Originally published August 17 2007
NaturalNews launches citizen journalism program, invites writers to contribute articles for publication
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
Today NaturalNews is announcing the beta launch of its WebSeed Citizen Journalism project that allows individuals to earn an ongoing revenue stream by writing news articles that will be published on the NaturalNews Network. (A "Citizen Journalist" is a news writer or reporter who is not necessarily credentialed through a journalism school, but is nevertheless a well-informed reporter on their chosen topics. Most tend to cover news from an independent, grassroots point of view.)
In this new WebSeed Citizen Journalism program, participants ("reporters", who may be located anywhere in the world) are given a topic ("beat") to cover, such as food safety, the FDA, prenatal nutrition, or other topics. Using a web interface, they submit stories to NaturalNews editors who review the stories for publication on NaturalNews.com and other sites.
These stories are published underneath a Google Adsense banner belonging to the reporter. (Each reporter must have a Google Adsense account to participate and earn revenue.) All clicks and earnings from those Adsense ads are paid directly to the reporter by Google (according to Google's terms and conditions, to which authors must agree to separately). This generates an ongoing revenue stream for the citizen journalists.
Reporters are also able to include an author byline to be published at the end of each article, in which reporters may place hyperlinks to their other projects (books, websites, companies, products, etc.).
The benefits to Citizen Journalist reporters are:
• The NaturalNews Network (comprised of NaturalNews.com and several hundred other topic-specific news sites) provides instant visibility and wide readership for quality authors / reporters.
• The Adsense placement provides near-instant revenue for reporters whose articles are accepted for publication.
• A web interface allows reporters to pitch story ideas to NaturalNews editors, then easily submit, delete and edit articles through any web browser.
• The author byline section allows the reporters to place hyperlinks linking back to their own website or other projects.
• Reporters can publish their work anonymously, if desired, and yet still earn Adsense revenues from their content.
• NaturalNews archives and cross-links all article content, providing long-term revenue potential from search clicks. All articles are also keyword tokenized and added to appropriate topic theme lists and websites where they enjoy widespread visibility.
• Each business day, articles links and pictures are emailed out to over 100,000 NaturalNews subscribers who click and read the news items that interest them.
• News items published on NaturalNews are automatically syndicated via RSS, reaching tens of thousand of additional readers each day.
• Google News spiders all NaturalNews articles within minutes of their publication, providing valuable article publicity through the Google News pages.
Requirements for ParticipationTo participate in the WebSeed Citizen Journalism project, the requirements are:
1. You need to be willing to write news reports about a specific topic area (such as infant nutrition, for example, or pet health). You may coordinate with NaturalNews editors and choose from the available topic areas to get a "beat" that you like best. We ask that reporters contribute a minimum of 1 article per week (you may contribute more if you choose).
2. You must have high quality writing and editing skills that allow you to submit ready-to-publish article content. NaturalNews does not provide intensive editing services, and we will reject articles that contain too many errors. Writing quality must be highly professional, which usually means you must have experience or training as a professional news writer in order to participate.
3. You must be willing to agree to our terms of non-plagiarism and financial independence (i.e. you cannot take money from companies to write about them, nor can you write about a company or product in which you have a direct financial stake).
4. You must have a Google Adsense account. You can apply for one at no charge by visiting http://adsense.google.com (most new accounts are approved within 1-2 days). If you are intending to apply for a new Adsense account, please list your own website URL as the URL you intend to publish on. Once approved, your Adsense ads can run on any website.
5. You must be willing to monitor the news headlines on your particular topic ("beat"). This will allow you to find story ideas and stay informed about your area of expertise. One of the best ways to do this is to use Google News or other website news aggregators. Google News is found at http://news.google.com
How it works: The simple rules of professionalismWorking with NaturalNews is easy. You don't pay us anything to get started, and we don't pay you anything for your stories. Instead, Google pays you directly for the Adsense earnings generated by the ads appearing above your news article.
