Message #294:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Earth Guidelines for Prospective Writers
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 96 11:18:00 MST
Encoding: 116 TEXT

[If you wish to present southwestern archaeology to a popular audience, 
here is a venue you might consider -- SASIG Ed.]

From:  Diane Pinkalla
Our Editorial Mission:  Earth covers our world like no other magazine. With 
accessible articles, vivid illustrations and beautiful photographs, we take 
our readers on amazing journeys:  from frigid Antarctica to steamy Amazonia 
. . . from the giant crystal at the planet's center to the wispy edges of 
the atmosphere . . . and from Earth's earliest moments to its future.  In 
every issue, Earth presents the latest scientific discoveries about geology, 
ecology, the oceans, the atmosphere and the history of life. And Earth 
provides the science behind the headlines on critical issues of the day, 
including global environmental change and growing threats to biodiversity. 
 In short, Earth helps people understand our world and appreciate its 
wonders.  It's the only consumer magazine devoted to the science of our 
planet.  The magazine itself is the best guide to what Earth is about.  So 
please study two or more recent issues before querying us.  (It is available 
in many bookstores and public libraries.)

Our Editorial Profile:  We cover
*  Geology
*  Geophysics
*  Geological hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes
*  Atmospheric science including climate change, ozone loss and weather 
   phenomena such as tornadoes and hurricanes
*  Ocean sciences including circulation, pollution and some marine biology
*  Paleontology  including evolution and dinosaurs
*  Ecology including diversity conservation but usually not animal behavior.

We cover environmental topics but we're not an environmental magazine. Most 
stories that work for environmental magazines don't work for us.  We report 
on the efforts of scientists to understand and solve environmental problems, 
such as loss of biodiversity or the need for safe places to store nuclear 
waste.  We are much more likely to do an environmental story that's linked 
to geology or major global systems than one involving pollution of a 
particular body of water.  We do not cover the political side of 
environmental problems.  So, for example, we might run a story about 
research suggesting that old-growth forests are important to the ecological 
health of the planet.  But we would not print a story attacking the logging 
industry for not heeding these warnings.

We also publish "expedition" features that combine adventure travel with 
natural history.  Expedition pieces describe places through an exciting 
activity in a spectacular locale - rafting in the Grand Canyon, rock 
climbing in Yosemite Valley.  The writer must also explain why the place is 
so spectacular - how the Grand Canyon formed, what produced Yosemite's 
granite walls.  The science must be presented in a sophisticated manner for 
fairly knowledgeable readers, and it must fit seamlessly within the travel 
narrative.  It is essential that photos of the place be available, either 
from you or stock houses.

Our Readers:  Earth's readership is eclectic.  It includes scientists and 
non-scientists, mountaineers and day hikers, teachers and students, fossil 
collectors and people who wouldn't know a dinosaur bone if it hit them in 
the face, dedicated environmentalists and devotees of Rush Limbaugh.  The 
one thing that unites them is their keen interest in learning about our 
world, from the top of the atmosphere to the very center of the planet.

Reporting and Writing Guidelines:  You must interview several sources who do 
not all work together so that you can accurately describe the scientific 
context in which individual research findings are made.  Do not describe one 
group of scientists' point of view and leave out the views of an equally 
respected group that thinks the opposite.  Instead, convince us - and the 
readers - that the story is a reliable account given by someone with a full 
familiarity of the subject matter.

We are not the Scientific American of earth science.  Our goal is not to 
convey "information units."  Instead, we entertain readers as we exercise 
their minds.  Our stories must work on an emotional level as well as on an 
intellectual one.  We do this by using a strong narrative style to tell 
well-focused stories with a beginning, middle and end.  Formulaic writing is 
not what we're looking for, but most  feature articles should include a lede 
that entices readers into the piece and a traditional billboard or nut graf 
that tells readers where  the story is going.

Writing Opportunities:  For our feature assignments, we generally prefer 
established journalists who have a solid track record writing longer 
articles.  We also frequently assign features to scientists who have 
something interesting to say.

If you have not contributed to Earth before, your best bet might be to start 
with news stories.  These explain single pieces of research.  Sources for 
good news stories include major scientific journals, scientific conferences 
and good, old-fashioned reporting.  The pieces should be close to 400 words. 
 Query first, though.

We also have a variety of departments in the back of the book that are a 
good proving ground for beginning writers.  These include our Earth Shots, 
Books and Reviews columns.

When querying us, please include examples of your past work and also a list 
of publications in which your writing has appeared.  We recommend sending 
two pieces:  your favorite and one that comes closest to fitting our 

Submitting Material:  It is always better to send us a query instead of a 
complete manuscript.  You're more likely to get a quick decision that way. 
Include a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you want anything returned. 
Mailed manuscripts are acknowledged, usually by a post card.

When you are ready to send a manuscript - We prefer an electronic copy, 
either by e-mail or on diskette with a high-quality printout.  We use 
Microsoft Word on Macintoshes but can accept any Mac or IBM (plus clones) 
diskette with the file saved in ASCII format.  If  you cannot send an 
electronic version, a typed, double-spaced letter-quality manuscript that we 
can scan is acceptable.  Faxes are not scanable, but you may fax your 
manuscript if a diskette is being mailed.

Please send initial correspondence, manuscripts, and all subsequent drafts 
(even if you have already begun working with an editor) to Diane Pinkalla, 
Editorial Assistant, 21027 Crossroads Circle, Waukesha WI 53186-4055.  Fax 
(414) 796-1142.  E-mail