Do you have expert knowledge of some aspect of the free software community?
Do you have an urge to write high-quality articles for extremely picky
editors and demanding readers, under tight deadlines, for minimal pay? If
so, writing for LWN may be for you. Please read on for information on how
you can participate in the creation of LWN.
What we are after
LWN.net is seeking authors who can contribute articles on a free-lance
basis. Our needs fall into two areas: (1) lead-in editorials for the
various Weekly Edition pages, based on current events; and (2) longer,
feature articles that are not so tightly tied to this week's news. As of
this writing, we are particularly interested in contributions to our
weekly kernel, security, and development pages.
Contributions to these pages will run in the "lead-in" position at the top
of the page. They usually cover some topic from the week's news, and
tend to be four to eight paragraphs in length. Topics are typically chosen
on Monday or Tuesday of the week in which the articles will be published;
the completed article needs to be available to us by early Wednesday
morning, US/Mountain time (six or seven hours behind GMT, depending on the
timing, in other words, is tight; authors need to be able to write quickly,
and to reliably make our deadlines. Authors also need to allow time for a
quick revision cycle, if needed, before our Wednesday evening publishing
We are also always on the lookout for standalone feature articles. Feature
articles can run independently, on the Weekly Edition front page, or both.
Articles intended for a specific week's front page are subject to the same
deadline constraints as other Weekly Edition material; others can be more
flexible in their timing.
Please note that we are, as a general rule, not looking for "how to"
articles; there are plenty of other outlets for such content on the net.
We're more interested in the current news and in informing our readers of
interesting developments in the community that they may not have previously
We are especially interested in authors who follow an area well enough
to propose topics for articles and follow through quickly.
How to contribute to LWN
If you wish to write one or more articles for LWN, the first order of
business is to contact us (at firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your interests.
Please do not just send articles without talking to us first. We'll
discuss subjects and timelines and come to a determination on if and
where your contributions fit into LWN.
Please read our writing style information (below) so that you understand
the kind of content we are looking for.
Before we can publish your work, we'll need full name and contact
information from you. If you pay U.S. income taxes, we will need
your tax ID number (and a completed withholding form) so that we
can send you a 1099 form at the end of the year. If you are not
subject to taxation in the U.S., we'll need a declaration from you to that
We will currently pay $200 for well-done leadin articles from new authors
for our Weekly Edition pages. That figure does go up quite substantially for
authors who, over time, establish a record of good writing and on-time
contributions. We'll entertain proposals for in-depth articles (or a
series of articles) of greater complexity at a higher price; please
contact us if you have an idea you would like to pursue.
Payments are sent out by the 15th of the month for all articles published
in the previous month. At this time, we are able to make payments via
U.S. check or PayPal.
Copyrights and further reproduction
Authors retain the copyrights for their work. We ask that you grant
LWN exclusive rights to publish your work during the LWN subscription
period - currently up to two weeks after publication. Thereafter,
we retain the right to publish the material, and possibly release it
under a free license. After the subscription period, authors may
republish their work however they wish.
LWN style guide
The world is full of technical journalism sites. LWN tries to distinguish
itself from the crowd through (1) a high degree of respect for its readers,
(2) a high level of technical competence, and (3) top-quality
writing. External contributions to LWN must fit those goals. To that end,
we must be able to edit contributions before publication if required
(though we much prefer to receive writing which requires little or no
editing), and we must reserve the right not to publish work which, in
our opinion, does not belong in LWN.
Audience. LWN's readers tend to be highly educated and strongly
technical in their outlook. Some of
them are likely to be developers for the project you are writing about.
Should you feel the urge to "dumb down" material, that urge should be
resisted. LWN is not "Linux news for dummies;" our readers are most
emphatically not "dummies." If you talk down to them, or tell only part
of the story, they will call you on it.
Style. Here is an in-progress list of style guidelines for
articles in LWN. They reflect the practice we have lived by since 1998,
but never really documented before.
The overall voice of an article should be factual and authoritative. Do
your research, and let it show. LWN has a long history of allowing the
author's opinion to show through in its writing; in our opinion, it is
better to let the audience know where the author is coming from than to
try to adopt some pose of "objectivity." Opinions, however, should never
get in the way of the facts; your reader should be able to separate the
Document your sources. If you are working from a press release, or a
message on a mailing list, link to it. Always let your readers know
where your information is coming from; many of them will follow the
links for articles of interest and come to their own conclusions.
Special care is required when dealing with press releases. Much
technical journalism seems to consist of rephrasing press releases and
presenting the result as original work. LWN explicitly avoids any such
practice. A press release can be a good source of information (once it
is translated into English), but it is far from an objective source. If
you are passing on information from a PR, make sure the readers know that.
(Incidentally, our preferred places to link to press releases are, in
order: (1) a local copy sent to us by the company or PR agency, or
(2) a copy at the service which distributes the release (usually
PRNewsWire or BusinessWire). Press releases on company sites tend to move
or, if the company later regrets it, disappear. Services like Yahoo and
NewsAlert age off releases quickly, breaking our links).
LWN is produced in the United States, and uses American English. The
American variety is not in any way better than any other (though writing
in Pidgin would present certain challenges to our readers), but lack of
consistency can be distracting.
Be concise. Try to find a way to get your information across with a small
number of well-chosen words.
Acronyms should be spelled out on their first use, except for the most
common and obvious ones (i.e. GNU, GPL). Excessive use of acronyms can
make articles harder to read and understand. Also, please avoid the use
of informal terms when real terms can be used; thus, for example,
"distribution" is always preferable to "distro".
Drop us a note and let's talk.