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Writer's Guidelines

Editorial policy

Authors are strongly encouraged to contact Jennifer Ackerman (jackerman@primacentral.org), editor, to discuss the topic of their article before writing an article for Public Risk.

Public Risk publishes articles from many sources--PRIMA members, risk managers, vendors, corporate partners and more. Please note that submission of an articles does NOT guarantee its publication in the magazine. Also, placing a paid advertisement in Public Risk also does NOT guarantee publication of vendor-penned articles. Articles are chosen based on their quality, content and applicability to PRIMA's member needs. Contact Jennifer Ackerman with questions or for more information.

Also, don't refer to private sector companies by name: positive references can be construed as free advertising, while negative references can be libelous. If you feel your article warrants an exception, please call the editorial staff to discuss it.

Length

Feature articles are between 1,200 and 2,000 words.

Format

Save all files as text-only Microsoft Word.
Number charts and graphs with Roman numerals and refer to them by that numeral within the copy.

Remove:

  • hard returns, unless to indicate paragraph
  • headers and footers
  • multiple spaces or tabs used to line up type
  • multiple columns

Audience

Your audience is likely familiar with risk management concepts but needs more hands-on information.

Be evocative and descriptive. For example, to describe a humid day, you can say, "When I walked outside, it was humid and the air was thick." Or you could say, " When I walked outside, I started breathing soup." The first example states a fact; the second paints a picture.

Pepper your article with your successes and trials, case studies, lawsuit results or a historical perspective to catch and keep readers' attention. Include technical material; avoid jargon.

Structure

Make each word count.
Begin with a general overview of the subject (2-3 paragraphs) and lead into a step-by-step review of the issue.

Include a suggested headline and subheads to highlight significant sections.
Present details as "bulleted" checklists, facts, figures and recommended actions.
Use resource lists and sidebars for more information, models and samples.

Style

Write in active language, putting your subjects before your objects. (Instead of writing, "The plan was approved by our department," write: "Our department approved the plan.") Active voice reduces excess words and gives writing momentum.

  • Direct the article to a typical risk manager.
  • Write in the first person if you're discussing your entity.
  • Present all sides of a controversial issue.

You can interview other risk managers, entity officials, legislators, association executives, special-interest groups representatives or independent researchers to enhance your article.

Artwork

Label illustrations such as tables, charts, graphs or photographs.
Photographs should be clear, sharp and have good contrast. We will return them once the issue is printed.

Editing

Public Risk uses Associated Press style. We make minor editing changes, such as correcting grammar or rewording some sentences. Sometimes we need to rearrange paragraphs or delete sections that don't apply to our readers. And sometimes we may edit for length, even if your article was within our guidelines. We strive to retain both your article's meaning and your "author's voice." If we have questions, we'll call you before we make changes.

Submissions

Please send all correspondence, queries and articles to the editor via email whenever possible. Attachments should be saved as text-only or Microsoft Word files.

Editor: Jennifer Ackerman
Phone: 703.253.1267
Fax: 703.739.0200
E-mail: jackerman@primacentral.org