NHBB Call for Writers 2017-18

Announcements, results, and discussion for all NHBB, IHBB, and History/Geography Olympiad events. DO NOT discuss specific question content of any kind until the sets are announced as clear at the end of the competition year.

NHBB Call for Writers 2017-18

Postby Irreligion in Bangladesh » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:46 pm

Thank you to everyone who made this past year of NHBB & USABB a success - in particular, for purposes of this announcement, our team of question writers.

We are, as always, looking to hire question writers! I'm rolling out the call for writers in a few stages. Today, I'm starting with side events for the third International History Olympiad (held Summer 2018, as it is now officially a biennial event). Later this month, I'll be posting announcements for category assignments (a la the cultural history writers from 2016-17), writers at large, and new writer training.

IHO Side Events
The International History Olympiad includes a standard Bee and Bowl competition in addition to roughly a dozen mini-tournaments. Topics for the tournaments include...
*Visual Art
*Classical Music
*Pop Music
*Sports History
*Science/Technology History
*Historical Geography
*Ancient History
*Recent History
*German Military History

The first eight events each return from the previous two incarnations of IHO. As IHO 2018 is being held in Berlin, the military history slot focuses on Germanic history, ancient through modern. Two side events will have their topics announced much later: the attendees of IHO vote on the topic for "You Pick, We Write" in the spring, and the Scramble topic isn't announced until IHO approaches.

The art and music events involve audio/visual questions, a la the Eyes That Do Not See and Imaginary Landscape sets.

Writer Responsibilities
*The writer of a side event is in charge of answer blanking, writing, and packetizing their set. I'll check in on occasion to help calibrate difficulty and make sure you're on pace to finish on time, then read the finished product and provide feedback/revision notes if necessary. I prefer assigning a side event to a single writer or pre-formed writing team; given the time we have to complete these, I won't be assigning writers to an editor for any of these sets.

*Side events are played by both MS and HS students; the writer is responsible for making a MS copy of the packets, then making appropriate edits for that version. This involves cutting the 5 hardest questions in each prelim packet, then making whatever further edits necessary to make the set good for MS play. These MS kids are really good, so it's not generally a ton of extra work, especially if the original questions are already plotted with answer line accessibility in mind.

*IHO is, of course, an international event; there are tons of non-American students there, so the distributions shouldn't be heavily American. This is easy to do in things like ancient history; sports is usually a challenge.

Beyond general guidelines of "don't make this way too hard or too American" and some minor event-specific notes, the set is yours to write as you see fit. You don't have to worry about stylistic differences or repeats with other sets.

Payment: I'm waiting on Madden's confirmation for financial specifics. I can say that writing for IHO side events is a little bit higher than writing regular questions for NHBB, as you're caring about balancing a distribution and putting Word docs of packets together. NHBB writers in 2016-17 were paid a base rate between $3.50 and $5 per tossup, based on experience.

Timeframe: I would like all the IHO side events to be done by December; having a set done before September is extra helpful to me because I can review it before the 2017-18 regular season deadlines get moving, but that's not a requirement.

You can apply for more than one side event if you like; I doubt I'll be assigning more than two to anybody.

If you're interested in writing an IHO side event, let me know by e-mailing me at brad@historybowl.com with
*your desired subject,
*a proposal for the subcategory distribution you'd like to follow, either as "percentage of the set" or as "number of questions in a packet of 30 tossups," and
*an example tossup or two of your vision for the set.

(The subcategory distribution will be more of a thing in some than others; art and music, for example, are a fair bit less divisible than sports. If you think it doesn't matter for your event, don't worry about it.)

Applications will be open until at least June 23rd. Expect radio silence on your application until I get to them all later, unless you've got a question in there. My hope is to get IHO side events assigned and working by July 1.

