Tellus News Digest is a collectively managed website with a profit-sharing compensation model, which means that the net profits from the site are divided each month among the contributors, so we want to know a good deal about you before we make any decisions about inviting you to join us. What this also means is that, when we ask you to become a contributor with Tellus, we are inviting you to join a community and that means we have to be very careful about who we bring into the community because one bad apple can ruin it for everyone else.
With this in mind, and realizing that there is a lot more involved here than simply taking a few classes, here are some of the things that we are going to ask you to learn in order to become a member of the Tellus community.
The Basic Steps in the Tellus Process
The Tellus Program is designed to teach you quite a few very different kinds of things. These include how to:
- Read the news critically, like an editor would
- Write a news story the way a reporter would
- Understand the difference between news, features, and commentary
- Write a good feature story
- Write meaningful commentary
- Use our publishing system to submit articles
- Edit articles online using the Tellus Editor
- Obtain, modify and use graphic images legally
- Promote your writing through the use of social media
- Find jobs using your writing skills
In the process of learning these things, you will have to achieve certain accomplishments to qualify for the next step in the process.
Step 1: Become a Tellus Commenter
Becoming a Tellus commenter is very easy. Anyone can become a commenter simply by using the form on any Tellus Article. Once you have become a commenter, you must write 100 (elsewhere we may have said 50) comments on articles published in Tellus.
In order for your comments to count, they must be well-written with good English grammar, make a point about the article that demonstrates you have actually read the article, and express your reaction to the article. As a commenter, you are also a shadow editor. If you see mistakes in an article, tell us – and the author of the article – about the mistakes you have seen in a comment. Remember that comments are public and, so, maintain professional decorum
Step 2: Establish a Social Media Presence
Even if you already have some of these social media accounts, we want to open up new social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We want you to set up new accounts because we want your participation on Tellus to be completely separate from anything you have done before on social media.
Step 3: Begin Posting Tellus Articles on your Social Media Accounts
If you do not already have the ALL of the following social media accounts, we will encourage you to set up the missing accounts as part of your training process. The social media accounts we recommend are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (the Big Three in social media), Reddit, Vine, Tumblr, Instagram and Google Plus. You will be using the social media accounts to post links to articles and comments, and the articles of other Tellus Members. This activity helps us to build traffic on the website and building traffic on the website generates the revenue we need to pay you once you become a contributor. This is easy to learn and easy to do, and it is part of the process of accepting responsibility for cross promoting other people’s articles as they will soon be cross-promoting yours.
Step 4: The Tellus Institute
The Tellus Institute in an intensive ten week process during which you will learn how to write and edit like a journalist. You will learn how to identify news stories, interview subjects, do background research, keep good working notes, and how to organize and actually write stories according to the time-honored system used by reporters for hundreds of years.
We do not expect you to become reporters or journalists. A few may, but the hard facts are that those jobs are disappearing rapidly as news organizations cut back. However, the same skills you need to learn to write good journalism are also applicable to advertising, public relations, speech writing, and a whole array of other jobs in which the ability to write well is crucial.
During the first five weeks of this process, you will attend regular online classes and receive individual one-on-one instruction as editors go over your stories with you. During this period, you will submit your stories to us via email so that you don’t have to worry about the details of how to post stories on a WordPress website….and you will be paid according to our compensation rules for the stories you submit.
At the end of the five weeks, if you don’t make the cut, you will have made some money based on the articles that have been published, and you will have a valid credential that you can add to your résumé. You will also have the right to continue submitting articles to Tellus and get paid on the basis of our compensation rules. This means that you will be able to say that you are currently employed by Tellus as an independent contractor, which will help you in your subsequent job search.
If you do make the cut, congratulations will be in order because, at this point, you will start learning how to become an online editor, helping us to proofread, edit and publish the articles we are receiving on a daily basis. As an editor, you will be earning at the same rate as the other contributors, but you can edit three to five articles a day when most contributors usually submit no more than one, so your earning power will increase as an editor.
The Details: Things You Will Do in this Process
1. Read the Tellus Institute Documents.
On the left-hand side of this page, you will find a list of documents that you have to read in order to become a member of Tellus. Read them in order. As you complete each reading, MAKE SURE THAT YOU LEAVE A COMMENT on each of these articles, telling us that you are a Tellus Applicant (START OFF EACH COMMENT WITH THE WORDS “TELLUS APPLICANT”) and telling us about one fact you learned from that article. It is important that we know you have read these materials.
2. Read Tellus News Digest Every Day
Tellus is a real online publication. We republish articles from literally hundreds of websites and news organizations on a daily basis. mixed in with original articles from our editors and contributors. Start reading Tellus News Digest on a daily basis and, whenever you read an article, be sure to make a comment about the article you have just read. This is part of the process of being a member of Tellus. When you comment on an article, that helps the article to get more attention. (Remember to begin each comments with the words TELLUS APPLICANT.)
When making comments, you will be expressing your personal opinions based on your past experiences. Keep your comments short, write in complete sentences, do not use bad language. If you don’t have something to say about a given subject, move on to another subject, anything from sports to politics.
Remember that this is a public website and anyone with access to the internet can read whatever you are writing. Therefore, do not reveal any personal information about yourself or your background. Never post your personal email address or your telephone number.
3. Read Other Publications
Tellus is a good place to start, but you have to read other things as well. We recommend that you read at least one national newspaper every day, as well as at least one weekly news magazine. You should also get into the habit of reading other websites. We recommend Google News, Huffington Post, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, The Guardian (a very good British newspaper that often covers American news better than we do.) These are the sources where you are going to find stories to write about. Get used to reading them on a regular basis. Avoid reading “questionable” websites such as any of the far left or far right websites.
As you read, remember this: You are going to remember virtually everything you read, but you aren’t always going to remember where you got that information from. Garbage in means garbage out, and that means to be careful about reading publications that feed you slanted news.
Read good writing. This is a very important concept. Good writing is all about reading other writers like a writer, learning, borrowing and stealing every bit of knowledge you can get from reading other writers. ( Steal the knowledge, not the writing.) Stealing other people’s material, copying what they wrote and passing it off as your own is called plagiarism and it is illegal. Don’t do it. (We will talk more about this later.)
That is a very important concept. Good writing is all about reading other writers like a writer, learning, borrowing and stealing every bit of knowledge you can get from reading other writers. Steal the knowledge, not the writing. Stealing other people’s material, copying what they wrote and passing it off as your own is called plagiarism and it is illegal. Don’t do it. (We will talk more about this later.)
4. Work the System
We have a system that allows you to post links to the articles you are reading to Facebook, Twitter, Pocket, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Google News.
If you are SERIOUS about making a living online, you need to be enrolled on ALL of these accounts, and you need to post things to them on a regular basis.
IMPORTANT: If you only post your own article to your social media accounts, people will get bored with you very quickly. If, however, you post links to the articles you find interesting and keep up a conversation about the things you post, you will start to build your brand and when you build your brand, you are also building our brand, the one we in together.
Why This Works
This works because of the synergy between our collective brand building. Alone, by myself, my reach isn’t very big. At most, I can influence a few hundred people. Together, collectively, one hundred of us can reach anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people almost instantaneously…and that’s real marketing power, if we have something of value to sell, and that’s why we have to be on top of our games individually, while we cover each other’s backs.
When you have completed this section, enter a comment below and then come back here and click here to read about the five things you have to do before submitting your initial application.