Submission Guidelines for the defenestrator:
Consider our general principles. We’re anti-authoritarian, anti-racist, non-religious and about class struggle. If you’re considering writing a defense of the democratic party or a Jesus inspired rant, this would probably be the wrong place.
This may depend somewhat on the type of piece you’re writing – see below – but in general articles are less than 1500 words. Shorter pieces have a better chance of inclusion/publication. If you're planning on submitting an article longer than 2000 words, pleas send us a proposal first.
We’re thirsty for local news.
If you’re involved in local struggles of any kind, we’d like to hear from you.
We have deadlines! We are trying to move towards a definite quarterly schedule – autumn, winter, spring, summer - for the paper, instead of our past sporadic publication style. One of our hopes is that this will make it easier for potential submissions as you can find out ahead when deadlines are.
More specific guidelines:
Think of readers as people like yourself who are interested in grassroots struggle, directly-democratic, non-hierarchical processes, direct action for social change, etc. Don’t talk up or down to your audience. Writing should be accessible, but not simplistic (as with revolutionary struggles, it’s important to consciously grapple with the complexities of the issues). This isn’t an academic journal, but it’s also not the Metro. Your perspective on the issue is important. It’s your voice.
Speak to the People: Meaning not just your crew who know specialized movement slang. Avoid specific references to events or groups without explainations. Spell out the first instance of acronyms with the possible exception of FBI, USA or ROTFL. Always ask: "Will Grandma understand my article?"
Columns: A column on a local or global issue should include a clear context (the who, when, where, what, why and how of the issue), and be concise. Why is the issue, topic newsworthy? Issues that aren’t covered (or covered well – fairly and accurately) warrant more attention.
Feature articles: A feature article might go over 2000 words, but should be worthy of the space it takes up. This might include a theoretical piece which grapples with an issue relevant for more in-depth consideration: a contemporary anti-capitalist struggle, a debate over tactics or process, an anti-capitalist perspective on an issue such as the financial crisis, immigration, the workplace, feminism, the prison industry, etc.
Book/Film Reviews: Book reviews should do just that – really review the book – the reader needs to know the book’s context, what it’s about, where it fits in, why it’s important to consider. Besides summarizing the book’s contents, you should have a thesis: are you recommending the book? Do you have reservations about it? Is some, but not all, of the book useful/relevant? Use quotes and specific examples from the book/film to show your points of analysis and criticism. The reader should be able to distinguish between the book’s author’s views and yours (the reviewer). A book review is not a book report, where you simply say what a book is about, you are offering your perspective on the book for the reader’s consideration.
Interviews: Interviews should not “lead” the interviewee into a particular answer/something that suits your agenda. For example, “Do you think the Revolutionary Communist Party are a bunch of wingnuts?” English Writing handbooks (Diane Hacker on-line is good) offer suggestions for conducting interviews. Figure out what you want to ask and why (what are you trying to learn/figure out) prior to the interview. The focus is on the interviewee, not the interviewer. Questions shouldn’t be longer than answers. Include background info on the interviewee, and, if necessary, rearrange the interview for clarity, or to bring issues/themes into focus. The interviewee should be able to review the interview (out of fairness) before it’s submitted.
Revisions: If we feel the material/article needs further work, we will: e-mail you with suggestions – which you can, of course, reject or argue with, or we will make minor modification/changes and send it to you for approval.
Specs: It saves us a lot of work to have all contributions typed up and emailed to us. Please stick to relatively conventional formats (.odt, .doc, .rtf, .txt, please not a pdf). Stick to the very most basic formatting and don't indent paragraphs.
Be sure to include a title for the piece, your desired byline and whether or not to include your contact info for publication (please include email/phone contact info for our use regardless).
Articles longer than 2500 words probably won't make it in without getting butchered, at least somewhat. We often put articles we don't publish up on the defenestrator site and/or philly indymedia.
Images: Best format for images is a TIF file at 150 dpi or higher. Also ok are jpg, png or gif files at 150 dpi minimum. Name the images decriptively (eg.: hunger_strikers.tif) and include one line max captions for each photo specifying the name of the file they belong to.