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Questions to Ask yourself when you write or edit articles

A reader sent in this set of comments on what he looks for in articles. Every writer and editor on the site should consider them carefully.

I saw your message calling for comments on the site, but couldn't find it again when I logged in.

Tonight I'd like to comment on content quality.

When I read articles, I ask myself these questions:

1. Does the writer have something new to say?
2. Is his assertion well grounded in fact.
3. Are his interpretations of the fact reasonable and logical.
4. What is his point of view (and possible biax.)
5. Does this article open or close dialog.

Several things cause me to skip over articles:
1. Characterizations that are unsupported or inflammatory.
2. Rants (Heated expressions of opinion that involve name-calling, characterization, and no analytical support.
3. Disorganized ramblings where the point is not clear.

Other things make me pay attention:
1. Direct quotes.
2. Attribution of sources of facts.
3. Reasoned analysis.
4. Attempts to present two sides of an issue and analyze them.

Now I realize that not all of us are writers or investigative reporters. However, as editors I think that you should vet the stuff you feature. That way you will begin to develop a public identity and personality as a news and opinion source. As it is now, there is little distinction for placing material on your site. It appears along with the ravings, rants, and biased opinions that add more heat than light to discussions.

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