Guidelines for New Tellus Members 0

  • News articles should be written from the third person, except for “first person” stories in which the author is involved in the story. This is common in interviews and reviews, or when the author is actually involved in the events being reported.
  • Articles should be at least 600 words in length and should not be more than 1,200 words. Two 1,200 word articles have a greater impact than one 2,400 word article in terms of attracting traffic to the website and building your audience. Readers tend to get annoyed when you go over 1,000 words, and very annoyed when you go over 2,000. When readers become annoyed, they stop reading.
  • All NEWS stories must be properly sourced with a minimum of two sources for each major fact in your story. Entertainment stories, including sports stories, interviews, and reviews only require one source per fact.  Sources must be specified within the text of the article using hyperlinks to attach the source to the article cited.
  • Always keep a copy of the final draft of the articles you submit to Tellus for future reference. This is important because you should always compare your original to the final, edited version after editing (or at least that’s what they taught us way back when.)

Avoid the SEVEN Big Career Killers

  • Plagiarism will not be tolerated.Anyone found to have published a plagiarized article will be terminated. Plagiarism is the deliberate use of another person’s copyrighted words in your document without attribution. You have a perfect right to quote from any copyrighted material without obtaining permission from the copyright owner in the course of writing a news article, a review, a scholarly paper, or any other project in which the opinions of the person being quoted are significant. You must give credit where credit is due by putting quotation marks around the quote and citing author, the publication, or both. We have software that checks for plagiarism. If we find that you have submitted plagiarized work as your own, you will be terminated. If we find that more than 10 percent of an article was copied, you will be warned. Three strikes and you’re out.
  • Pornography is not just about images. There is also such a thing as pornographic writing which is defined as salacious and unnecessary descriptions of sexual acts. Since we don’t publish fiction, this should never come up. However, discussions about pornography are acceptable as long as the decorum of good taste is maintained. Violators will be warned under the three strike rule. (Refer to the article on images for more information on pornographic content.)
  • Obscenity or Profanity is anything you wouldn’t say in front of your grandmother or a six year-old child. The only exception to this is if you are quoting something that someone else said, which is all right as long as the words are in quotes and properly attributed. Do not use the silly device of writing “fuck” as “f**k.”
  • Libel is a false or defamatory statement made in a published article. The problem with libel is that the burden of proof is on us.  We have to prove that the statement was true. The interesting thing about libel is that defending ourselves against libel could cost us a fortune and wreck this  enterprise, so make sure you have your facts straight. We will not publish any article that we consider to be libelous. Submitting libelous articles will get you fired. You are also on your own if you are sued for libel. It is perfectly acceptable, however, to publish libelous statements as long as they are in quotes and attributed to a third party.
  • Slander is verbal, whereas libel is written. However, the spoken word is now recorded so many times and in so many places that it is quite possible for someone to run afoul of slander laws in the process of discussing an article in which no libel was present. If someone you do not know well wants to engage you in a verbal conversation about an article, defer those inquiries to us because they could be setting you up. (With libel and slander, it pays to be paranoid.)
  • Defamation of Character is the precise term for statements made to deliberately hold another person up to shame, ridicule or embarrassment. This is also a gray area: it is possible to make a factual statement that nevertheless constitutes defamation of character. Satirists often run afoul of this fine distinction. It is difficult to prove, because it requires documentation of the perpetrator’s intent to do harm, but that means it is also difficult to defend against.
  • We do not tolerate hate speech of any kind.  Defamatory, provocative or incendiary statements about any individual or group that refers to their gender, sexual preferences, race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, or disability will not be published. Anyone making comments of this nature on Tellus articles will be barred from the site.
  • Don’t make shit up. You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Do not invent quotes or attribute fake quotes to real people. Don’t make up fake people. Don’t be Jayson Blair.

Personal Behavior and Comportment

  • Professional Courtesy is simply treating people the way you want to be treated and that means being civil. No excessive profanity or hate speech of any kind will be tolerated. If you have a problem with another Tellus member, bring it to us. That’s what we are here for.
  • Do not ask for money.  Do not ask for money. Do not give money to anyone. Report anyone who asks you for money regardless of the reason. You will be contacted by people who will promise to help your articles go viral. They are con artists. Avoid them.
  • Any attempt to conduct any illicit activities through Tellus will be reported to the appropriate authorities.  If you have any doubt about whether an activity is permissible, ASK FIRST. 

By completing the form below, you are acknowledging that you have read, understand, and agree to the terms and conditions laid out in the General Guidelines for New Tellus Members: