Simple checklist for preparing and submitting articles.
- Email is the best way to submit a story. Do not attach it as a word-processor document. Instead, paste it right into your message.
- Always identify your unit as “part of Group [the group # if your wing has them], [Your] Wing, Civil Air Patrol”
- Always end your story with the “boiler-plate” paragraph posted at https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/static/media/cms/Boilerplate__April_2018_66300CDFE9365.pdf * – Do not save this to your computer for future reference because it changes periodically. Instead, look it up every time you need it, then you’ll always be sure to use the most current version.
- Below the “boiler-plate” statement above, add your contact information: Unit Name, Address, Day/Time you meet, Phone #, email address, and website URL.
- Do not attach a Word document to your email. Playing it safe, many mail server spam filters strip .doc and .docx attachments because they could contain malicious code. Instead, insert the article right below your message to the editor, in plain text. Do not format the article; the editor will do that. Do not write anything ALL IN CAPS, except for commonly accepted acronyms, such as CAP, FBI, NASA and so on.
- Do not submit an article in PDF format. Editors may not always be able to lift your text from the PDF file, and might need to retype the whole thing if they want to use it. Since many of them are pressed for time, they might not go to the trouble and simply discard your submission.
- Unless that editor has asked for more images, attach only two or three well-chosen photos. Send the original, un-retouched, un-cropped, un-edited photos. For best results, make sure your photos are at least 2MB files. Remember that even black-and-white publications want 200 dots per inch (dpi), but your computer screen displays 72 dpi. What you see on your screen has about 12% of the minimum area that the editor wants…
- Give the images meaningful names.
- Caption the images below your article, right on the message, referring to them by image-file name, such as XX-squadron-flag-folding-ceremony.jpg
- Do not depend on the image to fill in information that ought to be in the article. Should the editor drop the picture, that part of the story wouldn’t get told – so make sure the narrative itself describes what the picture shows.
- If you want to send the same article to several editors, create an Email Contact entry under the name “News Editor” (both under First Name, so it won’t come out as “Editor, News” in your message). Link it to your own email address. Use the “News Editor” address for the message, then insert the email address for each editor (separated by semicolons) on the bcc: line, which will “blind copy” your message to each of those editors, without anyone knowing who else got it. Dry-run this method by using three or four friend’s email addresses and see if it works. Just make sure you don’t embarrass yourself.
As to the article itself, follow the guidelines in the How-To Guide for Civil Air Patrol Public Affairs and be sure not to save the best part of the story for the last paragraph. Newspapers often have limited space available, and if they need to cut down an article, they always trim off the bottom. Don’t let your best statement end up on the cutting-room floor. Please find the latest copy of the document above at https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/members/cap-national-hq/public-affairs-about/ on the right-hand sidebar.
See also: How to Submit an Article to The Fly-By
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Last updated: 09/14/15