This provides a small but ongoing revenue stream for your article content, and it continues to generate revenue over time because your article stays posted on NaturalNews.com indefinitely. The more articles you contribute to NaturalNews, the more Adsense earnings you will accumulate over time. Specific earning levels are not guaranteed, and they may vary widely based on the topics you're writing about, the quality of your writing, the behavior of readers, and so on.
The kind of writing we are seeking is news reporting on specific topics. We are not looking for opinion pieces or satire pieces, only fact-based reporting on current events. Articles should be a minimum of 400 words long, and can be up to 2000 words.
Under this program, either party can quit the arrangement at any time, so if you don't like the way we're publishing and publicizing your content, you can remove all your content and shop it around to someone else.
We ask that all writers operate with basic professionalism and honesty. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Neither will fraudulent clicking on your own Adsense ads. Both will result in immediate termination from the program.
Reporters covering a large topic area (such as nutrition) may be joined by other reporters on the same or similar beat, and NaturalNews editors will coordinate story assignments to prevent any overlapping of story topics.
How to get startedIf you would like to participate in the beta launch of this program, you may apply at:
Right now, we're looking for a small number of reporters interested in covering the following topics:
• Health freedom legislation (including the U.S. Congress and CODEX)
• Healing foods and phytonutrients (along with their health benefits)
• Medicinal herbs: research, benefits, trends, etc.
• Food safety (which covers food recalls, salmonella, mad cow, the USDA, etc.)
• Diabetes prevention and natural treatments
• Cancer prevention and natural treatments
• Prenatal nutrition, infant nutrition and childrens' nutrition
• Modern health care system, health insurance and health care reform
• The FDA and FDA reform
• Dangerous prescription drugs, drug warnings, drug fatalities, advertising, etc.
• Junk food marketing, sodas, marketing to children, etc.
We're also open to other topic suggestions, so if you have a special area of passion or expertise, feel free to apply and let us know what area you'd like to cover.
If you apply as a reporter today, we will reply to you within 3-5 business days, and if your application is accepted, you can begin pitching story ideas to us or working on story topics we assign to you.
Frequently Asked QuestionsHow does this program work?
As a reporter / citizen journalist, you write news articles for publication on NaturalNews. We publish your articles along with a Google Adsense ad from your Adsense account. When readers click the Adsense ads above your article, earnings are generated for your Google Adsense account, which is paid to you according to Google's terms and conditions. (NaturalNews does not control or influence Google's Adsense program, its earnings or payment schedule. We have found, however, that Google is very fair about paying on time.)
Where exactly will my articles appear?
Articles accepted by NaturalNews will appear directly on NaturalNews.com as featured articles. They will also be featured in the daily outbound emails sent to NaturalNews subscribers. Since Google News spiders NaturalNews content, your articles may also appear in Google News within minutes after being published. NaturalNews enjoys phenomenal search engine exposure, meaning that your article will be quickly indexed by the various search engines, and within a few days, natural search results will start to bring additional visitors to your article.
How do I submit articles to NaturalNews?
This new program uses a web interface that allows you to submit, edit or delete your articles using any web browser. You can simply log in to the author interface (using a PC or Mac), submit your new article, edit an existing article, or pitch story ideas to the editors. You must apply to be an author first, and your application must be accepted.
What kind of article content is NaturalNews looking for?
We are seeking factual news reporting articles. We are NOT looking for opinion articles or satire pieces. Articles should not contain opinion statements. However, our overall focus is to promote natural health, green living and disease prevention through nutrition. We are also looking for articles that cover the dangers of conventional medicine, pharmaceuticals, the FDA, processed foods and so on.
Are there any other ads in addition to my own Adsense ad that are posted with the article?
Yes, NaturalNews posts its own ad on the right side of the article. This allows us to advertise our books, e-mail newsletter, teleseminars or other items of interest to readers. We may also post an ad below the bottom of your article. However, the primary earnings location is always the ad ABOVE the article, and that will always be your Adsense ad.
Are there any restrictions on the articles I submit to NaturalNews?
