Contributor Guidelines

Contributor Guidelines and Details

Who may submit a story:

UNM students, faculty and staff, as well as alumni and other UNM stakeholders, may submit stories for publication at the UNM News website. Every work and story idea that aspiring contributors submit to UNM News will not be published, as only those works that we deem newsworthy and doable will be accepted and published on our site.  UNM News does not pay for stories at this time.

All stories should be carefully written to ensure against inaccuracies, potentially libelous contents, and false light and other invasions of privacy.  Also contributors must have copyright clearance for any materials that will be submitted as their work, though URL links can be submitted with a story to reference third-party work already published and available on the Internet.  UNM News will make contributors sign a copyright agreement granting UNM News non-exclusive permission to publish their work.

Contributors who are not familiar with online journalism and web publishing, particularly publishing with WordPress software, and are willing to work with UNM News to organize their contents should contact Dr. Richard Schaefer, (Schaefer@unm.edu) who will either respond to submitters directly or assign a UNM News student staffer to work with the contributor to prepare the story for publication on the UNM News Website.

Contributors will be required to provide detailed information about themselves and all their sources for fact-checking and authentication purposes.

Types of stories most likely to be published:

All stories should be of interest to members of the UNM community, and submitted stories and parts of stories may be repurposed for other news stories and various UNM News affiliated social media outlets and Internet-based journalism distribution.  Obviously, since UNM News does not have full-time staffers working for it, timely and breaking news stories are difficult for us to produce on deadline.  However, insightful journalism about ongoing issues and less time-sensitive “evergreen” stories about interesting people and trends, as well as stories that can be tied to a news peg a few weeks away, make for ideal UNM News content.

Style of submitted stories:

UNM News wants news stories covered and written in an objective style – stories clearly-backed up by verifiable facts, written in third person and citing or quoting named sources.  Ideally, contributor stories will convey to readers that there may be more than one perspective about contentious issues, and give audience members sufficient information to further investigate those perspectives.  We will not publish diatribes and polemical pieces, and strongly prefer stories written in objective style that conform to the stylistic conventions of the Associated Press Stylebook.

While UNM News is very interested in interpretive pieces that provide context to the news that are also written in an objective, journalistic style.  We may occasionally publish opinion pieces or whimsical op-ed and blog-type pieces, but this is not a niche UNM News is attempting to mine.

Contributors who are familiar with web publishing may want to format their own story using WordPress software.  If you are a journalism or strategic communication major or someone who publishes material via the Internet and wants to stylistically control the look of the story, let us know that you are familiar with WordPress formatting when you make your inquiry.

Formatting stories for UNM News:

UNM News will review contributions sent as MS Word files, Quicktime movie files, and various other multimedia format files.  We will also re-publish work that contributors have already recently published on the Internet, either by creating a new version of the story or by creating a new description of it, and then linking to the previously-published version of it.

Printed work can be submitted as MS Word attachments, with photos inserted into the MS Word file or sent as attachments.  UNM News can handle jpg, tif and psd photo extensions, as well as other file formats.  Provide captions with any photos.  Try to keep all email-submitted files and attachments under 50MB.  If the submission is larger than 50MB, as many multimedia and video submissions will be, it should be submitted to our file-sharing account.  UNM News uses Minus file sharing service, which is free.  After reviewing your initial inquiry we will send instructions on how to sign up and put your file into our Minus folder.  If you prefer, you may send a data-formatted CD or DVD to UNM News to the Department of Communication & Journalism, MSC03 2240, 1 Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001.  We generally do not accept submissions with files larger than 2GB.

Contributors need to give UNM News non-exclusive rights to publish their work and attest to its accuracy and legal appropriateness:

UNM News makes every effort to comply with copyright law.  Therefore, it requires contributors and their co-authors and all other content creators to read and sign the UNM News CONTRIBUTOR AGREEMENT (12-12)before UNM News will publish their work on its website.  The agreement grants UNM News and its affiliated social media distribution outlets non-exclusive rights to publish the work and parts of the work; guarantees that the contributor created and has rights to the work; and the material is accurate, not libelous and does not invade the privacy of portrayed people or organizations.  Contributors who sign this agreement and publish material through UNM News may also publish it elsewhere without seeking any further permission from UNM News.  Since UNM News publishes under the “Creative Commons” copyright, granting UNM News such rights also means that other non-commercial users have permission to re-use and re-publish the work, provided they attribute the work to the original author(s) and use it for non-commercial purposes.

