Getting Your Story Told: Guidelines for Submissions to State Magazine
How do I get an article published in State Magazine?
State Magazine is always looking for interesting articles about the Department’s foreign affairs mission and the employees who support that mission. The magazine encourages people like you, who are most familiar with your office or post’s operations, to submit both news and feature articles for publication. We, of course, will decide what to publish and will edit all submissions. We also assume that you will have coordinated and cleared your submission, if necessary, before sending it to us.
What kinds of articles are appropriate?
Articles can range from brief feature stories about people within the Department to short announcements about specific events of general interest and substantive articles about how Department employees participate in foreign affairs issues and meet related challenges. Leaf through back issues of State Magazine or surf copies on the web and you’ll get a sense of the variety of articles that run each month. And the magazine staff is always open to new ideas!
What writing style should I use?
Conversational style works best. In addition, articles should be free of acronyms and jargon unlikely to be understood by most readers. When possible, submit articles to the editor by e-mail. State Magazine is equipped to work with most software programs, including Microsoft Word and WordPerfect. Include the author’s name, job title and telephone number or e-mail address with every submission.
How long should articles be?
Some In the News items may require just one or two paragraphs. More in-depth pieces may run as long as 800 words or about four, double-spaced pages. “Post of the Month” and “Office of the Month” submissions generally run between 4 and 6 double-spaced pages. The editors will cut articles, when necessary, to meet space limitations.
Do “Post of the Month” and “Office of the Month” articles have special requirements?
Yes. As the magazine’s centerpieces, these features offer a great opportunity for a post or office to showcase their work and achievements. They should be heavy on substance and issues. “Post” articles should provide more information than can be gleaned from Post Reports or travelogues. They should tell the positives and negatives of a particular post, with honest assessments of everything from living conditions to diplomatic challenges. “Office” articles should describe the unique characteristics of the operation, its successes and challenges and its role in the Department’s overall foreign affairs mission. Remember, these are magazine articles, not reports or briefings. Organizational charts or PowerPoint presentations are unacceptable.
Good-quality photographs are critical to all “Post” and “Office” submissions. Signature scenery shots, or local color, certainly enhance a submission, but more important are environmental photos of U.S. and locally employed staff working and interacting. We prefer high-quality color prints in either 4x6, 5x7 or 8x10 glossy formats. Security concerns restrict the use of photos of employees’ families.
Am I required to clear articles before they are submitted?
State Magazine is for employees, family members and retirees. Therefore, it’s unnecessary to clear articles through the Public Affairs Bureau. The author should coordinate articles, however, with the appropriate offices. Remember, too, that while the magazine is targeted for an internal audience, it is also posted on the World Wide Web, so it does have an external audience as well.
Is it necessary to include photographs with my submission?
The old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words rings especially true in publications. Photos not only enliven the magazine pages, they grab readers’ attention and help reinforce the message in the text. While authors are not required to submit photos with their articles, they are strongly encouraged to do so.
If I’m not a photographer, how do I get high-quality photographs?
Contributors provide most of State Magazine’s photographs. Staff will look for photos and graphics to support your articles and, in some instances, take photos for you. If there’s an amateur photographer in your office or at your post, encourage that person to do the shooting in exchange for a photo credit in the magazine.
What are the magazine’s photographic guidelines?
State Magazine prefers color glossy prints. We will also consider color slides as well as digital images that are high enough resolution (minimum 300dpi). We cannot use postage stamp-sized digital images or images from PowerPoint presentations or ones embedded in Microsoft Word documents. Images must be separate from the text. For more specific details, contact the staff. Black and white prints may be appropriate for historic or artistic reasons. Ideally, photos should capture people involved in the activity discussed in the text — not shaking hands or lined up and smiling at the camera. Candid environmental shots work best. Photos should include typed captions identifying people from left to right, including job titles. Avoid writing on the photos themselves, except for numbers on the back to correspond with numbered captions submitted with text. State Magazine runs only Department-level awards. Photos of awardees receiving post, bureau or office level awards will not be considered for publication. Yearbook-type group photographs are strongly discouraged.
Does submitting an article guarantee publication?
No. The editor-in-chief determines which submissions will be published in State Magazine. In general, the magazine does not publish editorials, endorsements of commercial products or services, or articles contrary to Department policy. Articles that are date specific (such as a July 4th event) may be rejected because of a lack of timeliness. Lengthy pieces about conferences held months previously are discouraged for the same reason. If a submission does not meet the magazine’s editorial standards, the editors will try to work with the author to bring the article up to the magazine’s standards.
When are the magazine deadlines?
Deadlines are the 9th of each month, about six weeks before a magazine’s issue date. Meeting an issue’s deadline, however, does not ensure publication in that issue, only consideration. Once an article is accepted for publication, it will be scheduled to run as soon as possible, based on space limitations. Priority is given to time-sensitive stories. We cannot commit to notifying individual contributors when an article will run or which photos will be used.
Where do I send my submission?
Articles can be mailed to: State Magazine, HR/ER/SMG, Room H-236 SA-1, Washington DC 20522-0102. Faxed to: (202) 663-1769, or e-mailed to the editor at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions sent through conventional postal channels are subject to irradiation and possible damage to photos.
How can I get more information about submitting an article?
The magazine’s main telephone number is (202) 663-1700. Rob Wiley, editor, and Alesandra Ann Scholl, Deputy Editor, are listed on State’s unclassified e-mail system. Don’t hesitate to contact them.