For 11 years now, The Firearm Blog has prided itself on being an independent, unbiased source for news and reviews of guns and related gear. Our staff consists of intelligent and creative writers with diverse backgrounds and interests who work hard every day to bring you worthwhile content. But what we sometimes take for granted here at TFB is that you, the reader, may not fully understand how we get topics for news articles or receive gear for reviews. To give you all a better idea how we deliver firearm industry news, we thought it would be a good idea to outline some of our daily operations here at TFB.
The Firearm Blog: Inside Daily Operations
But before we begin, staying true to our Firearms, Not Politics motto, we refuse to publish partisan, inflammatory or otherwise divisive discourse. Regardless of background, nationality, race or class, the common denominator here at TFB is strictly legal firearms ownership and appreciation. We will, however, discuss laws and legislation, regulatory changes, current events and other topics while maintaining a neutral stance.
TFB DAILY OPERATIONS: Staff
The staff here at TFB consists of about 20 writers, an Editor In Chief, a Managing Editor and an Executive Producer of TFBTV who are all independent contractors. This means that, for better or for worse, no one works directly for a corporation or entity. Writers are paid by the article and the rate varies based on experience, quality and types of content. Without giving you actual numbers, I can say that the hourly rate works out to be on par with a minimum wage position. Having said that, I have yet to have anyone complain about pay – we all love TFB and the opportunity to work in a field we are passionate about.
The majority of our writers “moonlight” as TFB contributors, working nights and weekends to photograph guns, write reviews and research topics for news releases. Part of what makes TFB so great is our diverse background and experiences.
TFB DAILY OPERATIONS: Types Of Content
First off, TFB has not, does not and has no plans to accept or publish sponsored or paid content (if that ever changes, we will let you know). All of the articles you read are derived organically by the staff, usually based on their interests, knowledge or experience.
There are four main types of articles that are published on The Firearm Blog:
- Daily News: These posts are the meat of TFB’s content, consisting of recent events, industry news and other topics that may be of interest to you, the reader. Daily News articles are usually 300 to 500 words long and should include a citation (or citations) for the sourced material. Writers are not assigned Daily News topics: they find something worthwhile, research it and schedule it to run on the blog independent of any editorial guidance.
- Press Releases: Writers receive press release from companies or public affairs agencies that are announcing a product or event. These usually consist of a narrative that is pre-written by an organization stating the relevant facts and important details. Press releases can feel like advertisements at times because the information is generated by the company or organization who has something new to share. It is important to note that neither writers nor TFB proper are compensated to publish press release information.
- Reviews: Writers are assigned or can request guns and gear to review at TFB. Based upon new releases, popularity, uniqueness or a writer’s personal experience, Firearms and accessories are requested from a manufacturer directly or can be something that the writer personally owns. None of the reviews are paid or sponsored by any company and the resulting experiences are based on the opinion of the individual writer alone.
Keep in mind, everyone has their personal opinions based on training and past experiences. While we work hard to keep our personal feelings and beliefs in check, we all have our own likes and dislikes. So being human, those individual opinions can show up in a review. It is important to remember that the reviews here at TFB aren’t (usually) technical manuals or a regurgitation of specifications. The writer’s personal experience is a mainstay of a quality TFB review.
If a potentially negative issue arises during a review, the writer will notify the editorial staff who will make contact with the company to relay the issue. Sometimes it is a technique that needs to be adapted to use the gear according to specifications, sometimes there is an outside issue (ammunition compatibility, for example) or sometimes the product is faulty. The manufacturer is given a chance to help correct the issue and in most cases it is cleared up with a phone call or an email. Inoperable equipment is returned for replacement. If all else fails, the company can provide a statement on the writer’s observations and it will be included as a part of the review.
At the end of the review period, firearms are either returned to the company or may be available for purchase for a realistic price (usually around dealer cost). A detailed log is kept to identify the number and type of reviews performed by each writer.
- Editorials: This is a type of post that is used to deliver a writer’s personal thoughts and feelings about a subject or technique. Editorials should be based on factual data. Although editorials appear less often than other types of posts, they are an excellent way to pass on first hand knowledge and observations.
TFB DAILY OPERATIONS: Advertising
The Firearm Blog relies on advertisers to pay the staff and keep the technical infrastructure up and running. However, none of the writers nor editorial staff have contact with advertisers or billing. In fact, most writers can’t see the ads that are attached to their stories, even after they are published.
If an advertising inquiry or request comes our way, we forward them over to an email ([email protected]) where companies whisked away to be wined and dined. Actually, I have no idea what happens after the handoff, but apparently some of them wind up advertising at TFB.
Special circumstances do arise: the solicitation for possible sponsors for Silencer Saturday, product giveaways and the loathesome affiliate-link laden holiday guides that show up here and there. But even so, the operational staff at TFB has no idea if or how much money changes hands
Needless to say, as writers and, more importantly, shooters, we are thankful to be separated from the business and revenue side of the house. “Blissfully ignorant” might be a term I throw around from time to time.
TFB DAILY OPERATIONS: Editorial Review
Reviewing articles prior to publishing is a constant work in progress. With articles going live almost every day of the week all year round, the volume of editing can get overwhelming. We do our best to look at everything prior to it going live, but posts can slip through the cracks with spelling and grammar mistakes (I see you rolling your eyes), omissions and even factual inaccuracies. All of which are unintentional and inadvertent and corrected as soon as possible after they are brought to our attention.
We are also getting much better at sourcing our information, requiring writers to provide a documented source for data and observations, especially regarding anything that can contain information that is detrimental to an individual, group or company. Without belaboring the point, we’d sooner pass on publishing a story rather than rush to publish something that is inaccurate.
You – Our readers
That’s about it: TFB in a nutshell. On behalf of our writing staff and the Editor In Chief Doc Rader, thanks for reading and making all of this possible. Obviously I’m biased, but I truly believe that TFB has the best all around staff, content and format for firearms news and reviews.
If you have ideas, questions or complaints, please feel free to drop me an email.
P.S. – While still maintaining objectivity, TFBTV operates slightly differentlly from TFB. I’ll let Executive Producer James Reeves explain as he sees fit.