a guide to writing good articles
A guide for writing clear, accurate and interesting articles for the site so your ideas come across to the reader.
Sourcing and BIMC
Independent Media Centres encourage open publishing and encourage anyone with something to write to write it! We do not impose any particular conditions or styles of writing. However, you might find that people will give more credence to your article if you can give some evidence to support claims.
Most serious news organisations ensure that their articles are well sourced, and that those sources are checked. This means that claims can be checked and evaluated. At BIMC there is no editorial process, but that doesn't mean that you can't refer to sources.
Say, for instance, you are writing an article about traffic in Bristol, you might want to discuss the effect of traffic on pollution. You are welcome to simply state your opinion, but a reader might find it more convincing if you could link to evidence. In this instance, you might refer to and link to Bristol City Council Air Quality Database.
This reference would help you produce a more convincing article. However, a reader might contest the sincerity of the readings (i.e. who determines what a 'low' level of pollution is). To anticipate this, you might offer other sources (in this case ones that seem show more concern about traffic and pollution claims e.g. ref 1 & ref 2.)
Sometimes you may be privy to certain information that you think should be in the public domain - that is, its release would be in the public interest. If there is something that you know, would like to refer to, but cannot release, you can always ask the BIMC list to take a look and perhaps verify that it exists. If you are not comfortable in doing that, you might want to upload it to Wikileaks and then link to it, for example, click here.
Bristol Indymedia has a policy of protecting sources as provided for in section 10 of the 1981 Contempt of Court Act and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act If you do ask us to look at a source or you post information from a sensitive source on the BIMC web site we will not ever voluntarily, hand over information on sources.
Freedom of Information
Perhaps you suspect a public institution to have done something wrong - perhaps you have been told something, but cannot find any concrete sources of information. Since 2005 the Freedom of Information Act (FoI Act) allows ordinary citizens to request information from public bodies, and requires those bodies to provide that information (with certain conditions). The FoI Act can be used to prise sensitive information from public bodies.
In the future, BIMC will offer a FoI service, whereby we can process your requests. In the meantime, if you would like any information on how to make a FoI request, we will do our best to advise you. Simply contact us.
Further Information Links