Several people have asked us how the Æthelmearc Gazette came to be, how it is staffed, and how we work. This is the first in a series of interviews with the Gazette staff; wonder no longer!
Staff Member: Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin
Staff Title: Founder and Managing Editor
Why did you start the Gazette?
During my term as Society Chronicler, I realized that the newsletters weren’t keeping up with the demand for current information; we are content to be period in our other activities, but social media has taken our recreation world by storm, fostering friendships among far-flung people and connecting those people and events in ways that a monthly newsletter can no longer hope to do.
I’d been avidly following the East Kingdom Gazette, and touched base with their Managing Editor, Mistress Catrin o’r Rhyd For to talk about her experiences. I’d also been talking with Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope and Maestro Filippo de Sancto Martino, who were on board with starting something similar in our own Kingdom. Suckered in Emboldened by the encouragement from the EK Gazette, and the overwhelming support from within Æthelmearc, we gathered together a solid core of staffers (scroll down here to see our staff roster) and began publication in December of 2014.
Do you have a mission statement?
Why, yes we do. It’s simple – to connect the Kingdom with a totally accessible blog, covering events, news from officers, and all the various things we do as SCAdians. A secondary, but no less important purpose is its use as a marketing tool; by presenting the best the Kingdom has to offer, new members can easily see what we do – and join in!
How is the Gazette actually run?
Each of the editors is on a schedule roster and becomes editor of the day a couple of time a month – they check our email account to see what has come in, and put up articles that are ready to run. Our intrepid scheduling editor, Lord Magnus de Lyons, works with everyone to put out a schedule each month that takes into account everyone’s conflicts – not always easy when we are all at the same events on weekends! Editors also solicit articles in their areas.
We use WordPress as a platform; we had a bit of a learning curve (I developed our editor’s tutorial as I learned it myself!) but it’s worked well for what we are doing.
You are totally unofficial – does that mean no oversight?
We made the decision in the beginning that the staff will never politicize their positions. However, we will absolutely print things from Corporate or from officers and Royalty that may have political ramifications, just as any news outlet would in the modern world. When something potentially problematic comes over the transom, the editors discuss it on our private FB group before posting. To quote the EK Gazette editor, though, and with my hearty agreement, “We run by consensus when possible, but the final call on articles that may be controversial is mine. If there is a problem, I want it to land at my feet as managing editor.”
Since it is a private blog, we have more leeway than the official SCA publications; we use common sense in getting permissions for things, but do not use complicated waivers.
We’ve been happy with our success so far! More of the same! We want to encourage our officers to use the Gazette more and more, since it is a great way to reach the populace quickly with announcements. With hundreds and sometimes thousands of page views in a day, we have definitely become the prime information outlet for the Kingdom.
We also encourage more people to send articles and papers for publication – it’s a great way to get your work seen across the Kingdom and around the Known World (strangely, we have a relatively large following in Lochac). Submit early, submit often!
Interested in submitting articles to the Gazette, suggesting blogs to feature, or to be put on our roster of photographers whose work we have permission to use? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our submission guidelines here.