Press Submission Guidelines
It is very important for writers to pitch their stories, if not to everyone during the general body meetings, then to section editors or assistants. Our editors can be reached through the following emails.
All submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org in a Google Document with permissions set for editing.
Pieces should be titled like “Section name-Writer’s Name- Title/Topic.”
The header of all pieces should have the following.
Section Title (Culture, News, ect.)
Name (John Doe)
Article Name (“How Kanye West’s Sneakers Changed Fashion In The 2000s”)
Word Count: 687
Media/Art URL: (Please link to a large (1200px or bigger) featured image to post with the article online or provide a link to a Google Drive document with original photos/art.
After three editors look at your piece, one of our editors will reach back to you so that you can respond to comments left on your work. Please respond in a timely fashion.
Our Print Issue
The biggest requirement for pieces to go into the print issue is not just how good the piece is, but also how much art, photos and visuals accompany it. If you have high-quality original photos or can pitch a good idea for an artist to envision your piece, there is a higher likelihood that your piece will be published in the print issue.
Visual art or photos are not needed for web pieces. Pieces pitched for the web could also go into the issue and vice versa.
Don’t be afraid to pitch what’s on your mind! Take chances and see what gets good responses; real newsrooms work the same way!
Our features section is the heart of this magazine. Feature stories are generally long-form narratives. If you want to submit a longer piece, try to keep it within an 800-1,000 word count limit. However, if you feel your piece warrants more than the word limit we’re looking for, don’t stop yourself.
We usually expect to see three or more sources in a strong feature story. Of course, this changes when it comes to certain pieces like profiles or longer culture pieces.
Multimedia pieces that can be put into print can also be pitched as features. We are always looking to publish photo essays or highlight excellent art.
Some things to keep in mind according to our feature editors:
- When writing about a topic, pick one clear, specific angle and expand on it. Don’t just dump all the information on the topic into your article; narrow it down to only what is directly relevant to your particular angle.
- If you are having trouble starting your feature, try not to put a lot of complex information in your first paragraph. Start with a short, captivating lede and then transition into more in-depth information.
- Creative leads are also encouraged! Play around with the language in the beginning of your piece to really engage the readers.
- Don’t forget that even broad national/international issues have local ramifications! Use that to your advantage to engage your audience.
- Generally speaking, avoid first person for these types of pieces.
Our culture section publishes pieces like reviews and other thoughtful critiques on culture today. We would like reviews to be around 500-700 words long.
Some things to keep in mind according to our culture editors:
- “What’s the point?” This is something that will be echoed in every section, but your article has to have a clearly stated argument or idea in it.
- If it’s a review, it’s best to lead off with whether the movie/book/album in question is good or not and support your stance accordingly. If it’s a deep dive into a trend, analysis or other topic, explain the relevance.
- “Know your shit before you talk shit!” Remain knowledgeable on the topic you’re talking about.
- Quickly searching up a key piece of info takes seconds, but looking like an idiot lasts longer.
- “Context is crucial.” This connects with the last two guidelines. Nothing in this world exists in a vacuum. Everything has been influenced by something else.
- Improve your work by taking notice of the connections in everything. Try guessing at the decisions that went behind the work.
- Does an actor fit into their genre or are they something else? Is this actress always cast in certain roles? These are the kinds of questions you should be thinking about.
- “Brevity is key.” Not every piece needs to be long unless the situation calls for it.
- Reviews should err on the short side at 500-700 words.
- Well-researched pieces can be as long as features, but should still maintain a good flow. Everything in moderation, including moderation.
Our opinions section publishes pieces that promote thoughtful and constructive opinions on any topic relevant to people today. We aim to publish pieces that are at least 400 words long.
Some things to keep in mind according to our opinions editor:
- Why should I care about the argument that you are making? How does this issue affect me? Clarify this ASAP in your piece. Go ahead. “Sell me this pen!”
- If you are able to, tell me why you, the writer, are somebody I should listen to on this topic. What makes you qualified?
- Opinion pieces should be objective yet personal. This means a few things:
- There is a difference between an op-ed and a Facebook rant! What this translates to is simply knowing what the hell you’re writing about and actually having something intelligent to say.
- Say, for example, you want to write an opinion piece about the latest Trump policy and why it’s bad. It’s easy to just write 5-6 paragraphs of “Trump is bad, and this policy is bad, and all who support him are bad.”
- That’s fine for your Tumblr blog, but in respectable media you need to have solid, factual evidence to back up your stance. Having an opinion means nothing if it’s not backed up by facts, rationality and logic. Do lots of research.
- You need to have a solid understanding of the other side of the argument. Acknowledge that it exists. Talk about it. The last thing you want is to have is your piece torn apart and debunked by readers from the opposing viewpoint, so maybe try to beat them to the punches. Make your argument as firm against scrutiny as possible.
- Keep context in mind when formulating your piece or when referencing something within the piece. Remember, context is everything.
- Don’t worry about feelings. Your opinion is your opinion and you standing by it should show within your writing. Don’t worry if a few people get offended along the way. Always be honest. Never pander. But don’t be racist or sexist or, like, weird, or karma will come for you.
Our news section covers anything with immediate relevance to our student body. This doesn’t just mean campus news, but stories on Suffolk County, Long Island, New York City and even the world.
We publish news pieces that are at least 600 words long. We publish news stories that present new angles and new information. News stories must have at least several sources with images or art to help tell the story.
Some things to keep in mind according to our news editor:
- Pieces should be concise. Say what you need to say and stop writing when you no longer need to.
- Stories should answer the “so what” question all throughout.
- Avoid using first or second person.
- Quotes should be meaningful and add something to your story.
- Be fair and make sure you reach out to other sides.
- Show, don’t tell. Imagery and description are much more powerful than telling your reader what to think. Let them come to their own conclusions about a person/event/other.
- Go beyond telling the reader what happened, when and where. Give them context, and look at the bigger picture.
- If you are covering politics or world news, try to connect it back to New York, Stony Brook or Long Island. Unfortunately, people are far less likely to care about something happening halfway around the world, so try to give people some connection to it. That being said, don’t stretch it.
The Press’ multimedia team is growing every semester. We have radio shows on WUSB Stony Brook, podcasts and video features. The multimedia section of our magazine is almost another entity in itself. So here are some simple guidelines we would like people to follow when pitching video or multimedia ideas.
- Pitch ideas in written or verbal form to the Multimedia Editors:
- What is your video about (in three sentences or less)?
- Who is your audience?
- What problem does your idea address?
- What value does your idea bring to the table?
- Basic storyboard or script (nothing too elaborate).
- Why should The Press invest in your content?
- What is your video about (in three sentences or less)?
- If approved — scheduling:
- Prep dates
- Film dates
- Editing dates
- Release date
Our Multimedia Team
Making a good video requires a lot of work. Our multimedia section is always looking for more members to help film, record, edit and cut video/audio. Each project we undertake usually requires two or three extra sets of hands to put it out in a timely fashion.
Anyone is welcome to join The Press’ multimedia team. Qualities we look for are strong work ethics and strong teamwork skills. Technical skills are not necessary in order to be considered, as long as you are willing to learn and at least help on two multimedia projects each semester.
Once you are a part of our team, we will reach out to you to work on projects assigned to you by multimedia editors and meet corresponding deadlines. Members of our team should usually be willing and able to commit anywhere from 3-5 hours a week for various projects.