Two weeks ago, we put a call out for questions to add (and answer) to our Jezebel FAQ. Well, you asked, and, after the jump, we post (and respond to) the 20 most common* queries.
1. How do I nominate a comment for best or worst comment of the day?
You can send our commenter moderator, Hortense, an email at email@example.com. You can also reach the editors themselves by emailing our tips email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Someone will see the nomination, we promise.
2. How do I apply for an internship?
The site's Managing Editor, Anna Holmes, looks for new interns periodically (most internships last 6-12 months, and the site has a maximum of 2 interns at a time). She will post calls for interns when she is looking for them, and goes through responses at that time. This means that if you are applying for an internship at a time when they are not being sought, its likely that your email will not be read and/or saved. Internships are awarded to applicants currently attending college; her decisions are based on applicants' writing abilities, passions, interests, and availability (most interns work 20 hours a week).
3. Why haven't you responded to my email?
The site as a whole (and the editors personally) receive upwards of 500 emails a day. Some of these are tips from readers. Some of them are questions from readers. Most all of them are read, but, due to our high workload and lack of free time, we are not able to respond to most of them. The best description of the situation that we have seen was posted on Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan's site late last month.
Believe us: We appreciate each and every email. With the exception of PR pitches (see below) we read every email. We simply cannot respond to all (or even most) of them because if we did, we would not be able to do our jobs, which is to collectively post 60+ items a day.
4. I work for a company or PR agency and I want you to write about a product or event; how do I submit requests or ideas?
PR people can send us emails via our tips email but be warned: There is little to no chance that we will pay attention to or pick up on what you're pushing. In fact, 99% of the PR pitches we get are deleted immediately – without being read. We're simply not interested in this sort of stuff; most PR people do not understand our readership and its interests at all, and we regard our own sources (and our readers) as more pure in intent than anything coming from a marketing entity. Sorry.
5. How do I send in tips about stories I've read or heard about? Do you get sick of being sent tips?
Tips about stories you think may be of interest to the editors can be sent via our tips email (email@example.com). We do not get sick of being sent tips - that's what the tips email is for! - but we do ask that you send a brief description of the story along with a pertinent web address/URL. Tips that come in with only URLs and no description are likely to be put aside and eventually forgotten because we do not have the time or energy to click through and read tips without any accompanying description.
6. Is there any way we can get our commenter accounts/profiles deleted or banned?
You can request to have your commenter account banned/disabled but Gawker Media websites do not, and will not, delete profiles or comments. This means it is important that you be extra careful when choosing a screenname and to only say things you are comfortable with existing on the internet in perpetuity, because even if your account is disabled, it will still be visible to others.
7. How many followers do I need to get a star on my commenter account?
You need 40 followers in order to get a star on your account. Sometimes readers with the requisite number of followers do not receive stars for whatever reason; in that case, you can feel free to email our commenter moderator, Hortense (firstname.lastname@example.org) to alert her to the situation. You must include a link to your profile page in your email to her.
8. What is the difference between a "follower" and a "friend"?
You can "friend" someone by clicking on the little heart icon next to their name, after which that commenter will show up on your profile as a friend. You will then show up as a "follower" on their profile.
9. Who do we email if we see a grammatical or factual mistake in a post?
You can email the post's author (bylines are visible to the right of any post) or you can send an email to the site's Managing Editor, Anna Holmes. All staff emails are linked to the staff names in the masthead in the column to the left on the main page. Getting mistakes corrected is much more likely if you email an editor(s) than if you put a note in the comments, as we do not have time to follow the comments on the site with any sort of regularity or thoroughness.
10. How do I add HTML tags to my comments, insert images, links or video?
11. What is the usual cutoff for submitting comments of the day?
The post containing the Best/Worst comments for the day goes up between 4:30 and 5:00pm EST every day; it is often written and scheduled long before then (by about 3:30pm) so it's important to send your nominations to Hortense (email@example.com) by that time.
12. What is your editorial process? How many hours do you guys work and what is a normal workday like? Where do you work from?
