Writing Guidelines

Writing Guidelines

Writing guidelines for submitting articles to the Atlantic Union GLEANER

Who Should Write for the GLEANER?

  • Anyone can pitch an article idea for the GLEANER.
  • We are particularly interested in articles from our youth and young adults.
  • Each church, school, or institution should have a designated communication director/leader through which all information is submitted.
  • If there isn’t a spokesperson, then the individual doing the writing must have permission from the pastor, principal, or leader of the group in order to submit articles. This protects the writer, the group the individual represents, and the credibility of the GLEANER.

What Types of Articles Should be Submitted?

Below is a menu of some of the types of articles that can be submitted.

  • Stories that include ideas to encourage church growth.
  • Stories with unique program ideas that have been tried in your church.
  • Stories that involve children and youth. These can include conversion stories, stories of their involvement in service to the church or community, to name a few.
  • Stories of individuals who have had some type of trying experience and found help in the Lord and/or in the love and support of fellow members.
  • Stories of thanksgiving and praise. It could be for prayers answered or unexpected blessings, etc.
  • Stories that happen only once in the life of the church. These include groundbreaking events or new additions for churches/schools, openings of new community service centers, and church dedications.
  • Stories about church members who have received public recognition for their many years of service to the church or community.

Keep in Mind

  • The stories should be interesting and relevant for all readers.
  • They need to be specific about the individual, event, or program being written about.
  • Stories should accurately represent the church, school, or other church-related group.
  • Try to include quotes from individuals.
  • Stories can be submitted in English, French, or Spanish. The English translation should accompany all articles submitted in French and Spanish.

When Should Articles Be Submitted?

It is important that articles be submitted immediately after an event has taken place. This will ensure that the magazine is relatively current with information. Every committee formed to plan events should always include a communication person to make sure someone is assigned to cover the event and given a date when the article should be completed and submitted.

Where Should Articles Be Submitted?

  • All articles should first be submitted to the local church communication leader/director or the designated person in the schools or other entities.
  • The local church communication leader/director or the designated person is responsible for forwarding the information to the communication director in the conference who will then review what has been submitted, determine if it is material that should be submitted for publication in the GLEANER, edit it, and forward it to the GLEANER office.

How Should Articles Be Submitted?

  • Word files attached to e-mail messages are the most common way articles are received. Make sure only the article is included in the file.
  • Photos should be submitted separately.
  • Keep your story simple.
  • Limit the story to 250 words or fewer.
  • Answer the questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? and Why? within the first two paragraphs. (See tips on writing news stories.)
  • Identify each person in the story by first and last name and identify the role or title of each person you name to show their connection to the story.
  • Identify the story’s author by providing the author’s name and title.
  • Include contact information such as an e-mail address and a phone number in case clarification on a story is needed.

How to Submit Photographs

Photographs are an important element in making the magazine more attractive and interesting to the reader, so care should be taken when choosing photos to send. (See Photography Guidelines.)

Check the setting on your digital camera.

When taking photos to be used in print, set the digital camera on the highest setting for quality and size. The result will be a photo with high resolution for print.

Sending photo from cell phones or iPads

When sending photos from cell phones or iPads, please be sure to select the largest size when the option box pops up asking what size photo you want. It will ensure that the largest size photo is submitted.

Take time to create a well-composed photo.

Take a little time to compose each picture. Photos should be clear, sharp, attractive, and of good composition. They should illustrate some kind of action in the story—not posed.

Check to make sure you have the best lighting possible.

Check the lighting before you take your photo. When using a flash, make sure you know the flash range. Photos taken beyond the maximum range of your flash will be too dark. You may have to use a flash outdoors to eliminate shadows caused by the bright sun. Avoid windows and mirrors in the background; they could create unwanted glare.

Include vertical photos.

Many photos we receive are taken horizontally. That can, at times, be a challenge, especially when it is a photo we want to use on the cover. So, when photographing events, plan to also include some well-composed vertical shots. Who knows, your photo might just end up on the cover!

Remember to include captions with each photo.

Keep in mind that many of our readers did not attend the event. Share a sentence or two of what is happening in the photo and when including names, make sure you provide the first and last name of each individual (unless the group is too large). Also, be sure to verify that their names are spelled correctly.

The photographer should sign his or her work.

The photographer’s name is just as important as the writer’s name. In order to give credit to the photographers who are sending us their photos, be sure to include their names.

Secure the proper releases.

Be sure to obtain the proper releases especially when minors are being photographed or individuals in institutions where permission must be granted before photos are taken.