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Street Reporters

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In order to keep up with the ever-increasing volume of f*ckery in Florida, we’re calling for participation in a citizens journalism initiative. We encourage our readers to become active participants in the news cycle, instead of just consuming what mainstream media disseminates. This gives everyday Floridians the power to shape their own narratives instead of letting corporate news stations with sinister intentions define what Florida’s about. This form of civic journalism, or “street reporting” as we call it, democratizes the news and allows Floridians to inform one another about things they find important, funny or uplifting. It takes power away from corporate interests, and puts control back into the hands of the people.

Old Media is dying, as it should be. WTF Florida is building the parameters of what one facet of New Media will look like. Obviously, we’re in a bubble of sorts, limited to one peninsula, and focused mostly on humor, but we still have a great opportunity to produce amazing content and inspire the future of news all over the world.

This whole thing is a work-in-progress, so bear with us as we get started.

Becoming a Street Reporter

If you’d like to help WTF Florida evolve with new content, please consider becoming a Street Reporter. There’s no official application process yet, but we do have some prerequisites that are outlined below. This document will be updated from time to time to include specific details on editorial guidelines and such, but as of right now consider it a preliminary overview.

If you’d like to be considered, please read through this entire page first, and then introduce yourself via the Contact page by sending us a message with the subject, “Street Reporters.”

Requirements

  • Strong writing skills and great attention to detail: We may have to break some hearts and deny certain user content that does not meet our standards. Writing quality articles is hard work and requires a firm grounding in spelling and grammar. It also requires impeccable attention to detail, as reporting something incorrectly can result in WTF Florida getting sued. Accuracy is of the utmost importance.
  • Basic computer skills: You must be able to work with WordPress, or at least know how to send emails. You also need an email address and a working computer, obviously.
  • Honesty and integrity: WTF Florida has worked very hard to maintain the trust of our readers. While we are indeed snarky and biased, we are 100% committed to publishing facts. We always cite our sources and encourage our readers to fact check our work.
  • A connection to Florida: Whether you love it or hate it, or both, we prefer authors that have a deep connection to Florida. You don’t have to live here, but we prefer that you do.
  • A sense of humor: Part of our goal is to uplift the world through laughter. You should be able to see the light side of things and remain somewhat neutral when reporting on insanity and chaos.

Identity

I write under the pseudonym Sonny Soleil.

You may choose a pseudonym as well, or publish articles under your real name. It’s totally up to you.

To become a Street Reporter on our site, you will need a username, email address and display name. The username cannot ever change, it’s what ties you to your articles in the database. Your display name is what shows up on the articles (though your username is revealed as well, so be careful picking that).

If anonymity is important to you, please choose a username and email address that are not tied to your personal data. We believe that anonymity is a right and will do everything in our to protect it.

Finding and Reporting News

Street Reporters have two main duties: finding news and reporting on it.

Finding News

Ideally, you should be collecting news at the source.

Arrest affidavits in Florida are public record, for the most part. This is where you should be getting story details from.

You can find out who’s been arrested through each county’s Sheriff’s department. You can get arrest affidavits directly from them, or from that county’s court system. Most courts have these records online.

Alternatively, you can just wait for other news stations to sift through the arrest records and publish their own version of what happened. There are a couple downsides to this method. For one, the story you write will be late news, comparatively. Secondly, you’re reading a narrative that has been filtered through the writer and the organization they work for.

If citing a news article, try to link from the original source Usually by the second or third paragraph, the article will say something like, “as reported by so-and-so news station.” Keep following those links until the article states that the information they’re publishing was from the arrest affidavit or court documents. We always try to link back to the publication that actually did the work to pull those records.

Reporting News

The next step is to report from the arrest affidavit or news article.

Articles should be written in AP style.

Always cite your sources and link to supporting documents/data.

Try to remain objective and calm when writing. Let the humor and/or outrage arise naturally from the content, not from your own personal feelings.

The goal is to imitate a cold, factual and neutral style of reporting, while also understanding that we’re being tongue-in-cheek about our seriousness.

Logistics

Soon, our Street Reporters will have logins to the site. You will be able to write your content and submit the article for review within WordPress. Due to security concerns, Street Reporters will not be able to publish directly. Every story must be approved first.

Working in WordPress

Please start learning about WordPress if you’re not already familiar with it. We run the latest version, so you have to learn Blocks.

Every news article should contain the following metadata:

  • Category
  • County (if applicable)
  • Tags
  • Featured Image (1200 x 630 pixels)

Articles must be approved by our core staff before they’re published. We reserve the right to refuse or modify content.

Culture and Principles

We ask that you at least respect our culture and principles if you’re going to write content for us. You don’t have to agree with everything listed here, but do at least try to understand where we’re coming from. For a more formal and concise description of WTF Florida, read the About page.

WTF Florida shows love to everyone.

We advocate for all conscious beings, humans and animals.

We strongly oppose bigotry, cruelty and hatred.

We aim to be as inclusive as possible, celebrating the beauty of our diversity and encouraging solace within our similarities. The only stereotype we uphold is that Florida’s a crazy place.

We are proud to be “Social Justice Warriors,” because we’re not lazy, cowardly boot-lickers. We stand up for the oppressed and the needy.

That being said, we allow harsh and offensive jokes, as long as they’re not completely racist, hateful or threatening.

Our politics are an ever-evolving combination of Anarchy and Communism. We believe in liberty, individual freedom and democracy. We believe that everyone has a right to healthcare, shelter, food and water. We strongly support the right to carry firearms. We believe that all drugs should be decriminalized for both personal and medical use, and that addiction should be treated as a disease. We believe that police should only ever be called for violations of consent, such as assault or robbery. We oppose authoritarian governments. We oppose the current mode of Capitalism, which puts profit over humanity and this planet. We believe in science, and know that climate change is a direct threat to this earth, and especially our peninsula. We believe the two-party system is used to manipulate people into hating each other while the ruling class profits. We believe in finding common ground and rising above the archaic and divisive labels of “Democrat” and “Republican.” We try to make fun of both “sides” equally so we can unite in laughter.

We invite everyone to share their beliefs and listen to opposing viewpoints. Florida is a mix of everybody, and that’s what makes it so amazing.

As much as we hate “politics,” they are inexorably tied to our reality. We do try to avoid political crap, but we also want to be very transparent about where we stand, out of respect for our readers.

Getting Started

If you’d like to be considered as a contributor, please send us a message with the subject “Street Reporters,” describing why you think you’d be a good choice. Please note that not all messages will be replied to.

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[…] If you’d like to contribute to the site with articles, photos, memes and more, please consider becoming a Street Reporter. […]

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Love it!