Monday, June 29, 2009

Profiles: Guidelines for submittals

Preparing a World Streets Profile

We welcome well written articles that report on outstanding groups and programs dealing with problems and solutions in our chosen sector, looking out for tools and approaches that have potential very broad, hopefully universal application. Probably the best point of reference to guide your submittal is the tone and content of Streets itself. Beyond that considering authors are invited to check the contributor notes here.


It's a big world out there -- and as we all know are there are literally thousands of groups and programs, each doing their bit to advance the sustainability agenda in our sector. If for instance you simply scroll down on the left menu to our listing of hot links to key organizations and programs working in our area, you will see more than a hundred of them listed here. And if you click to our Knoogle New Mobility knowledge base, you will see that we have scanned and included more than twelve hundred. And you know others yet.

Profile subjects:

Against this rich backdrop, we are inviting World Streets Profiles on and from selected organizations and programs around the world whom we regard as important players showing the way in the push toward sustainable transportation, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, and about whom we figure our readers will want to know more. Some of these profiles will report on the work, accomplishments and offerings of international organizations and NGOs, others regional or cooperative programs, outstanding projects, and yet others quite local activities that nonetheless to our mind represent interesting models for study and possible replication in other places. Activist university, research and specialized consultancy groups will not be immune to our interest either.

And yes, we shall also from time to time be profiling private sector groups whom we see as potentially part of the solution. There is certainly wide scope for profiles where there is evidence of their strong commitment to the sustainability agenda. But at the same time, dear reader, be sure that we will not be doing any greenwashing in these pages. No time for that.

In short we are looking for reliable information and inspiration for the hundreds of discriminating readers coming to Streets each day from more than 50 countries around this gasping planet. We want them to come away from their read of your profile pleased to know more about you and your work, and better yet with a few ideas about some things that they might now be able to look into or get to themselves.

Note: Just to be sure we are clear on this. These Profiles are not intended to serve as announcements for a new or existing program, such as may exist on one of the early pages of your website. They are intended to be not so much purely descriptive as analytic, critical, and showing the lessons of experience and accomplishment. Thank you for understanding this.

Profile content:

A typical profile runs anywhere from 300 to 2000 words. However please bear in mind that you probably will have the reader's full attention no more than five to ten minutes. (At least not for the first piece that will be placed on line. There is place for links to more for those who wish to dig deeper.)

You certainly have figured this out for yourself, but let's just for the record run down the list of the kinds of things that our readers expect to see covered in a profile:
• Who you are?
• What you do?
• How you got started and why?
• How you do it?
• Why you do it?
• How you pay for it?
• How, if at all, do you work with others?
• What have you learned through the lessons of experience (good and bad) that you would draw to the attention of colleagues in other places considering something along these lines?
• Where can the reader turn for more background and details on your work, possibly useful tools and reports, accomplishments, etc. ?
• What you intend to do in the future?

And if you have any good graphics or photos that help the reader to get a better feel for your project, that can be very useful.

The idea is for our authors to be collegial and frank with their peers. So share with the reader too some of the outstanding lessons you learned, possibly at times a bit painfully, through your hands-on experience, just in case the reader is interested in trying or replicating all or some part of your approach. Your counsel as to potential problems, bottlenecks, and things to avoid/provide in advance for will be precious. And if you have at any point run into problems and had to change course, back-peddle or otherwise figure out how to cope, I am sure that our readers will be grateful to hear about this as well. They have to know how hard it is . . . but also to understand that with adequate preparation, monitoring, adaptability, energy and brains on their part it can be done.

From a reader perspective:

Bearing in mind that our readers are smart people coming from many countries around the world and with a wide variety of backgrounds and experience, we try to provide for them articles which are highly readable, informative, and which look at whatever it is from their perspective.

We invite you to start by considering our readers and what they generally are looking for when they come to Streets. Information and inspiration in about equal parts I would say. And if possible all that to be written in an engaging way, bearing in mind that they are busy people and there is a lot of competition for their time and attention. Bear in mind too as you draft your piece that your readers come from many different places, live and work often in very different cultures, and more than half do not have English as their first language, meaning that we really do try to avoid too familiar usage, insider jokes, and slang.

Questions? Suggestions? Nominations? This is the place to come. Write, call or Skype to . . .

Eric Britton, Editor
| editor@worldstreets.org | +331 7550 3788 | Skype newmobility |
| 8/10, rue Joseph Bara | 75006 Paris | France |

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