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Writing for the BlueRibbon Coalition

INTRODUCTION

If you're reading this, then it's likely that you are interested in submitting an article for consideration to be published in the BlueRibbon Coalition webzine, the premier site for recreation access issues.

Whether your submission is accepted or not, just by submitting it, you become a vital part of the BlueRibbon family of writers. If it doesn't get published, we'll try to let you know why. The important thing is to keep trying.

These guidelines are here to help you meet the criteria of publication, so that your article DOES get accepted. Just by reading this document, you've moved your submission a long ways toward success!

NON-PROFIT STATUS

Before you begin a writing project for the BlueRibbon Coalition, it should be clearly understood that, in keeping with our non-profit status, it's a rare occasion when we can pay for articles.

NOW FROM THE LAWYERS

By submitting materials, photographs and other content to the BlueRibbon Coalition (Hereafter referred to as BRC) for publication, you the copyright holder, affirm the right of BRC to republish and redistribute this content in perpetuity. No additional rights are claimed by BRC upon the content beyond this, all such rights - such as the right of republication by a third party -- being retained by the author.

THE DECISION IS FINAL

The decision on which stories are accepted is left to our editor, Michael Patty. Although he's willing to work with the author of a submission to fix any issues, in the end, his decision is final.

RULES

1. THE NUMBER ONE RULE

Of all the rules we are going to outline herein, this is the big one.

• YOUR SUBMISSION MUST PERTAIN IN SOME WAY TO RECREATION

Preferably, it should be about recreation on public lands. While we do support the concept of private recreational areas (and the use of private land for authorized, responsible recreation), BRC is primarily focused on keeping PUBLIC lands open to recreationists of all types. If you want to write about a private ATV park in your area, for example, we might accept it depending on how commercial it is (see RULE NUMBER TWO).

2. RULE NUMBER TWO

Please try to avoid commercializing your article.

We're fine with mentioning sponsors and recognizing corporate support, but as a non-profit organization, IRS rules and regulations are very specific regarding anything that clearly and directly sells a product. We have, in the past, endorsed certain product groups and formed partnerships with many generous companies while remaining within these IRS guidelines. But this is all done outside the usual editorial channels. We don't deal with that here.

3. DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!

Not that you would, but we are obliged to say that under no circumstances should you ever use someone else's words or writing and claim it as your own. Any use of material from another person or entity should be clearly indicated as a quote, and should be properly attributed. Such material should never comprise the larger party of the work of which they were originally part.

If you want a clearer picture of what constitutes plagiarism, pay a visit to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism).

4. AVOID RANTS & TOPICS THAT ARE INSENSITIVE

BRC has a tough job walking the narrow path between being sensitive to environmental, sound and safety issues and fighting for our recreational access. We've built up a lot of capital with land managers and agencies for promoting responsible recreation, and we guard that reputation closely.

  • KEEP IT COOL AND PROFESSIONAL
  • AVOID CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES THAT DON'T PERTAIN TO RECREATION
  • MAKE YOUR ARGUMENTS REASONABLE
  • PROPOSE USEFUL SOLUTIONS
  • AVOID NAME-CALLING--FOCUS ON THE ISSUES, NOT THE PERSON
  • ALWAYS BE RESPECTFUL OF AGENCIES, OFFICIALS & POLITICIANS

5. DO NOT PROMOTE A POLITICAL PARTY, AGENDA OR CANDIDATE

We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. As such, we cannot get directly involved in political elections, candidates or political promotion of any kind.

This doesn't mean you can't submit an article about specific legislation that is bad (or good) for recreation. Rather, we are talking about electioneering which is strictly prohibited by the IRS. That means, as an organization, we need to be very careful not to in any way endorse or oppose any political candidate or party. While we can and should tell people to "get out and vote," we cannot tell them who to vote for.

GUIDELINES

1. DIGITAL SUBMISSIONS

Send your submissions via email to:

brsubmissions@sharetrails.org

2. SUBMISSIONS BY REGULAR MAIL

Send your submissions to:

The BlueRibbon Coalition, Submissions
4555 Burley Drive, Suite A
Pocatello, ID 83202

3. LENGTH

Submissions can be any length, but the best target to shoot for as far as improving your odds of acceptance is somewhere between 400 and 1,500 words.

4. FORMATTING

All decisions on formatting will be made by BRC's editor. Beyond the basic formatting (bolding and italicizing), formatting is best avoided. Use italics for emphasis, publication titles (all publication titles should be italicized) and optionally for lengthy quoting. Underlining should be avoided. Please leave the rest of the formatting (tabs, font selection, etc) to our editorial staff.

5. FILE FORMAT

All submissions should be in .DOC format, .DOCX format, .TXT format or .RTF format. Do not paste your submission at the bottom of your email. Add it as an attachment. Photos should be attached as digital images (.EPS, .JPEG, .TIFF, or .PNG).

6. PHOTOS

Having at least one or two photos with your submission will greatly improve its chances of being accepted. We simply can't stress this enough! If you are writing a commentary/opinion piece, you should also include a photo of yourself. Photos accompanying the article should have the main subject of the image in clear focus and at a sizeable ratio to the rest of the background.

IMPORTANT! If the photos were not taken by you, then be sure to include the name and contact information of the individual who did, along with written permission (or emailed permission originating from the copyright holder) for the BlueRibbon Coalition to publish or re-publish the images.

7. PHOTO QUALITY

The higher the resolution the better. Web quality photos are often barely useable. Preferably, your image should be at least 1500 pixels across. This size allows us to resize the images as needed for the medium. We will accept lower resolution images, but again, it's all about improving your chances of acceptance.

8. CAPTIONS

Each photo should be accompanied with a caption, describing Who, What and Where. If we have no idea what's happening in a photo, we likely can't use it.

9. TRAIL STORIES...

...should include a description of how to get there, and highlights of important or enjoyable locations. Photos are a requirement for trail ride stories, and any such story should include at least three such photos, preferably five or more.

We look forward to seeing your submissions. Thanks in advance for being a vital part of the BlueRibbon team!