General Article and Image Information
Dec 1, 2004 1:00 AM
General guidelines for writing a Radio magazine article
All article for Radio magazine are first edited in a word processing program and then imported to a publishing program. The publishing software handles all the formatting of the text, so there is no need to specially format text when you submit it.
Use any word processing program you like. We use Microsoft Word, but it can import almost any format. If you have any doubt about compatibility, save the text in rich-text format or plain text.
Do not bold, italicize, center or apply other special formatting to the text. This will be removed before layout so save your time and ours. Use special formatting only if it is necessary to make something clearer in the text.
The only formatting needed is to use double returns between paragraphs. This helps us accurately determine paragraph breaks.
Do not imbed images into the text. Place a callout if an image should be included in a specific place.
Reference any diagrams in the text. For example, “The schematic in Figure 1 shows the proper connections.” Be sure to label your images appropriately so they can be matched properly.
Include a caption for every image. The caption should have something important to say and not simply repeat what is obvious in the image.
Images must be relevant to the story. We will not use any images with people posing for and smiling at the camera. It’s OK to have people in the photos, but they should be using the equipment, not mugging for the camera.
Images must be high resolution. Digital images are fine if there is sufficient resolution. 300 pixels equals one inch in print. While an image may fill your computer screen when it is set to 1024 by 768 resolution, the same image will be about 3.5″ by 2.5″ in print. Digital cameras with resolutions of 3.2 megapixels and higher are preferred.
Digital images cannot be enlarged. Doing so makes them grainy or pixilated. Images sized for use online are seldom acceptable.
Images should be saved as JPG or TIF files. Other formats may be acceptable, except GIF.
We like to include head shots of people with news items. Again, the higher the resolution the better. We also have an established format for these head shots, so do not crop them for us. Leave plenty of background, and let the shot extend to include at least half the chest. We will crop and trim.
Contact the editor before e-mailing any images. Large files will quickly fill an e-mail inbox. We can supply FTP upload information if necessary. You can also mail a CD or other storage media with large files.
Radio magazine uses a tutorial style. Do not use quotes from individuals in your text (which is a reporter style). You as the author are the expert here. Present the information in your voice. References to contributors are sometimes appropriate, but they are at the discretion of the editor.
This is not to say that quotes will never be used, but they will be reviewed during editing.
The common practice of using mixed-case letters in company names and product names causes a great deal of confusion to a copy editor. Radio magazine style normalizes all names to be a capitalized first letter and lower-case remainder. For example:
“SAMS” will be changed to “Sams”
“eConvention” will be changed to “Econvention”
“RadioMan” will be changed to “Radioman”
Exception to the above: If the normalized name is difficult to read, the words will be separated: “BigRedBox” will be changed to “Big Red Box”
Some names are abbreviations but are read as a word. For example, the “Oliver Newell Company” may call itself “ONCO” and say the name as a word: “ahn-coe.” In this case, we will write it as “Onco.”
If the abbreviation is kept as initials (which is actually called an initialism), for example “Frequency Radio Incorporated” is abbreviated as “FRI” and written as “FRI” but called “Eff Are Eye” when spoken, it will remain “FRI” in print.
Some product and company names use non-alphabet characters, such as punctuation, in their names. These alternate spellings will also be normalized. For example, F@st, Yahoo! Sup3r and Ins!ght will be changed to Fast, Yahoo, Super and Insight.
When the word “the” preceeds a name that is used as an initialism but is not included in the initials, the word “the” will preceed the initialism. For example, “the Federal Bureau of Investigation” will always be referenced as “the FBI” and not simply “FBI.” This applies to the NAB, the SBE and other groups when the initialism is used as a noun.
To maintain the professional feel and avoid a chatty style of writing, a few words will be often be changed to reflect a truer meaning. For example, a studio building will be called a facility, not a plant. (Plants are usually green and grow in soil.) A piece of hardware will be called equipment, not gear. (A gear is a toothed wheel.) Also, referring to anything as a solution will almost always be changed. Referring to a product or service as a solution is a a generic marketing phrase that rarely describes something in practical terms.
Service mark designations, such as � and �, while important to companies in preserving their barnds and identities, will not be used in editorial copy. They become cumbersome and distracting.
Press Releases and News Items
We receive a great number of press releases, and we will use them when they are appropriate to our audience and provide relevant information. The sale of a company is newsworthy to our readers, but a company offering its products at a sale price is not news. That is information for an advertisement. Contact the editorial staff with any questions about the suitability of information.
Special sale prices on equipment or rebates are not news items. This information is ideal for an advertisement. See the contacts page for our sales team.
Redesigned company websites and new catalogs are also not usually considered for use as a news or business item. If the new site or catalog offers useful tools or references for our readers, we will consider it.
Press releases that must suppress the important facts, such as the selling company, the buying company or other details that make a story a story will not be used. For example, a company that sells a significant number of products to a “major broadcast company” where the major company cannot be identified, is not useful. We don’t expect a significant sale to include a dollar amount, but it should at least be able to identify the companies involved.
Every article will carry an author byline. The byline will include appropriate professional certification abbreviations, such as those from the SBE, NARTE, Microsoft, Novell and others. We will limit the number of certification abbreviations to three to avoid the alphabet soup.
Each article will also carry an author credit at the end. The standard format for a contributed article is last name is job title at company, city, state. We do not include e-mail addresses or website for contributors in the author credit. If someone wants to contact you, we don’t mind fielding and then passing the contact request to the contributor. Doing this reduces the amount of spam that the contributor might receive, and also avoids the problem of a changing e-mail address or website. Contributors and editors listed on the magazine masthead may have contact information included.
Want to contribute to Radio magazine? Our author guidelines provide the details on what to do. These also include general editorial style guidelines….