Writer Guidelines

How do we maintain a high editorial standard? A simple set of guidelines.
Writer Guidelines
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CriteriaExcellentNeeds workFailing
Formatting
Word CountAround 250 words, perfectly concise.200-300 words, mostly concise.Below 200 or over 300 words, too long or too short.
Section Length45-60 words per section, highly condensed.60-65 words per section, adequately condensed.>65 words per section, too wordy.
Sub-section LengthEach sub-section is under 45 words and clearly defined.Sub-sections are mostly under 45 words, with some exceptions.Sub-sections consistently exceed 45 words and lack clarity.
Brevity and ClarityArticle is exceptionally concise and clear.Article is mostly concise and clear, with minor lapses.Article lacks conciseness and clarity.
Title and Subtitle
Headline QualityApproximately 6 words and tied to the article's analysis and/or unique element.Slightly longer than 6 words, but still related to the analysis.Too long, or too vague (could be used for many different articles)
Headline AppealCatchy, strong, and memorable, stands out from mainstream headlines.Adequately catchy but lacks uniqueness or memorability.Generic, similar to mainstream headlines, not memorable.
Subtitle Clarity and RelevanceEnhances the headline, succinctly adds context related to the analysis.Provides context but could be more closely tied to the analysis.Fails to add value or context to the headline.
Content
Story ExplanationStory is immediately clear and engaging.Story is somewhat clear, lacks some engagement.Story is unclear or unengaging.
ConversationalLanguage is clear, engaging, and jargon-free, suitable for a wide audience.Language mostly clear but may include some jargon or complex terms.Language is filled with jargon or is too complex, not reader-friendly.
ContextProvides and explains relevant context, enhances understanding.Some context provided but may be irrelevant or confusing.No context or irrelevant information.
Relevance and ImpactCaptures the significance of the story exceptionally well.Adequately addresses the story's importance.Fails to capture why the story matters.
Use of DataConcrete numbers, statistics, and details used, adds depth without complexity.Adequate use of data, but may have minor complexities.Poor or no use of data, too complex or irrelevant.
Analysis
Underreported InsightsOffers deep, underreported insights and perspectives.Provides some insights, but they are somewhat surface-level.Lacks unique insights, too similar to mainstream coverage.
ObjectivityMaintains matter-of-fact analysis with no opinions.Mostly objective but may contain subtle biases.Contains obvious opinions or biases.
InsightfulnessAnalysis is exceptionally insightful and thought-provoking.Analysis is adequate but lacks depth.Analysis lacks insight or is overly obvious.
Hostile Audience TestBulletproof even to a critical audience.Generally solid but may have minor flaws.Fails under scrutiny, not convincing.
Sourcing
Source LinkingAll sources are accurately and relevantly linked, and reputable. Every fact that isn’t obvious is sourced. Sources are linked but may be not reputable (like unsubstantiated social media posts).Lacks source linking, affecting credibility
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