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Writing an article for the New Zealand Genealogist

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A presentation made by Bruce Ralston at the Auckland Library

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Writing an article for the New Zealand Genealogist

  1. 1. Writing articles for The New Zealand Genealogist
  2. 2. It’s about the audience • Journal is for NZSG members  Inform  Stimulate research – sources and methods  Interaction • Public  Encourage membership • Researchers ?
  3. 3. Types of content • Narrative – biography, family stories • How to … • News – institutions, NZSG branches and groups, administration • Members’ interests
  4. 4. Who writes for the journal? • NZSG members • NZSG officers • Institution staff • ‘Commissioned’ authors
  5. 5. Start • Keep it simple • Fewer words than more • Provide a genealogical chart if it helps to explain the story • References • Notes • Bibliography
  6. 6. Themes • Most issues of The New Zealand Genealogist have an advertised theme – subject, place etc. • Used to help members focus on writing something achievable • But any article should consider what its focus or theme is, for example:  research process  adoption  raising large families  migration  employment patterns  economic impacts
  7. 7. Research • Think about your audience • How does your story relate to what has already been written? By historians, other genealogists • Read – books, journals, websites • Make notes about possible themes that resonate with your family history
  8. 8. Gather • Brings your story resources together in a folder – physical, electronic • Make sure quotes are acknowledge • Do not copy large amounts from existing sources
  9. 9. Length • A page in the magazine contains about 900 words • Articles usually about 2-3 pages, say 1,800-2,700 words • Shorter also welcome – 400-900 words e.g. book reviews, interesting news about sources, extracts from newspapers • Fillers – 100-400 words also required
  10. 10. Voice • First person – I, we Suited to travelogue, explanation of personal research • Third person – he, she, they Perhaps the most common or appropriate Avoid mixing first and third if possible • Second person - you Less suitable, maybe use for a ‘how-to’
  11. 11. Tense • Naturally suitable for the past tense  was born, came, planted • Occasionally present tense works  marries, finishes
  12. 12. Capitals • There is a strong tendency to overuse capitals • Proper names, titles only
  13. 13. Capitals Yes • John Smith • Writer to the Signet • Lady Jocelyn • I used probate records to overcome … No • a Wheelwright • a Master Mariner • Cemetery Records • I used Wills and other sources such as Parish Registers and Census Returns
  14. 14. Format • Plain font e.g. Times Roman, Calibri • No enhancements e.g. bold, underline • Use italics for book titles and names of ships • Double quote marks – “…” for quotes only • Single quote marks – ‘…’ for emphasis – but use sparingly • Minimal use of emphasis, such as !!
  15. 15. Images • Label well – descriptive or numbered • Provide separately – don’t imbed in text document – if necessary indicate placement in text with bracketed reference <john smith.jpg> • jpg, jpeg • 300 dpi • About 1MB in size • Saved from website not good enough – only 72 dpi
  16. 16. Notes • A place to include references, and also -  Explanations, so they don’t complicate your story
  17. 17. Papers Past • Copying large chunks of newspaper text is no substitute for writing your own story • Precis • Evaluate its correctness • Short quotes only
  18. 18. Review • Leave it for day or three • Ask someone else to read it
  19. 19. Editing • Editor works with several members as an editorial team • Acquires content • Vets content • Edits  clear, concise, correct  grammatical and factual corrections  tone  apply consistent style  reduce word count to fit space
  20. 20. Managing
  21. 21. Conversion
  22. 22. The process
  23. 23. Layout • Format fixed • Styles to distinguish articles from NZSG content  Article title  Banner title
  24. 24. Proofreading • Spelling and grammar • Factual • Layout • 3-4 people involved – each finds different mistakes or queries • Editor reviews - corrects or rejects
  25. 25. Advertising • Branches and groups • NZSG • Commercial
  26. 26. Summary Think about who is your audience 1 Think about a story and focus on a theme 2 Start, middle, end 3 Use other people to give you feedback 4 Know what format best aids the editor –saves time 5

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