Working FAQ for Editorial Midwives
Below is our working FAQ document to help you along in this process. Your questions, suggestions and answers will help grow this document, so please feel free to contribute.
Q: What is my role as an Editorial Midwife?
A: Your role as an Editorial Midwife is to support, guide and empower: You will act as a nurturing editor to help the Correspondents find their voices, learn the basics of journalism and discover how Web 2.0 can be used to enhance their visions for the future.
You are also developing a one-on-one connection that will evolve organically, depending on the needs of your Correspondent. Your role is to help her identify and overcome any obstacles she may face in her writing. If you are ever in doubt of what you need to do, just ASK!
Q: How do I find my Correspondent's writing assignments?
A: In your PulseWire profile, if you've added the Correspondent as a friend, you can see all their posts under the "Friends" tab on your profile. If you need help finding any of this, please just ask for help.
Q: How do I connect to my Correspondent?
A: You will need to discuss with your Correspondent what the best way is for you to communicate around her drafts. You might use email more frequently than PulseWire, or vice versa. Or maybe you both use Skype! Just make sure to create a communications plan that works for both of you.
Q. What do I do if my Correspondent asks me for money?
A. We recognize that funding is a need for many Correspondents. Although you may be able to support your Correspondent’s efforts in seeking funding, your role is not as a donor. We ask that you do not give your Correspondent any monetary assistance during the training program. This could cause problems and complaints from other participants. We have also clearly outlined this issue for Correspondents.
Q: How can I be helpful when evaluating Correspondents’ assignments?
A: When evaluating assignments, your role as an Editorial Midwife is to support the Correspondents through their writing process. You are a witness to their progress through a life-changing process of personal and professional empowerment. Your overall goal is to help them present their best work in their final drafts. Read on for ways you can help strengthen their writing:
- Help with titles:
A title should draw a reader in by giving some specific information that hints to the larger meaning of the piece. Express the theme of the article in an active voice, which will lend immediacy to a story. Use strong present-tense verbs and make each word count: short, sweet and to the point.
- Help bring out a World Pulse editorial voice:
Our editorial voice can best be described through three feelings we hope to convey to the reader:
- INSPIRED: When reading, you feel inspired. The piece describes a peak experience (an event, a personality, etc.) in a fresh and new way. You can tell the writer feels inspired.
- SOLUTIONS-ORIENTED: The writing presents a way forward, and as a reader you feel that there is a way for you to take action.
- CONNECTION: While reading, you feel a genuine heart and soul connection to the author. There is a unique voice that is both personal and authoritative.
- Additionally, we strive to bring personality to the writing.
Capturing the sounds, sights, smells, and tastes of a particular place adds richness and texture to a story.
- Help present the micro and the macro:
Each story, no matter how small, should be connected to the larger context of our world. The specific details a Correspondent gives on the challenges a local orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS faces can be supported by the larger context of myths, misinformation and health policy perceptions of the global AIDS crisis. For readers, it is helpful to understand local happenings if they are grounded in a larger context. The form this takes will be unique to each piece, but it is a wonderful general guideline.
- Quotes, quotes, quotes!
Quotes help bring interesting and sometimes colorful voices to a story by using multiple quotes throughout. When we hear directly from stakeholders, we feel connected to a specific reality.
Dealing with cultural differences, or challenging situations:
Interacting with our global community is an opportunity to explore differences as well as similarities. We are bound to witness stories and situations that differ from our "normal" lives. A key thing to remember is that it's okay to be yourself, to ask questions, to express fears or uncertainties, and to voice your perspectives. Be respectful, patient and engaged—if you feel uncomfortable, you are not alone! There is a community to support you, so don't hesitate to ask for support in this group or through e-mail.
As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, thoughts or concerns, do not hesitate to contact Rachael or Scott.