Tips for Better Citizen Journalism
1. Headline. Choose an explicit headline that instantly tells your reader what you’re writing about. Make sure it includes a verb. For instance…
Court Rules in Favor of Bridge Protesters in Argentina
is better than
Bridge Over Troubled Water
2. Images. Use images. Photos catch the eye and will draw readers to your article.
Search Creative Commons-licensed images on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/. Always cite sources.
3. Spelling & grammar. Check your spelling. People are less likely to trust the integrity of an article with spelling and grammar errors.
4. Ethics. We recommend writers follow the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp.
5. Links. Link to sources and resources. Readers will trust your article more if you offer proof. And linking to blogs and other news sources increases your standing in search engines.
6. Length. Break up long paragraphs. This makes your article easier—and more fun—to read.
7. Profile. Complete your profile. Add a photo and describe your background so that readers know why they should trust you.
How to get more traffic
1. Tip them off. If you have a scoop, tip off blogs and mainstream news sites. Most sites accept tips via email. A link from a major news site can drive a ton of traffic. Do not, however, spam these sites–you will get blocked.
2. Email. Email your article to friends, family, classmates or colleagues who would be interested. A personal email message is one of the most effective and simple ways to spread the word.
3. Social Media. Link to your articles from your profile on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and others.
4. Your blog. Link to your articles and portfolio from your blog to bring in more traffic.
5. Groups. Spread the word about GroundReport to your networks at school and beyond.
6. Karma. Promotes articles for each other. More people will come to GroundReport.com–and find your work!