Three steps for submitting material:

1.  Send your work or a detailed proposal to Schaefer@unm.edu for consideration.  Include the format of your work (e.g.:  MS Word, QuickTime 720×480, WordPress page) and your most frequently used email address and phone numbers so someone from UNM News can contact you in a timely manner.  If UNM News is interested in a contributor’s story, it will assign a UNM News staffer to work with the contributor to prepare the story for publication on the UNM News website.

When submitting a finished piece, at the end of the piece, include contact or bibliographic information for your sources, so we can properly fact-check your work.  If you have multimedia or video in your story, which would make it larger than 50MB, please see the instructions below for submitting large files, multimedia and video.

Please note that some very newsworthy ideas and stories will be rejected either because they require too much editing and time on our part, they cannot be adequately fact-checked, lack news value, are not written in an objective style, or will occur at a time or place outside the ability of UNM News to cover them, such as during exams, summer and other school breaks.  These are our limitations at this point.

2.  When we reply, you need to follow our editorial suggestions and sign and send the UNM News CONTRIBUTOR AGREEMENT (12-12)for each submission.  This will give UNM News personnel sufficient editorial control over your material and non-exclusive rights to publish your material, as well as non-exclusive derivative rights to repurpose your material for other UNM News stories and other non-profit media distribution mechanisms affiliated with UNM and UNM News.  Your submission must be a labor of love because UNM News does not pay for submissions, even though it may reuse parts of your materials in various other stories, along with other social media distribution outlets.  However, when using significant parts of your work, UNM News will credit you and your fellow content creators as authors, and you are still free to publish your work elsewhere, even if we publish it on our web and social media venues.  Please note that once you sign the agreement allowing UNM News to publish your work, you cannot revoke our right to publish the particular form of your work that we agreed upon.  You and your sources must know that once, published, the work will not be revoked.  (FYI, most UNM News work will be published under a Creative Commons agreement that allows reproduction of the work for non-commercial use, provided the work is attributed to the author(s) – presumably you and your fellow content creators.)

3.  As noted above, UNM News personnel will fact-check, edit and format your material before publishing your work.  Editing and formatting changes that do not significantly alter the content of your work will not be available for you to approve or reject.  However, for the sake of accuracy, substantive content changes will typically be brought to you to review and comment upon.

Instructions for contributors who have video and multimedia in the submission:

If you have multiple photos, multimedia or video that makes the file you want to submit  50MB or larger, UNM News will ask you to upload it to our Min.us folder.  You will have to join Minus, which is a free file-sharing website.  When you inquire about making a submission, UNM News will send you and invitation to join Minus that will enable you to put your submission in one of our “private” Minus folders.  Minus accepts files up to 2GB in size.  Beyond that, consider sending UNM News your work on a data-formatted DVD.

 

Instructions for those submitters who want to submit their work using their own WordPress account or web page:  

            Most contributors will not want to do this, but aspiring journalists and strategic communication students may prefer to deliver their material directly to us via their own WordPress website or web page.  This is a good idea for aspiring professionals because it gives them WordPress and web-formatting experience.  Before beginning a WordPress article for UNM News, contact UNM News (Schaefer@unm.edu) so it can invite you to be a UNM News “contributor” via WordPress.  This allows you to submit materials directly to the UNM News WordPress website, so personnel can fact-check and edit it, if needed, to maintain journalistic standards and a consistent look across UNM News web pages and social media.

Once we have “invited” you as a contributor, you can load text and hyperlinks on our WordPress account, but we do not recommend loading many photos, multimedia or video as it takes too much storage space.  You should deliver video to our site as Quicktime (.mov) files, via data-formatted CDs or DVDs – these CDs and DVDs are not the kind that play in home DVD and stereo system devices.

UNM News can reformat many types of video for uploading, and we will want to upload it to our site so we can ensure it stays in one place and can remain in our archives for years.  We may also keep a compressed copy of your video as a backup should the public site go down.  UNM News may edit and reformat your video before we upload it to a YouTube or Vimeo site.

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