For having our voices heard by thousands of readers every week, not much is known about the inner workings of the Editorial Panel. The uninterrupted weekly publication of the Tip.It Times has become so commonplace that the hard work put in every week is often overlooked. Just what does it take to publish the Tip.It Times? There are quite a few steps.
An Editorial Panel (EP as it will further be abbreviated) member must first apply and be accepted into one of two positions: author or editor. Just recently, we held a recruitment drive for 2012. Although we received applications many qualified users, we had to narrow our choices down to just seven. After much discussion and debate, three new authors and four new editors were added to the EP. These candidates were judged on writing ability, grammar, forum reputation, time flexibility, and familiarity with RuneScape (such as being a moderately high level or veteran).
Once a person is added to the EP, they are placed on a schedule for a month. An editor reviews all of the articles due to be published in a given week for correctness and also offers suggestions for improvement. Authors are required to submit a 600+ word article about anything related to RuneScape, usually recent updates. Experienced EP authors write the article featured (known as an Editorial) with a preview on the main page and any EP author may be selected to write the accompanying article. Also, when available, a fictional series may be periodically published alongside the Times. Editors may write articles too, but at a lower priority than authors.
Obviously, unforeseen circumstances sometimes prevent an article from being published on time. This is where you, the readers, come into play. Either used to substitute a missing article or to complement the scheduled articles, guest articles are the average user’s chance of having their voice heard by an audience that extends far beyond our forum (even known to reach Jagex once in a while). We felt that our former accept/reject approach to guest articles was unfair, so we are taking a new approach: an editor is now assigned to work with all guest authors in a given month to offer the same feedback and suggestions that our regular authors would receive.
Once an article has been published, an author is generally expected to read feedback in the discussion thread and respond to any queries that may arise. Oftentimes, the criticism received is less than constructive. Ideal constructive feedback would include suggestions for improvement, which often works better than insults. Pedantic feedback, regardless of intention, often ignites into heated debates between authors and readers. It’s very demoralizing to witness these trivial arguments that often occur, unfortunately, over a simple misunderstanding or insignificant detail.
Beyond publishing duties, there are other ways we participate on the EP. Active discussions on how to improve the Tip.It Times have recently resulted in some changes. For instance, we just began tagging articles by author and by content so that interested readers may browse their favorite author’s articles or favorite article type. We had to work closely with some very patient members of the Crew (whom we are very grateful to) to even make that a possibility.
All in all, working on the Editorial Panel is a very enjoyable experience. Just having the opportunity to work alongside some of TIF’s most talented writers and editors is more than enough to compensate for the effort it takes to keep the Tip.It Times consistently published every single week. We’re hoping you’ll enjoy our new authors and editors as much as we are now as they begin their first projects with us in the next coming weeks.