Writers guidelines

Here’s a quick guide to writing for Insights

Try to be accurate and informative and remember to answer: who, what, when, where, why and how.

Put the most important information in the opening paragraphs. These lead paragraphs should be clear, uncomplicated and brief. They should state the main point of the story and its significance. Later paragraphs will be used for elaboration and background material which can be cut easily from the end of the story if necessary.

Keep your sentences short and crisp.

Use active verbs and avoid heavy, passive constructions.

Make it interesting by using facts and figures, illustrative examples or cases, analogies and quotations (direct quotations make a story more credible and are also useful for breaking up blocks of print; but always use them only if the actual words have been spoken; and make clear who is being quoted and their position).

Double-check unusual or difficult names and words.

In situations of disagreement both sides may have views that deserve to be reported: try to be balanced.

Timeliness

Insights is a monthly magazine and does not have an immediate news emphasis. Nevertheless, the date is important information. And currency makes more interesting reading, even in a monthly.

Topicality

Stories should come from or relate to the Uniting Church in Australia, and preferably in NSW or the ACT. That does not mean they have to be “churchy” but should focus on issues or events that will affect church members in a particular/peculiar/specific way. If the significance of the story is not obvious it should be stated.

Profiles

Prominent people (church leaders, politicians) usually make easy subjects. Members of congregations can also be prominent or interesting in their own way, however — look for the people angle.

Human interest can be worked into a story by making the links between the readers and the subjects of the story. In the process, the story hopefully will develop the readers’ understanding of an issue.

Explain all jargon and unfamiliar terms if their use is unavoidable.

Preparation and submission of articles

We prefer to receive your story by email.

Feature Articles

Insights only rarely accommodates unsolicited contributions from freelance writers. If you wish to contribute a feature story — whether for a fee or otherwise — it is wise to contact us first. Stories vary in length (600-1,500 words). Appropriate subjects: profiles of interesting Uniting Church people, programs and activities; issues of current concern to the church; ways in which individuals and families express their Christian faith in significant ways or relate their faith to the problems of society. Most articles have some direct relevance to a Uniting Church or Christian audience; however, Insights also seeks well-informed articles written for a general audience that can help individuals and families cope with the stresses of daily living from a Christian perspective.

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