Want to submit something to IMPACT press?

Well, we can work that out. And, there is the possibility we may print it. We rarely assign topics (however, ask us if there's anything we're looking for). Most writers come to IMPACT with an idea in mind. The best way to know what kind of topics or articles we're into is to actually read some of the articles we have printed. There are plenty to choose from online.

There are 5 main kinds of articles we run:
Journalistic guidelines

Cover stories: These range from 2000 to 4000 words (longer in special cases) and address a topic of major concern. A cover story must have: at least one original source (via phone interview, emails, face-to face meeting, etc.), preferably multiple sources. If only one source is used, then additional, secondary sources such as the Internet and/or print media, etc. may be used for corroboration and to present the other side. However, if secondary sources are used, additional care should be taken to balance the viewpoint. Also, such sources must be recent, current publications and should be cross-checked for accuracy from one to another, making sure to use opposing sources.

For example, Oil Drilling in Big Cypress is Bad for the Everglades might be a good, controversial topic. If multiple sources are used, then the heads of the local chapter of the Sierra Club and Audubon Society plus an Okeechobee County environmental manager would be a great mix. Another, better mix might be two of the above plus a spokesperson for the oil company. These people would, more than likely, all be accessible and all be happy to talk, because that's their job.

If, for some reason, the writer could only get the Sierra Club person to talk, then secondary sources might include Audubon newsletters, Outside Magazine columns, a publication from the oil company, and published comments by pro and con political leaders.

Except in extremely special circumstances, anonymous sources may not be used. "White House aides" is not a quotable source. It must be "White House aide John Doakes", unless the quote is so inflammatory that it might get John fired or something. In that case, the source name and contact information must be provided to the editor in order to make sure that the writer actually spoke to him or her and that the source is credible.

Features: Range from 1000-2500 words (some flexibility). At least one original source, preferably, or cross-checked, recent, multiple print sources. Similar to a cover story, but not as detailed, and a little more flexibility (but solid journalistic standards still apply).

Opinion: No sources are necessary, as this is opinion. However, care should be taken to support opinion with fact; at the very least, the writer should have enough background to have the writer's opinion considered credible.

Humor/Satire: No more than a page (600-1000 words), should probably focus on political, cultural, or social issue. In most cases, profanity should, at most, only be used occasionally and for special effect. This isn't due to Puritanism, but because it's an over-used device that has become a tedious and poor substitute for actual wit.

Journalistic Guidelines
A word on timeliness of published secondary sources. Sources should usually be as recent as possible. On those occasions when, for example, the writer uses 1993 articles about a Zapatist Mexican community, for example, an original source must confirm that the conditions described are still current.

Original sources do not have to be high profile political figures or well-known experts. You don't have to have F. Lee Bailey discuss a civil rights issue, a Hoboken civil rights attorney will probably do, and probably be livelier, anyway. You don't have to talk to Osama bin Laden, the teacher of Islamic culture at the local community college is an expert in the field, and probably a pretty colorful speaker.

Stories do not have to present a balanced point of view. However, they should present both sides of an issue. A writer might use an oil exec to contrast with, or provide a springboard for the Sierra Club president, for example. However, IMPACT writers should recognize and respect that there are at least two sides to an issue and make it a point, even if only for the sake of argument, to mention the other side's arguments.

The Cover and Features guidelines assume the writer is a journalist. However, in some cases, the writer may be a bona fide, certified expert. For example, if a County Environmental Manager with a Doctorate or Masters in his field and fifteen years experience in managing Everglades-area natural resources submits a story, the writer is considered expert enough to not require additional sources.

One important thing to remember with IMPACT is that we have a very diverse readership -- all ages, sexes, races. So it is very important that you are writing your piece to be digested by all types of people. What may seem clear to you may need to be more clear for someone else. Don't assume anything about your audience's knowledge of a topic. However, don't write to them like they're stupid, either; it's a fine line.

IMPACT does not censor language, but at the same time please do not take advantage of this. We also avoid editing for content. We do, however, edit for grammar and spelling. Try your best to write with proper grammar and check your spelling twice.

If you have something written and you want to submit it, please email it to us as an attached file. Or, feel free to mail it to us on disk (PMB 361, 10151 University Blvd., Orlando, FL 32817). Make sure any submitted files are IBM format. We can accept just about any IBM word processor format (preferably WORD 95/6.0). Please make sure to include your name, email address and if you want to include your ph#, feel free.

If you have further questions, write us.