent context and details.

Unheard Voices

These cover stories on the Internet about communities, people, projects or things that no one is amplifying or telling beautifully. They usually fall between 600 and 1,000 words.

EXAMPLE: Ukrainian Women's Sex Boycott Against Russian Men

This story has more than 30,000 views. It digs up and busts some “untruths” about the campaign. It also has a really fun kicker (ending):

The concept of a sex boycott is at least 2,425 years old. That, anyway, is how long ago the Greeks first performed Lysistrata, a comedy about the women of Greece withholding sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers to force an end to the Peloponnesian War. The play was written seven years before Athens lost that war.

Stereotype Busting

No country or community is homogeneous and we know that. Let’s peel away some of the big biases the countries we cover face. These are explainer-type posts that usually fall between 600 and 1,000 words.

EXAMPLE: 6 People From Madagascar You Should Know

This story has more than 6,000 views because it does a wonderful job simply laying out six modern figures from Madagascar who have made a difference in the African island country.

EXAMPLE: 8 Extraordinarily Talented People From Yemen Everyone Should Know

This story has a great lead:

If you do a Google search on the word “Yemen”, you probably will get news headlines about drone strikes, Al-Qaeda attacks, kidnappings or killings. Well, there is more to Yemen than all that violence you read about in the media.

It has 4,000 views so far.

EXAMPLE: Iran’s New Wave of Women Fashion Designers

How Technology Is Changing Society

When culture and technology collide, interesting things happen. We need to highlight these points of collision or tension. These can be explainer-type posts between 600 and 1,000 words.

EXAMPLE: Meet Crimea's New Anime Mascot, Natalia Poklonskaya

This story has over 42,000 views. It is short and beautifully told. The big picture ending highlights the tension between tech (viral images), society (objectification of professional women) and politics seamlessly.