Thank you, and be on the lookout for info on the Provisional Writer training program soon!
Brad Fischer
NHBB Director of Question Production

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)
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Re: NHBB Call for Writers 2017-18

Postby Irreligion in Bangladesh » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:14 pm

Hiring Writers
NHBB hires experienced question writers year-round. To apply to be an NHBB writer, e-mail me at brad@historybowl.com with your name, school affiliation (past and present as necessary), and a list of previous writing experiences (tournaments you helped write for, years worked for other companies, etc.). I am looking for writers who have had significant experience writing pyramidal tossups at the middle school, high school, and/or college levels. Writers who have not worked with me in the past are encouraged to include a sample of five (previously written and cleared for sharing) tossups.

Current high school students are eligible for hiring, though they must meet the usual experience requirements. Current HS writers have their questions tagged as ineligible for use in NHBB until their graduation but can write for USABB if approved by the USABB head editor, Kristin Strey.

How We Operate
Like many other question writing companies, most of our writers write on a completely voluntary basis; in general, you can write questions when you like and are under no obligation to meet certain quotas or deadlines. We do offer bonuses if you are interested in taking on a writing assignment by a certain deadline and/or for committing to completing an entire category for the year's sets.

Almost all questions are submitted to Packetizor, our question production web portal; the side events for IHO are completed via Google docs. When you're hired, I'll set you up with the account creation process there.

I review all submitted questions, either editing them for immediate use and payment, accepting them for future use and immediate payment, or rejecting them back to you with feedback on what to improve/why the question isn't fixable. At certain times of the year (working on international conversions in particular), question review gets slightly delayed.

I send checks to writers who have accrued at least $75 after the completion of each major set (the three regular season NHBB events, NHBB Nationals, USABB Regionals and Nationals, etc.), and send checks to everyone to close out the balance at the end of the year.


If you have any questions, please let me know via PM, post, or e-mail at brad@historybowl.com. Thank you!
Brad Fischer
NHBB Director of Question Production

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)
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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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Re: NHBB Call for Writers 2017-18

Postby Irreligion in Bangladesh » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:33 pm

Provisional Writer Training

I will be running the second iteration of the Provisional Writer Program, a novice writer training curriculum. Experienced quizbowl players without enough writing experience to be directly hired by NHBB are invited to apply for this program. I am accepting applications now via e-mail; see below for details. If you e-mailed me earlier in the year with interest in the program, you should have received an e-mail from me earlier today asking to confirm your interest in the program now. If you didn't get that e-mail and think that you should have, my apologies! Please e-mail me again.

The PWP takes the form of e-mail correspondence, in which I provide writing lessons to trainees, trainees write and e-mail me example questions incorporating the lesson(s), and I respond with feedback. Trainees should expect to write two or three questions every three to four days. The program will last from July 1 to (approx.) August 10th. If you know that you have a major scheduling conflict (two or more weeks in which you'll be unable to write) during that time, I recommend not applying.

The lessons instruct trainees in writing quizbowl questions in general. The only differences between writing for NHBB and writing for all-subject quizbowl are the distribution (history-focused, of course) and the format of questions (adding a bonus part to a tossup for Quarter 2 questions, lack of three-part bonuses, etc.). While the PWP focuses entirely on writing history tossups, the lessons are applicable to other subjects as well and I encourage non-history players to apply!

The lessons from the first Provisional Writer Program are available at the bottom of this page; I encourage all applicants to read these essays (the NHBB-centric one on cultural history much less so; it's only of interest once you're hired) before writing and submitting your application. The ten lessons for this program will build on that framework, and will be posted on the same site after the conclusion of the program.