Yes, we have several restrictions. You cannot place affiliate links or photos in your articles, nor can you write about products or organizations in which you have a financial stake. Plagiarism is strictly spot-checked and not tolerated (any reporter caught plagiarizing content will be immediately removed from the system, including all their previous articles). We define plagiarism as copying and pasting whole sentences or paragraphs from other content sources. It is fine to copy and paste short quotes or citations as long as they are properly attributed.
How do I get paid?
You are paid directly by Google for the Adsense revenue generated by the ad block appearing above your article. Earnings may vary widely, depending on the article topic, reader response, and so on. Google pays on a 30 - 60 day schedule, meaning you will typically have to wait 30 - 60 days from the day of your earnings to actually receive a deposit into your checking account. NaturalNews has no influence over your Google payments.
How much money will I realistically earn?
Money should not be the primary reason to work with NaturalNews on this project, because earnings alone are not enough of a reward for someone who isn't simultaneously passionate about the NaturalNews mission (educating people about disease prevention, enhanced health, etc.) The authors most likely to enjoy working with NaturalNews will be those who wish to be involved in something significant for global transformation, not merely something that generates a paycheck.
Earnings are impossible to predict, but they will have the structure of generating the most revenue within the first 72 hours of being posted. From there, earnings will slow down and level off at a significantly lower amount of ongoing earnings for that particular article. In the first 72 hours, one article might typically earn anywhere from $5 - $25, depending on its success with readers (and its headline). From there, earnings for that one article would typically drop to $1 a day or less. The best way to maximize earnings is to have a new article each week, generating immediate revenues from new articles while accumulating the ongoing revenues from old articles.
As NaturalNews continues to expand its reach, earnings will naturally rise as the audience size increases. So having content published on NaturalNews positions you to receive earnings from future increases in the NaturalNews audience (which continues to grow rapidly).
Right now, this program on NaturalNews does not generate lucrative earnings on a per-article basis. Writers who are likely to participate are those who have strong personal passion for writing about these topics and who want to see their work published while participating in NaturalNews's success in reaching more people. The Adsense pay is only a small reason for participating in this program, and it at least provides some sort of compensation so that you're not working for free.
How can I make sure my Adsense ad is always appearing above my articles?
From your browser, visit your article page, then view the source code of that page. (In Internet Explorer, you would select View | Source. From there, you will be able to see the code of your Google Adsense ad, and you will see your Adsense account number embedded in the ad code. This is your assurance that all clicks are being paid to you.
Can I participate from Asia, South America, Canada, Australia, Africa or other regions?
We have no restrictions on your geographic location. Google may have restrictions, though, and having a Google Adsense account is required to participate in this program. But as far as we are concerned, you can write for NaturalNews from anywhere in the world. Currently, we only accept articles in English.
What kind of article formats do you accept?
Primarily, we are looking for news reporting articles, such as short reports detailing recent news, significant announcements, and so on. We are also open to publishing interviews, positive product reviews (no negative product reviews), and research reports or investigative stories. Longer stories will receive more prominent placement on NaturalNews, meaning they will receive higher visibility and attract more readers, which usually translates into more revenues.
What can I put in my author byline?
You can put a description of yourself along with your current projects, including URLs to a website, book, company, organization, and so on. The author byline is a place where you can openly link to the things you're involve in (no affiliate links, please). There is a place in your author profile (on the website) where you enter your author byline, so you do not need to add it to each and every article.
How soon after submitting my articles will they be published?
Usually within 1 business day. We will be publishing articles as rapidly as we can assign photos and get them up on the website.
May I contribute articles that I also publish on my own website or somewhere else?
We ask that the articles you contribute to NaturalNews be exclusive to NaturalNews for a period of at least 30 days. After 30 days, you may publish your articles on other websites.
How do I contact you to ask other questions?
You may email us at [email protected] to ask a question not answered here.
How do I get started?
You may apply at:
Please allow 3-5 business days to hear back from us concerning your application. There is no fee to participate. There are also no guarantees that you will be accepted into the program, but we intend to accept those who match our philosophy and mission (and who have really strong writing skills).
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