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From the Listerver: Journal and Magazine articles - 10/20/2009 -

Your colleagues discuss the differences between journal and magazine articles.

Q. Does anyone have a handy one-pager describing the difference between a journal and a magazine? I'm looking for something I can share with potential authors that gets at the differences in how you craft a magazine article vs. a journal article. We have many potential authors from higher education who can't let go of things like passive voice, extensive references, and deadly dull leads.

A. Sometimes it's easier to make a point by showing rather than telling (or both!). With that in mind, in addition to providing author guidelines (the tell piece), I would provide prospective authors an excerpt of an article that you think is pretty much exactly what you're hoping other authors will achieve (the show piece). You could even annotate the components of the article that make it so effective.

Ann Mahoney, Director of Publishing, PM Magazine, International City/County Management Association

A. At the risk of sounding like a school teacher, ask them to 'pretend' they are writing a letter to a friend or a story for NPR, something they would like to hear on the radio or read in a dentist's office—just to give the idea that you want interesting stories, not peer-review manuscripts.

Pam Day, Managing Editor, Aviation, Space, & Environmental Medicine, Aerospace Medical Association

A. Boy, do I feel your pain! I have posted author guidelines on our website and directed would-be writers there and supplied published examples of "just what we're looking for.” Academics, unfortunately, still don't always get it. We very often end up "tweaking” an article so our readers can understand it and enjoy it, while still keeping the author's voice and meaning. We have even had to rewrite openings submitted from professional writers to make sure the text is interesting and accurate. It's a hazard of the trade, I suppose.

Scheryl McDavid, Publications Director,
AATCC Review, American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists


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