Broadcast Engineering is a technical journal directed toward the technical information needs and interests of field engineers and technical and corporate management at television and related facilities.
A station engineer, operator or manager has a limited amount of available time. To interest this reader in our publication, Broadcast Engineering must deliver material that is on-target, interesting and usable in the reader’s everyday work.
- BE uses a tutorial style. Meaning tight copy without unnecessary verbiage. Do not write a narrative manuscript.
- Do not use a “reporting” style of article construction. The magazine rarely runs quotes from individuals.
- Do not give your personal opinions unless they are backed by hard and convincing documentation. If you do express a personal opinion, clearly identify it as such in the manuscript.
- Write about topics that provide useful information to the user or discuss an important developing technology. The editorial director looks for articles that readers can use in their daily work. Articles should discuss how equipment works, how it can be used and how to repair it when a failure occurs.
- As a general rule, include one photo, illustration or chart for every page of manuscript you submit. Product photographs or illustrations must have a specific need to be included. If the equipment has a unique feature that can be seen in a product shot better than it can be described in the copy, it will be used.
- Do not list the names of individual persons involved in a project at a facility unless they add something to the story.
- Use the active voice rather than the passive voice in article construction. For example, write “Check all transformers for overheating” rather than “All transformers should be checked for overheating.”
- Use the first paragraph of the story to draw the reader into the article. Avoid beginning the article with dry statistics or broad generalizations. Instead, pick something unique about the material to be presented that will pique the reader’s interest. Tell the reader something that he or she can identify with.
- Develop a short and interesting headline for the article. Avoid long, dry headlines. Search for a headline that will make the reader want to learn more.
- Stick to the point.
- Select a topic that is broad enough in scope to interest the greatest number of readers. Yet, keep it narrow enough to make the subject matter manageable within the space provided.
Each feature article should be accompanied by an informal abstract of not more than one page. The abstract should tell the editorial director why the topic is important to readers and briefly outline the information contained in the proposed article. The abstract should also identify to the editor the target audience of the article.
Check the facts
A technical writer can commit no greater sin than providing incorrect data. Thoroughly check all information included in an engineering paper for accuracy before sending it to the magazine. Give special attention to mathematical formulas, which can be particularly troublesome.
The best way to check the accuracy of a manuscript is to submit it to several engineers knowledgeable in the field for review. A second or third opinion can greatly help you clear up parts of the manuscript that may not be accurate, fair or easily understood by the reader. An author can often become too involved in a subject and miss valid points that should be covered. A second or third reading will prevent such problems.
It is important that any questions about the completeness or accuracy of a manuscript be worked out before the article reaches the magazine editor. If, by the determination of the editor, major changes are required in your manuscript, you will be consulted and the proposed changes will be detailed. This review and revision process should not be considered criticism of your work. The idea of the procedure is to generate an article that is a credit to the magazine and to the author.
Story information that you wish to include in an article that is not directly a part of the subject matter should be separated into a “sidebar.” Sidebars can cover information that, if added to the main story, would take the reader away from the central point of the article. For example, the topic of sub carrier transmissions for personal paging applications (mentioned earlier) could have a sidebar on sub carrier application options currently available to broadcasters or present common-carrier licensing procedures.
If you are submitting an article to Broadcast Engineering for the first time, include a short note on your background in the industry. If you have had articles published in other periodicals, say so.
When an article arrives from an outside author, it is reviewed (usually within two weeks) to see if the manuscript is generally acceptable for publication. The editorial director will then notify you by e-mail of whether the material is acceptable, and if so, when it might be published. Please keep in mind that this date is only an estimate and is subject to change, depending on the editorial requirements of the magazine.
The length of time that can elapse between the date you submit an article for publication and when it appears in print can vary greatly, depending on the particular article. Because of the length of time required to produce Broadcast Engineering, the minimum turnaround time is about two months.
Once your article has been accepted and you’ve signed the author’s agreement, you probably will not be contacted again until production begins on the features. If circumstances make it necessary to delay an article’s estimated publication date, we will try to notify you. If you are interested in the status of a manuscript that you have submitted, feel free to call us.
Payment of author’s fees
Author fees are decided by the editorial director. The fees will be paid to the author of the article at the time the manuscript is accepted for publication. The editorial director must receive the signed author’s agreement form and invoice, complete with the author’s social security number, before payment can be issued. If more than one author is credited on the byline, the fee will be split evenly between the authors. Payments will only be issued to individuals. Payments cannot be issued for an article to a station, consulting firm or manufacturer.
At the option of the author, payment for an author’s fee may be donated to the Harold Ennis Scholarship Fund managed by the Society of Broadcast Engineers. If so requested, we will make payment directly to the scholarship fund in the name of the author.
Mechanical aspects of manuscripts
The manuscript must be typed, double-spaced, and only long enough to adequately cover the topic. The length of columns and departments ranges from 900 to 1350 words. The length of features ranges from 1200 to 3500 words. Longer articles would have to rate above average quality to be published. There are, likewise, no firm guidelines for inclusion of artwork or graphics. It is a good practice to include extra photos or technical art with the manuscript so the editorial director can pick and choose the ones that best fit the article and space available.
Once the manuscript has been accepted for publication, you will be required to sign a release form stating that the material is your own original work and that the magazine has full rights to use and edit it as necessary. If you wish to retain certain rights to the material, this point must be discussed ahead of time with the editorial director. A sample author’s agreement form is included in this package.
When material is taken from another printed source, permission from the copyright holder must be obtained in writing. This requirement applies not only to text passages but also to tables, photographs and technical art. Modifying a diagram slightly does not relieve you of the obligation to obtain permission for use of the material. Always contact the publisher of the material, rather than the author, for permission. Because of delays that may be experienced in obtaining permission for use of material, make the necessary contacts well in advance of the manuscript due date. All questions regarding ownership of text, photographs, tables and technical artwork must be resolved before submitting an article for consideration.
If necessary for completeness, compile a list of references for information contained in the manuscript. Include in the bibliography the title of the book or technical paper, author, publisher (including city and state), date published and pages (or chapter) referenced.
Questions? Contact Brad Dick, editorial director, at 913-967-1737 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.