FSElite is a team of many members, coming from a range of different backgrounds. Some of us are still students, others maintain steady jobs. We cover a large part of the globe to try and make sure we have people available to give you the latest news as soon as we can. To you, and to us, this all seems very natural.
But, as we have sometimes read in feedback we have received, you do occasionally wonder how we write articles. How we come to the conclusions we do. Or the process in place to come to these conclusions. Sometimes you wonder how we get the sources for our news, or why we haven’t posted on a certain piece of news that you’d have liked to see us cover. So, therefor, in this months editorial, I want to give you a little bit of insight into how we write a news article.
A piece of news start with some announcement or post from (usually) developers themselves. Someone makes an announcement regarding a new or upcoming product. Maybe a developer has released an update for a certain scenery, aircraft or tool. Or perhaps someone has shared some previews about something. It could be anything.
Because we are all flight simmers ourselves, we often notice right away when an addon has been updated. When it comes to finding news, it’s a little bit harder. We all utilise social media a lot to find the relevant news, mostly Facebook. We try and follow every developer or publisher to stay up to date with their latest products, and the news surrounding them. We also frequently scour forums, whether that be developer of community ones. However, we have a large but limited number of people and an even more limited amount of time. We would love to, but cannot cover every forum that is out there in search for news. So that’s where we also largely rely on you, to tip us off. Every now and then we’ll receive a message in our inbox with a tip to an announcement we have missed, for whatever reason. Usually because the developer is either a new player, or their announcement was buried deep inside some forum. Another reason, of course, is a developer reaching out to us because of an exclusive announcement they would like to publish through us.
After this is done, we post the link and a one-line summary to our internal communication tools. Usually every link is posted here, but it will on occasion happen that we will deem a piece of news not newsworthy enough, usually based on how a product is perceived by our readers. This occasion is luckily a very rare one, and the power to remove a task is limited only to a few editors we have and always in discussion. Another reason we will occasionally stop something from getting posted, is because the developer has been releasing multiple preview shots in rapid succession or gives a weekly update with hardly anything new to show (we don’t want you to get readers-fatigue). Or we know that a developer is known to release a product within a day or two after publishing the final previews. These occasions happen every now and then, but are still not too common.
Luckily our team is incredibly dedicated, and news items usually don’t linger around in the queue for too long. A writer will assign himself to one of the available tasks, and start writing. This starts by finding out what the news is about, and finding out all the details surrounding it. Usually this information can be found within the original source, aided by our own knowledge of the developer. Sometimes we need to look back in the past a little bit, at previous articles we have posted concerning said project and/or developer. After this, we will collect some images we can post alongside the article and start writing (not necessarily in this order). When we write, we never simply copy the original announcement, but always turn it into something from ourselves. We may refer back to past articles, or provide more insight into what was announced/previewed. Sometimes the information in an announcement is so big and overwhelming, that we will try and summarise what was said for you. Whereas other times we try and elaborate a bit more on the short message that was given by a developer. All of our writers do this in good faith, and there is a high level of trust within the team that everyone will write to a certain standard.
After this process is done, the images are added and all the necessary WordPress actions have been completed, there is one final task: to publish the article. Even this is not as straightforward as it seems though. Do we want to notify you of this news? Or do we feel this is not “important” enough for you to be disturbed by. Are we sure the article is good enough, or did I miss something? As for the first question: this is usually done in discussion. But we have a general understanding of what you like to read and hear about, and what we can disturb you with. As for the second part: it happens often enough that we simply ask someone else on the team to take a quick glance at an article. Even if that means slightly delaying the news. As a matter of fact, this is a mandatory step in our process for editorials (such as these) and reviews.
And finally, the post is published. Now it’s just a question of posting it to our social media channels, and making sure everyone is behaving in our comment section. It may sound like a lot, but as I mentioned, our team is dedicated and loves doing it. And the whole process really doesn’t take all that long. Some articles can be done in a matter of ten to fifteen minutes.
Of course, we all make mistakes, and so do we sometimes. And I will be the last one to say that our process is perfect. That’s why we try and listen to your feedback and take it into account. It’s part of the reason of getting an entirely new review system in place, which by now you may have seen on Calum’s Airport2Sim or Simon’s Cologne review. Having been with FSElite for quite some time now, I’m proud of what we manage to achieve every day.
And, because I know that I’ll get questions if I skip this part of my monthly editorial: last months most popular articles were dominated by Airbusses. The upcoming update to the FSLabs A320, Aerosoft’s A330 previews and EFB announcement, and a new developer on the market, iniSimulations, developing their rendition of an A380.