Letter From a Guest Editor
Column by Bradley Keyes.
Exclusive to STR
I have been the Friday editor for Strike The Root for almost two years. I have enjoyed being an active part of the site but I will soon stop being the Friday guest editor in order to focus my time on some other projects. The primary Editor will need someone to replace me, and I know he sometimes has problems finding people willing to sign up. I figured I'd write up a short description of what the job entails, how much time it takes, and how I approached it in the hope that it will help persuade others to contribute.
The quick summary is: find and post 14 links, mostly liberty-related, that will inform, interest, or entertain the readers of Strike The Root. My process for collecting links is to read a lot throughout the week. I am always on the lookout for articles that I think fit with STR's philosophy and will be interesting to its audience. I collect the URLs for these articles in Evernote, my favorite note taking program. On Thursday, I skim each article again. If it still seems appropriate and if it hasn't already been posted on STR in the previous days, I create an entry on STR that will be displayed the next day, Friday. I've gotten the time I spend on Thursday down to about an hour to an hour and half. Occasionally it takes more time, especially if I haven't collected many links throughout the week. In those cases, I have a set of websites I go to hunting for other articles.
What kinds of links and articles do I look for? Obviously, most of the items are related in some way to liberty--the fight for, violations of, questions about. This leaves room for a wide variety of topics. I tried to keep a good mix of international, national, and local news--some of it political, some economic, some about business and technology, and some on a more personal level. I tried to mix positive and negative items--it's way too easy to focus only on negative happenings. I also mixed news, commentary, and art. Not everything has to be directly liberty-related. The Editor encourages the posting of articles about science, technology, or anything you find interesting under the topic of Discovery. I also generally tried to find a liberty-related song or lyric since I love music and I think there's a lot of interesting songs out there that many people haven't heard. I always ended with a link to a photo gallery, as requested by the Editor--a reminder of the beauty of the world in which we live. I tried to include humor when I could find it. It's hard to find, and I wish there was a little more out there--sometimes these topics can get too depressing and a little levity, along with the beauty, helps.
The actual steps for posting links for a day are pretty straight-forward:
- Log on to STR
- Go to the Create New External Link page
Enter the following:
- Title of Article (this is usually just a cut and paste; you may have to add capitalization to each word if they didn't come capitalized)
- URL (again cut and paste)
- Description - for this I either cut and paste a particularly intriguing few sentences from the story, hopefully something that will compel the reader to want to read more, or if I can't find a good few sentences, I'll come up with some commentary of my own
- Date for Publication - for me it would be tomorrow's (Friday's) date
- Choose related Topics (tags if you'd prefer)
- Save what you've entered
- Add the new link to the publishing queue (you just need to click a couple buttons)
- Repeat the process for a total of 14 links.
- Once all links are added, if desired, you can drag and drop the links to set their order of appearance on the page.
I hope this summary helps encourage some of you to give guest editing a try. I'll still be reading STR and possibly contributing in the future. If you have any questions, please add them to the comments section. I'll make sure to watch for them and answer as best I can.
Best wishes to all,