Writing your article

Include the 5 journalistic W’s: Who, What, When, Where and Why, and sometimes How. Please keep committee articles to 350 words or, preferably, fewer. Announcements should be no more than half a column (150 words). Nonessential verbiage will be edited to make room for additional articles. Since headlines are set in a larger font, the longer your headline, the shorter your article can be.

To keep articles concise, please organize your thoughts. What’s most important? How much of what you’re saying is your mind processing your ideas, and how much is vital to the article? Remember that this is a newsletter, not a magazine. Not many people are going to be interested in the innermost workings of your committee. Since people other than committee members may read your article, find a way to tell readers how your article applies to them. Put the most important information first, then supporting thoughts. That way, if the editor has to cut the length of your article, they can then omit the last sentence or last paragraph without losing crucial data.

Send articles not posters or flyers. Articles have full, complete, grammatical sentences arranged in an orderly, logical fashion.

Formatting

Formatting beyond punctuating and putting one (and only one) hard return at the end of each paragraph (and only at the end of each paragraph) creates extra work for the editor. Do not use tabs, centering, etc. You may use italics and bold where appropriate, but if they are not appropriate they will be removed. Don’t put anything in ALL CAPS or any other unusual font. No matter what font you submit your article in, it will always come out in Times 12, so format it that way and you’ll see what it will eventually look like. All articles will be translated into the standard style of the newsletter including the standard font and type size, no exceptions.

Do not capitalize at random or put words in quotations marks unless it is a quotation or a title. If you have a bulleted or numbered list, use the word processor’s internal format for it so that the editor can easily replace them in the page layout software. If you try to simulate a bulleted or numbered list, the editor has to manually remove all of that formatting bit-by-bit whereas if you use the word processor’s formatting, replacement is a single step.

There is only one space after a period. Two spaces was the standard in typewriter days, but it hasn’t been the standard in decades. Get used to it.

An example of the proper form for a date and time is: Saturday, January 31, at 10:25 a.m. Note the comma after the day of the week and the date, the lack of a year (unless it is not the current year) and the space before and periods in “a.m.” and “p.m.” (since they are abbreviations) which are lower case. The day and month are never abbreviated. Don’t use the “th” or “rd” at the ends of dates.

Don’t abbreviate words that I must then spell out as I may not know what the abbreviation means. If you are using the acronym for a committee, give the full name at least once with the acronym in parenthesis afterwards (e.g. Social Action Committee (SAC)). Don’t assume everyone knows all of the acronyms.

Details

  • Never use square brackets [ ] or braces { }, always parentheses ( ).
  • Don’t use the ampersand & for “and.”
  • Don’t use “s/he,” “he/she” or “he or she”; instead substitute “they.” It’s grammatically correct to use as third-person singular indefinite, has been used since Shakespeare’s time, and is much less clunky.
  • Exclamation points (!) lose their value if overused. I try to limit them to one per issue and will remove most.
  • The names of works (books, movies, etc.) are rendered in italics. The names of sections with in a work (short stories, articles, etc.) are set off with “quotation marks.”
  • Punctuation always come inside quotation marks. That may be illogical, but it’s the rule in American English.
  • When giving a phone number, add the (707) if that is the area code. In the past I said not to, but it is now required for dialing in the area.
  • Do not include the date, time or place of an event in the headline. I will remove it. You want the reader to have a reason to read the article and the headlines need to be brief.
  • Some trite phrases will always be axed from your article, such as: “Come one come all,” “Everyone is invited,” “Mark your calendar,” “Save the day.” This has been the policy for at least the last three editors, so those phrases probably haven’t been in the newsletter for fifteen years or more.

Submitting

Send your articles via email to newsletter@huuf.org and only to this email address. Newsletter emails sent to a personal account will be deleted. This is necessary because more than one person may edit the newsletter and all personnel on the editorial staff must have access to the emails in that account. Do not send forwarded emails as they contain formatting that is difficult to remove. Hard copy is absolutely not accepted (I’m an editor, not a typist). I will respond that I have received your article. If you do not receive such a response within 24 hours of the deadline, assume that your message has not been received and send it again.

Sending articles in plain text is preferred. The easiest way is to type your article directly into your email or to cut and paste it from your word processor into your email. While I can accept attached articles in standard word processor formats, I will, in general, extract the text and remove all formatting. I have no means to extract the text from .pdf or .pages files and submissions in these formats will be rejected. Graphics should be sent as attachments in .jpg format if possible but other formats may be usable. Graphics embedded in word processor documents are problematic and may not be used.

Please sign your article. Anonymous articles are not accepted. Submissions must be received on or before 5 p.m. on the 20th of each month. Inserts must be received on or before 5 p.m. on the 19th of the month. No exceptions without prior approval. The newsletter is not published in July.

Editing

An editor edits. Your article will not necessarily go in as written. The usual reasons to edit are punctuation and length, but sometimes cohesion and logic require fine-tuning. I strive to make the newsletter readable for the widest audience and, as such, retain the right to make substitutions for language that is unclear, imprecise, or non-standard. I edit everyone, so don’t take it personally. Edited articles will not be returned for comment because I have only a few hours between the deadline and the time the newsletter must go to the printer.

 

Thanks.

Stephen Sottong