A Call for Reviewers

Here at UAV, we're always looking for new reviewers. My staff of freelancers is already working at capacity, which means I need to find some new voices to join our ranks. If you think you have what it takes to be a reviewer, I'd like to hear from you...

What does it take to be a UAV reviewer? First and foremost, it takes writing skill. I have very high editorial standards, so I need people who can write in a clear, direct, engaging manner using active sentence construction with correct grammar and punctuation. I have no copy editor other than myself, and I don't have time to correct lots of these things. On the other hand, I'm not rigid about it—popular slang and usage is fine by me as long as it's clear and direct and not profane or disrespectful.

Second, it takes a passion for and knowledge of home-theater products—not necessarily at the level of circuits and algorithms, but rather an understanding of the available capabilities and how to test and use them appropriately. Another requirement is a set of discriminating ears and eyes that can distinguish subtle and not-so-subtle differences between products within a given category.

Finally, it takes empathy for those who don't know as much as you do about home theater. I try to make sure our reviews are educational while revealing the strengths and weaknesses of the product being evaluated. Admittedly, I do assume a certain level of background knowledge on the readers' part, but I also include brief explanations of things that might not be generally understood.

What types of products do I need to be reviewed? Mostly Blu-ray players, AVRs, pre/pros, power amps, multichannel speaker systems, and subwoofers. TVs and projectors are not on the table unless you're a fully qualified video calibrator. Reviewers of Blu-ray players, AVRs, and pre/pros must have a good 1080p video display with the ability to disable overscanning in order to properly evaluate these products.

How are UAV reviews organized? Just look at any recent review on the site. I've established a template structure that includes an intro, description of the product's main features, discussion of setup and testing, report on performance with real-world content, comparisons with similar products, and conclusion. There's also some ancillary stuff such as high and low points, specifications, and a list of the components used in conjunction with the review.

How much will you be paid to write a review? That depends in part on the type of product—subwoofers and power amps are much less involved than AVRs, so they require less work. We'll negotiate fees when the time comes, but UAV generally pays more for product reviews than most home-theater websites.

Then there are the intangible benefits—for example, you get the satisfaction of having your byline on one of the most respected sites in the industry. Plus, you get to express your opinion—something all home-theater geeks love to do—and, in the process, help make products better by pointing out areas in which they can be improved. Manufacturers actually read our reviews, and I've seen our suggestions implemented in subsequent product generations. Finally, I try to foster a collegial atmosphere among our writers, which means you'll have the opportunity to interact with some of the best in the business.

So if you have some writing chops and love to play with home-theater gear, here's your chance to be part of our growing team. I invite you to send me a sample of your writing at the e-mail address below. If you've written such reviews before, send me an example of the file you submitted, not a link to the published article—I need to see your raw copy before it's been edited. In this case, please let me know for whom you've written and whether or not you currently write for them.

If you haven't written any such reviews before, you might write a mock review of a product you already have in your system. Don't worry about following the UAV structure at this point—I just want to see how well you write, how well you know the subject matter, and how well you convey what you find to the average reader.

I look forward to hearing from you!

If you have an audio/video question for me, please send it to scott.wilkinson@sourceinterlink.com.

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