Application
To apply, e-mail me at brad@historybowl.com with the following information:
*Name
*School affiliation (high school and/or college as applicable, including years of graduation)
*A short description of your quizbowl experience (years played, a brief list of achievements, any past writing you've done)
*Five sample tossups. These tossups should be aimed at regular season high school play in their difficulty, category, and length. I prefer history, but it's completely fine if you send me five non-history tossups - I won't hold it against you in the admissions process. If you've written for a publicly clear tournament, these tossups can be taken from that work; don't send me any tossups that aren't clear for discussion, of course!
*Use the subject line "Provisional Writer Program Application - [name]" or similar.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask; otherwise, expect radio silence on your application until after the deadline. :)

The PWP will run with no more than 20 trainees; I anticipate receiving more than 20 applications, and will admit up to 20 candidates based on experience and (more importantly) the quality of the five sample tossups.

Applications are due by June 25th; I'll let applicants know if they're in the program by July 1st, when the first lesson will be sent out. If you have any questions, please let me know via PM, post, or e-mail at brad@historybowl.com.
Thank you!
Brad Fischer
NHBB Director of Question Production

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)
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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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Re: NHBB Call for Writers 2017-18

Postby Irreligion in Bangladesh » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:31 pm

This Saturday, I'll be assigning IHO side events, so if you'd like to apply for one of those, there is still time to do so.

PWP applications are being accepted until Sunday night, so there's still time to apply for that as well. It'll take me a little bit of time to work through the applications, so don't worry if you don't hear back right away.
Brad Fischer
NHBB Director of Question Production

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)
User avatar
Irreligion in Bangladesh
Auron
 
Posts: 2009
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 1:18 am
Location: Winnebago, IL

Re: NHBB Call for Writers 2017-18

Postby Irreligion in Bangladesh » Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:47 pm

We've having issues with Hostmonster at the moment, which has the nasty side effect of having taken our e-mail servers down. If you've sent me an application for the Provisional Writers Program or an IHO side event over the last day or so, you may need to re-send it, or we may get a flurry of delayed e-mail once things are back up. I'll post here once everything's working again and let you know if you need to resend any emails. Deadlines will be pushed back a bit accordingly.

Thanks for your patience!
Brad Fischer
NHBB Director of Question Production

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)
User avatar
Irreligion in Bangladesh
Auron
 
Posts: 2009
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 1:18 am
Location: Winnebago, IL

Re: NHBB Call for Writers 2017-18

Postby Irreligion in Bangladesh » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:05 am

Website's back up but e-mail servers are still not working properly, so it'll be at a little while longer before I can post an update on deadlines for these things (and the National Quizbowl Awards).
Brad Fischer
NHBB Director of Question Production

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)
User avatar
Irreligion in Bangladesh
Auron
 
Posts: 2009
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 1:18 am
Location: Winnebago, IL

Re: NHBB Call for Writers 2017-18

Postby Irreligion in Bangladesh » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:02 pm

E-mails appear to be good again, and (while it's obviously impossible to know for sure) it appears we got all e-mails sent during the downtime after a delay. (If you e-mailed anybody with an @historybowl.com e-mail address on Fri/Sat/Sun and haven't gotten a reply back, send it again.)

I'll take applications for IHO Side Events and Provisional Writers until Friday night and announce things on Saturday.
Brad Fischer
NHBB Director of Question Production

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)
User avatar
Irreligion in Bangladesh
Auron
 
Posts: 2009
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 1:18 am
Location: Winnebago, IL

Re: NHBB Call for Writers 2017-18

Postby Irreligion in Bangladesh » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:05 am

IHO Side Events have been handed out; thank you to everyone who applied, and to Sameer Rai, Jakob Myers, Bruce Arthur, Andrew Leung, Eric M., Noah Prince, Rebecca Rosenthal, Kristin Strey, Tyler Vaughan, Chris White, and Joe Su for their help editing the side events!

There was a flurry of last minute Provisional Writer applications, so I'm still grading those; I'm hoping to have those done and all of them e-mailed out before the fireworks on Tuesday. Sorry for the delay!
Brad Fischer
NHBB Director of Question Production

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)
User avatar
Irreligion in Bangladesh
Auron
 
Posts: 2009
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 1:18 am
Location: Winnebago, IL


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