Thank you for your interest in writing and reporting for The Borgen Project! We are delighted at the possibility of having you join the fight to alleviate global poverty. The following test is meant to ensure that you have the skills necessary to be a valuable contributor to our content team.
Our journalists have the tough job of reporting what can often be bland facts about poverty while making them engaging. We want our readers to not only take valuable information from each article we publish but to also enjoy everything they read so much that they can’t help but return for more.
Beyond just testing journalistic skills, this test also determines a candidate’s ability to carefully follow instructions while working independently.
As a journalist, we will expect a third of the articles that you submit to contain interviews. As such, your submitted skills test should also include an interview with an expert in the field or an expert witness. This might be a professor in the field, a neighbor who has been on a mission trip to the country you are highlighting or any other expert source who is willing to answer questions via email.
If you submit your article without an interview and transcript, we will consider you for a position as a writer rather than a journalist.
Here are some examples of journalistic pieces published on BORGEN Magazine:
First, select a topic:
- Poverty in ‘X’ country
- 10 reason to invest in foreign aid
- Water quality in ‘X’ country
- Top diseases in ‘X’ country
We’ve given you the broad topic, now what? You don’t have to go too broad to do a good job, in fact, we recommend either choosing a listicle format or drilling down and selecting one area of focus that ties in with the overall subject area. Here’s an example below:
Broad Topic: Poverty in India
Examples of good angles to take:
- 7 facts about poverty in India
- Access to clean water and poverty in India
- Technology services: Alleviating poverty in India
- Gates Foundation: Alleviating poverty in India
- 11 things to know about poverty in India
The topics provide you with a springboard to do further research and produce a piece that’s solutions-oriented and cohesive.
Research your topic of choice by reading credible news articles, government sources, and/or organizational websites. (i.e. UNICEF.org, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc.) Select at least three distinct sources to use in your article. You will need to cite these sources at the bottom of your article.
Your article should present the facts to your reader, so they can form their own opinions. We are not looking for opinion pieces.
Write an article that synthesizes your research in order to educate your audience about the topic while following AP Style.
A Few Tips:
- Article should be written in AP Style.
- Word count. 400-500 words
- Three or more sources. Use at least three distinct sources (borgenproject.org and borgenmagazine.com cannot be used as sources). List hyperlinks for your sources alphabetically at the bottom of your article.
- Write in the “Inverted Pyramid.” Begin your article with a gripping lede under 35 words. Include the most important information at the top, and trickle down to your supplementary and supporting information.
- Avoid clunky paragraphs. This isn’t a college essay. Paragraphs should be short enough to keep readers moving to the next one, but long enough to give readers the information they need. Aim for 2-3 sentences. Be specific in your information, attributing your information when possible; don’t over-generalize.
- Concise content. Write in short, grammatically correct sentences. Do not use the passive voice. Use active verbs, good adjectives and not too many superlatives.
- Readers have a very brief attention span. Grab their attention with figures and information; provide fascinating facts. Use a list format or subheadings where appropriate.
- Titles should be short and very clear. Anybody reading your title should know what you’re trying to say.
- Report and write in the third person. You are reporting information and stating fact, not belief. Do not use “I,” “you” or “we.”
- Avoid long quotes and multiple quotes per paragraph. Be sure to properly attribute your quotes. Don’t rely too heavily on quotes; paraphrase when applicable.
- There is a time and a place for stylistic flare. We love to see the punchy, one-sentence-long paragraphs, the rhetorical questions, the em-dashes and other bits of stylistic flair, but only when it’s done sparingly. Do not rely on it as a crutch.
Once you’ve finished please reply to the email sent to you by the hiring manager, with a Word document containing your article, transcript and additional sources.
Bonus tip for submitting your transcript: Either copy & paste the responses from your email interview directly into the Word document or transcribe the notes from any audio/video recording of your in-person journalistic efforts and include it with your submission.