This is a very involved, complex and difficult question but here's the short version: Editors rise and start working between 6-8am every day, and work for 8-10 hours while we are posting (we post from 9am to 7pm every day) and often after posting hours (when we are preparing posts for the next day; watching television for clips, dealing with technical issues; reading magazines, etc.). Most editors post 8-10 items a day and work at a breakneck pace with little or no rest.
For those interested in a more fleshed out description of A Day in the Life of a Jezebel editor, we are thinking about doing a post now and again in which an editor "liveblogs" her day as she works. Readers would then be able to refresh the post to see new entries and get a better understanding of what is going through her head, in her lips (most of us eat at our desks) and into her keyboard.
13. How do you decide what to post, and what not to post about?
Decisions about what is going up on the site - and in what order - on any given day are made by the Managing Editor Anna Holmes or, when she is off for the day, her deputy, Dodai Stewart. Decisions are made by weighing newsworthiness, personal preference/curiosity, reader request (often times the sheer number of tips about a story pushes us over the edge from "maybe we'll write about it" territory to "must write about it" territory), and the general mood of the editors that day. Sometimes posts are suggested by the editors and then discussed with/approved by Anna; sometimes Anna assigns out specific stories/topics due to her understanding of a particular editor's interests/strengths.
14. Where do you work? How do you communicate with one another?
99% of the time each editor is working from her apartment in New York City - we live in Washington D.C., Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, and our contributors/interns reside in such locales as Iowa and New England - although sometimes we branch out and set up shop at an internet-enabled cafes or at the Gawker Media HQ in downtown Manhattan. We communicate mainly via instant message, although when the entire staff needs to discuss an issue, email is used. Phone calls are also common when IM proves too difficult a method in which to communicate a particular idea.
15. Who finds the stories that you use in posts?
The site's Managing Editor spends 50% of her time reading a very robust RSS feed - for those who do not know what RSS is, click here or here - that includes 1,500 different websites/blogs, refreshes itself every 30 minutes and then deposits 300-400 new stories she scans and, in some cases, puts aside for later. (When she wakes up in the morning there are usually, 3,000 stories she has to go through.) We also hear about interesting stories/come up with post ideas via tips from our readers (firstname.lastname@example.org). Editors also come up with ideas via their life experiences, what they're reading at the moment, and any other number or manner of ways.
16. Who is the woman in the Jezebel logo?
We don't know; the Jezebel avatar was "found" and then modified/designed by our site's designer, Patrick King; she probably came from a stock image source. We are interested in creating other avatars that would rotate from time to time and reflect our readership more broadly.
17. What happened to my favorite features (Fine Lines, Pot Psychology, Missdemeanors, etc.)
Due to the much-publicized budget cuts late last fall - and the souring economy - we simply do not have the money to pay contributors as well as we used to. Since some of these features can take many hours/days in order to put together, and staffers/contributors' time is better used on other things, some features have been put on hold indefinitely. We want them back as much as you do, believe us!
18. What are the rules for commenting?
19. Why can't we be notified when someone responds to our comments?
The answer: Because this ability has not been created/enabled by our tech team yet. Please know that the tech team is planning on introducing this feature sometime in the next few months.
20. Do you have fun at what you do?
Yes and no. Sometimes we are feeling energetic and full of ideas and amusements; other days we are exhausted and grumpy… just like any other human being. The only difference between this sort of "blogging" job and working a more "regular" job is that there is a unrelenting nature to this that precludes us from taking lunch breaks, shopping excursions, errand running, etc. during the day. The adrenalin rush that comes from trying to stay on top of everything ("everything" = what's going on in the world, on the web, on the site itself) can be addicting but it is also incredibly exhausting. There is no "off" button at Jezebel but what makes it worthwhile are the connections made: There is no better salve for eye strain, carpal tunnel, and the brain rot/mental exhaustion that comes with this job than the sense of discovery, engagement, and humor among the editors and the readers.
*This post will be updated periodically as more questions - and answers - reveal themselves.