Editorial Guideline

SMBC readers are well-informed, intelligent individuals with a wide range of interests but, they are not necessarily specialists — in fact, many people read our news to be informed and for research purposes. Our readers want to be provoked, surprised and presented with memorable information and rigorous analysis. They don’t want long-winded arguments, insider jargon, narrow topics, or excessively technical writing.

The ideal SMBC article strikes a balance: It is a reference for debate among specialists, but it also engages and informs a general-interest reader. Sharp analytical thinking should complement reporting. Opinion pieces or essays should use original data, anecdotes, and wit to draw in readers.

Here are some few ideas:

Before you pitch us an article/opinion/commentary/review/analysis, keep a few things in mind:

  • Visit our website: It’s the best way to get a sense of what we like, and the easiest way to avoid sending us something we’ve already covered.
  • Avoid the obvious: We receive dozens of pieces with titles such as “Jammeh the Dictator” and “The Future of The Gambia.” We publish almost none of them unless titles are changed.
  • Connect the dots: SMBC focuses on why what happens “there” matters “here” — and vice versa looking at results and effects.
  • Always Relate: Relate your writing to the “Gambia,” “Senegal,” and or “SeneGambia.” Relate even if it is on wider global, African or other international issues.
  • Steer clear of wonky, technical language: SMBC believes in making big ideas accessible to the widest possible audience. Again, not all our readers are experts in all fields.
  • Provide original research or reporting to support your ideas: Be prepared to document what you say. SMBC Editorial Team fact-checks everything we publish but we will not take responsibility for what you wrote.
  • Pitch articles for specific approaches: SMBC has a variety of different formats, almost all of which are open to outside contributors. See below for details.
  • Unpredictable start: Don’t send us any article/opinion/commentary/review/analysis that begins with “Since 1994, or since 1965 or since 1974…….” or “In the wake of July 22, in the wake of what happened…” Really. Please don’t.
  • Exclusive to SMBC: Articles/opinions/commentaries/reviews/analysis sent to us for publication should be exclusive to SMBC Network and having such article on any other medium might result to its nonpublication or its deletion from our medium.
  • Your contact information: Include your phone number and e-mail address for us to contact you in case the need arises.

We offer many avenues for the enterprising writer. An idea that does not work well in one format may well find a comfortable home in another. Consider the fit of your idea to the following descriptions of sections and their requirements. Then, submit your article idea to the most appropriate department. Please submit your article to us at [email protected]

Our different sections for your articles/opinions/commentaries/reviews/analysis are: Arguments, Think Again, Analysis, Review.

Arguments

With the SMBC Arguments approach, authors are encouraged to take a provocative stand in approximately 1,500 words. Think of these as thoughtful op-eds with some shelf life — topical, but not ephemeral. You should be able to distill your most salient point into one sentence. Just about any issue is fair game.

Think Again

A guerrilla attack on the conventional wisdom surrounding a consequential issue. A Think Again approach will give a new different look at issues – a new angle, a new perspective, a new idea that is thought provoking. Authors choose 5 to 10 assertions reflecting the common consensus on a topic (such as “Gambia is undertaking a huge military shuffle,” or “Sir D.K. Jawara is responsible for Gambia’s current problems”) and write short essays (about 350 words each) scrutinizing each assertion. The article should not be more than 3,000 words long.

Analysis

Analysis is a marriage of data-intense graphics and text that tells a compelling story about an issue of national significance or global importance in relation to the Gambia or the Greater SeneGambia. Authors provide data for four or five graphics and accompanying the text, which includes an introduction and four to five small package of commentary and facts to bolster your case (150 words each). Examples of such writing would cover voting trends, corruption and economic issues, labor market, the Gambia/SeneGambia market for cultural goods, and cross-country comparisons of crime and punishment data.

Review

Authors can send their book reviews to SMBC. Our goal is to expose our readers to important ideas and debates that they otherwise might not hear about. The books in question do not have to be about Gambia, Senegal or SeneGambia. It could be about Africa, international affairs or anything fictional or non-fictional. We welcome reviews that focus on contentious domestic, social justice and political issues, culture, economics, philosophy, and sociology. Book reviews should be typically 2,000 words in length. The reviews should assess the quality of the books and place those books in the context of current events. In short, tell us why this book is so important or controversial.

Thank you for considering the SMBC Network to publish your writing(s).

We look forward to publishing more of your ideas and perspectives!