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Birmingham Parent Magazine Writer's Guidelines

WRITERS' GUIDELINES


Our mission is to provide relevant information that both serves and entertains Central Alabama/Birmingham families. We look for journalists who share our vision and demonstrate a fresh, engaging writing style, have a keen sense of our readers’ interests, do appropriate research to provide factual information using the highest journalistic standards, understand the importance of attribution and focus specifically on topics that matter to families in our community.


Family Matters and Topics

To provide families with resources that matter to them, articles may include family-related topics ranging from health, education, news, community development, senior living, home décor, family pets, cooking, fitness, parenting, relationship counseling, child care and general human interest stories.

We ask writers to use local experts who are authorities in their field. To ensure we remain family-focused, every article should include a local family or parent “voice.” We also publish profiles of outstanding families and family organizations, interviews with local family parenting experts, reviews of children’s fiction and relevant snapshots of local families. We incorporate illustrations to accompany articles as well. If you are interested in submitting a story or illustration, we ask that you examine our previous issues and familiarize yourself with the subject matter and tone of our magazines.

Inquiries and Proposals for Articles, Columns and Illustrations

We are happy to consider any story idea or illustration that reflects the values and mission of the magazine. Please keep in mind that submissions are accepted on an individual basis, and consideration concerning appropriate articles is subject to the focus of the current issue, relevance to the publication and space available.


Submission Guidelines

Articles must be submitted electronically as a Word or RTF document and should be sent to carol@birminghamparent.com, but we do ask you keep attachments to a minimum. Also, please include your name, address, phone, fax number and email.


Lead Time

We require that any inquiries concerning future article topics be submitted at least two months prior to the intended publication of the article. We suggest writers examine our editorial calendar for information concerning the proposed focus of each month’s publication. Please visit our website for more information


Length

The average story should range from 700-900 words. If a writer is contracted to write a feature, the length can be upwards to 1500 words.


Bio

We like to include a short tagline with every story to say who you are and what you do.  Please keep it to two sentences. In the bio, please include your field of expertise or occupation, your connection with the area and something about your family.


Reprints

We sometimes accept article submissions that have been printed in other publications and pay a reprint fee and may ask if we can insert local sources/content. We do require market exclusivity.


Reprinting Articles on the Web

If Birmingham Parent publishes your submission, it may also be published electronically on www.birminghamparent.com.


Images

Those wishing to submit photos along with their article must have rights to the images. Furthermore, they must be hi-res jpeg files that can be attached to email along with the completed article. *Photo releases are required with all photos, and please provide appropriate cutlines.


Editorial Discretion

All submissions are subject to editorial review and approval by Birmingham Parent and may be edited for grammar, content and length limitations.  Local content/comments may be added to reprints.


Research and References

All articles are held to the highest of standards. Therefore, all submitted editorial content must be factual, unbiased and supported by expert opinions and research. We also ask writers to provide a list of references used at the end of the article.  We take very few “written off the top of your head” pieces.

When a writer cites information of more than a few lines – whether it is from online research or other articles and books – writers must not only attribute the information to the original author, but must also receive permission from the original source to use the information.

Writers must also take care in accurately attributing information from an outside source within the actual text of the article. When a writer takes any quote, statistic or idea from an outside source, he or she must make clear within the article itself where this information came from. A list of references and/or links to websites should also be provided at the end of the article, so the editor can easily locate the original source of the information.  We do not consider websites to be primary resources for any story.

At Birmingham Parent, we prefer writers to use local experts whenever possible. If a writer is having trouble finding a local expert, please contact the editor as we have a listing of local specialists who would be happy to assist in your research.

Before writing the article, the editor asks that you submit a short outline of what you plan to discuss in the story. Also provide the name and credentials of sources you plan to interview for the article. We do not give assignments to writers with who we have not previously worked; if you are a new writer to us, you should submit a piece on spec.


Separation of Advertising and Editorial

Editorial will be directly handled by our editor. The sales department has no influence or input over editorial and should not be addressed for any editorial requests or concerns. Decisions regarding possible editorial content fall under the jurisdiction of the editor and publisher. Therefore, editorial must be sent to the editor and not delivered through sales representatives or other third parties. To be clear, the editor does not control advertising content, and the advertising department does not control or direct editorial.


Articles from Businesses and Local Experts

Inquiries often come from local businesses that wish to write a feature article on their business or industry. We do not accept articles if the content is self-promoting for the business name. This is considered advertising; therefore, space for this content must be approved by and purchased from the advertising department at Birmingham Parent. It will be listed or noted as paid advertising, not as an editorial.


Tip-Driven Editorial

For professionals and experts wishing to write for the magazine, it is imperative that the content is not self-promoting in any way or designed to promote one’s business. That is why we ask experts to submit tip-driven articles aimed at providing helpful how-to advice in their area of specialization. In other words, to ensure articles do not promote one’s business or services, articles should highlight a problem or issue and then provide readers with helpful steps and advice that can lead to practical solutions.


No Advertorial

This magazine does not use “advertorial,” advertising meant to look like editorial. Advertising presented in editorial format is clearly defined in the magazine as “Special Advertising” and includes a special format, typeface, border and layout to differentiate it from legitimate editorial pieces.


Inquiries/Queries for Stories

All editorial inquiries should be emailed to Carol Evans at carol@birminghamparent.com.  No phone calls, please.  Pieces are accepted based on First North American Serial Rights and are paid within 30 days after publication.