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Write for us

The Minsk Herald welcomes unsolicited articles and blog posts. If you are interested in writing for us, please fill out our Contact Us form with your proposal.

Preference will be given to original reporting and analysis, but we will also consider commentary. Please note that we only cover news and events related to Belarus and its capital Minsk.

Submissions  should range between 600 and 1200 words, while feature articles generally start at around 1000 words. For original reporting in particular, we recommend first pitching ideas to the editor.

If you seek compensation, please indicate this clearly in your pitch, and whether the article has been published elsewhere. Any payment must be agreed by the editor in advance.

Because of the very large volume of submissions we receive, we will contact you only if we feel able to accept your piece. If you do not hear from us within three business days, please feel free to submit your article to other publications.

Please submit your article or pitch just once. Do not submit it to multiple editors.

 

What we publish

We accept submissions for original, feature-length articles only (not blog posts or columns). These typically run between 600 and  1,200 words. We do not publish anything that’s been published elsewhere (including on your blog).

You may submit a rough draft, a partial draft, or a short pitch (a paragraph or two summarizing your argument and why it’s important to our readers) paired with an outline. The more complete your submission is, the better feedback we can give you.

Before you submit, look at our style guide and recent articles for insight into structuring and formatting your piece, and make sure your submission:

  • Offers a clear argument, not just a list of tips and tricks.
  • Has a voice. Be bold, interesting, and human.
  • Is supported with convincing arguments, not just opinions. Fact-check, and cite sources where appropriate.

 

Follow our style guide

Capital Letters:

In titles and subtitles, use capital letters for all words except conjunctions, prepositions, pronouns and articles e.g. Andrew Wilson on the Survival of Lukashenka. In normal text, only use capitals for people’s titles e.g. President Lukashenka is Belarusian, but: Lukashenka is the president of Belarus. Government, parliament, election, the opposition: all lower case.

Currency:

Please quote all currencies in (US) dollars where possible. If using Belarusian roubles or any other currency, try and give the conversion into dollars in brackets. $1,000; BYR1,000; €1,000. For all other currencies, use words e.g. 1,000 British pounds, 1,000 Russian roubles.

Dates:

31 December 2014 (day month year; no commas). 20th century (not XX century); 1980s; 1990s. In 2014-2015, between 2010 and 2012.

Figures:

Spell out from one to nine (e.g. two days ago); numerals for 10 to 999,999 (e.g. 11 days ago); 1m, 2bn (e.g. $12.5m, except for people e.g. 2 million Belarusians). Use a period/full stop to indicate a decimal e.g. The population of Belarus is 9.5 million. Use a comma to make a large figure clearer e.g. There were 1,000 protesters present. 5 per cent, 45.7 per cent. 100 km, 100 kg.

Spelling

In general, we use U.S. English according to the Chicago Manual of Style, with Fowler’s Modern English Usage taking over in tricky situations.

Acronyms

Only use acronyms straight-away for well-known organisations (WTO, NATO, CIS, EU) and try to avoid using less well-known acronyms. For lesser-known organizations, spell out in the first instance with acronym in brackets; thereafter, use acronym.

Titles

Do not italicise or put in quotes English titles of books, films, NGOs or political parties. e.g. The New York Times reported that the Tell the Truth campaign said this. However, for non-English titles, use italics. e.g. Pravda reported that the Tell the Truth campaign said this

Quotations

Use double inverted commas for direct quotations and for emphasis or uncertainty. The newspaper stressed that a “tough reaction was inevitable”. The IMF loan is needed as a “security cushion”.

Content Guidelines

  • Write for our target audience: expats and foreign guests of Belarus
  • The texts should deal with current problems and events which affect Belarus or Belarus-related policy-making.
  • The piece should be in English and should not be overly technical or theoretical, but practical and engaging.
  • The Minsk Herald  presents research results in a concise manner and encourages submission of short texts.
  • The authors are requested to provide a sentence or two summarising the contribution’s key message in the first two paragraphs.
  • Texts should be accompanied by 6-8 keywords (free tags) which summarise the key themes of the paper.Authors are encouraged to include 3-4 subheadings.
  • The authors are asked to follow older posts as a precedent for style, e.g. no footnotes, similar use of subheadings when necessary, a short title, short sentences.

All accepted texts are subject to editorial revision and English language proofreading.

 

Author bios and photos

All final drafts should be accompanied by an author bio and photo. Author bios should be 40 to 50 words long and may include links. They should be snappy, informative, and brief.

Examples:

Hanna Ivanavich is a graduate of Belarusian State University and holds  a degree in Journalism. Anna is a member International Union of Journalists and an active member of the freelance community.  She’s probably flipping out about something on Twitter as we speak.

Pavel Pawlaw is translator and interpeter from Minsk, Belarus. He spends the majority of his days maintaining his website, and drafting treaties for imaginary conflicts. It is rumored he is allergic to cashews, but that is largely unconfirmed.

Author photos don’t need to be professional portraits, but should look polished. The Minsk Herald  will prepare them for publication, so please send them as un-tweaked files with a minimum size of 400px by 400px.

 

When your text is ready

Before you submit, please run through this checklist. Have you…

  • Added your name, email, website, Twitter handle, and Google+ profile link to the top of your post?
  • Included your two-sentence bio at the top of your post? (HTML, please, if you know how!)
  • Added two links within your post to other posts on The Minsk Herald? (Use relevant keyword anchors like this.)
  • Turned your post into an editable Word Doc?

If so, you’re ready to submit!

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I write about?
To get a sense for the type of work we publish, read our site! We want practical, actionable advice, posts that will help foreigners in Belarus to get clear picture what is going on in this country . Please write in the “you” voice as much as possible, then support your advice with personal experience or stories.

Do you pay?
Typically, no, aside from the occasional assigned post. When you contribute to The Minsk Herald, you’ll get a byline and two-sentence bio that includes a link or two to whatever you’d like to promote — your website, Twitter feed, latest ebook, etc. We’ll also share your post in our newsletter, and on Twitter and Facebook, to help you reach as many readers as possible.

How long should my posts be?
Aim for 600-1200 words.

Should I pitch you my idea before writing the post?
If you’d like to, go ahead. But we’re happy to consider a draft as well.

Should I include links within the piece?
Yes. Please include links that will be helpful and relevant for the reader – they can be to appropriate posts on your site or on any other news site or blog. When you can link to other posts on The Minsk Herald, that makes us happy, too.

Should I write a headline?
That’d be great! We reserve the right to tweak it for SEO, style or just to make it more attention-grabbing. But if you want to suggest one, that makes our job easier.

Will you edit my post?
We’ll edit for content and clarity, doing our best to preserve your voice.

Anything else I should keep in mind?
Posts should be written in blog style, with short paragraphs and lots of white space. Including a few sub-headings is much appreciated, and please use only one space between sentences!

Should I include a photo?
No need. We’ll add one.

What should I do after I submit my post?
When it runs, we hope you’ll be active in the comments, responding to readers’ questions or thoughts.

 

We look forward to your contribution!

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