Writing for Science Borealis: Our writing practicum for editorial candidates

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Science Borealis subject/contributing editors are expected to write 4–6 articles for publication on our site every year, in rotation with other subject/contributing editors. This works about to be one post approximately every 8–12 weeks.

We recognize that this can be demanding, especially with our high editorial standards and rigorous editorial process. To help editorial candidates determine if Science Borealis is a good fit for them, we invite them to undertake a trial period. The trial period is essentially a five-week, hands-on editorial practicum.

During the trial practicum, the candidate writes an evergreen post – a post with content that has a long shelf life. You would work through the entire editorial cycle during the trial period, pitching your idea, taking part in a team pitch session to develop the idea, and working with the blog editors on at least two drafts (usually more) of the post. Once it is finished and accepted, we use the evergreen post to ‘plug the holes’ in our editorial cycle (usually within four months).

The trial period allows us to put you through your paces and you to put us through our paces. If it doesn’t work out, no hard feelings on either side. But if it does work out, at the end of the trial, we will invite you to stay on for six months – and, having gone through the process, you will have a much better idea whether you want to accept our invitation.


How the trial practicum begins

If we invite you to undertake our trial practicum, it begins in the following way:

  1. You let us know when you would like to start the practicum.
  2. You send us your pitch for your trial evergreen article. This should include 3–4 sentences that summarize your proposed article, its focus, significance and relevance, its Canadian angles, as well as the primary sources that you will draw from (e.g., published research or researchers whom you intend to interview).
  3. Consider what images will accompany your post – these must be available for use via Creative Commons, permissions/licence from the image owner, or public domain. Each post typically has 3–4 images.
  4. Provide a selection of dates and times (including your time zone) when you would be available for a team pitch session. We need at least three working-days’ advance notice to schedule a session.
  5. After the pitch session, Science Borealis’s senior editors will be available to answer questions, and you can post queries to the entire team on Slack as you research and write your post.

Pitch sessions

Our pitch sessions occur on Slack and allow all members of the editorial team to consider and discuss the proposed idea, provide tips for possible sources/source information, help you focus and determine the article’s structure, and address other key issues that will help you when it comes time to actually write.
Although the team-pitch process is not mandatory, we encourage all of our editors to pitch their articles to the team. We have found the process significantly reduces the number of drafts and amount of editing required to polish the piece, as well as the amount stress the subject editors experience when writing and polishing their posts.
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