My two overriding editorial principles are:
1. The blog is a personal hobby.
I invest up to 20 hours a week on top of my full-time job and my small business with writing, researching, photographing, editing and formatting 7 posts a week and replying to comments on the blog. I do that because I love writing, I’m interested in experiencing new places, meeting new people and learning about what others have to say about Melbourne.
2. The blog is a reflection of my personal interests.
This means that:
(a) There are a greater proportion of HOTs than NOTs because the majority of the time I select where I want to go and I pay my own way. Thus I choose to spend my time and money at places and events that I think will be good. If I was a professional restaurant reviewer, then yes, it is likely that I would eat and review at a lot more bad restaurants.
(b) I am unlikely to ever write a review on a football game, Arabic language class, beer-tasting event or burlesque show, as these are examples of things that I am not interested in.
So, here’s the editorial policy in detail.
- MEL: HOT OR NOT is a review blog, which means that I write reviews post the fact. While I initially tried to provide prospective information about upcoming events, I found it too time-consuming to keep up that information. Therefore, I tend to publicise upcoming events that I think will be interesting to my readers in the form of an interview, generally published on Sunday.
- I aim to write fair, honest and independent reviews. When something is excellent, I don’t hesitate to rave about it. When something is poor, it is not in my nature to gloss over it – that is why there is a NOT rating.
- While the blog has a strong leaning towards restaurant reviews, I aim to be not just a food blog and more a blog about Melbourne. Therefore, unfortunately not every post will be relevant or interesting to every reader, for instance, if they only read the blog for the restaurant reviews.
- The blog has a strong bias towards locations in the CBD and the inner city. That is because I work in the CBD and live in the inner city, and I don’t have the occasion to travel to the outer areas of Melbourne very much.
- When something is so-so, I still make a determination of whether it is HOT or NOT. I will always justify why I’ve fallen one way or the other.
- Most of the photographs are my own. If I have used other people’s photographs, I provide image credit and a link if relevant.
- I welcome guest posts, as I don’t think I am or should be the sole voice of what’s good or bad in Melbourne. I will never pass off a guest post as my own work and will provide the guest blogger with a link back to their blog if they request it.
Reuse of content
- My content is syndicated on Urbanspoon, Lonely Planet and Ozbloggers with my permission.
- Occasionally I have found that other people have been using my content and photographs without my permission. In such cases I write a polite email asking for credit and a link back.
- I am happy to receive unsolicited emails from PR and marketing agencies. However, I only respond to emails which I find personally interesting. Others I will politely decline or delete.
- I am happy to receive tips from readers about something or somewhere they like. I can’t promise to visit every single one, but I do make a note of all of them in my Moleskine diary in case I ever need ideas for a blog post.
- I occasionally get invited to events, such as restaurant dinners, theatre shows or product launches. When I have been invited as a guest, I always disclose that fact clearly in the post and I will always give my honest opinion and findings on the event.
- I occasionally receive free products. When I have received a free product, I may choose to pass it on as a giveaway. If I have received a free product as part of an event to which I’ve been invited, I will state that I have received a free product in the post.
- If I am paid to write a review, I will note that clearly in the post. Depending on the circumstances, I sometimes choose to donate my fee to a charity of my choice.
My business interests
I have a small business called CycleStyle and I used the blog to publicise that fact when it launched. I am not going to repeatedly write about CycleStyle on the blog but I will occasionally use the blog as a publicity channel, in the same way I choose to publicise other Melbourne businesses or events via the blog.