Changes Start with... THE SPARK "at the heart of the alternative west country"

information for writers

NUTS & BOLTS

• The Spark’s remit is to report on positive change, and individuals and/or groups making positive changes in their own lives, in their community and in the wider world.

• All our features need human interest, so it needs to look at one person’s story, or maybe two or three people’s stories, to illustrate the points therein. For example, if it’s a new therapy then we need to speak to someone who has experienced it and gained something from it. We need to see some sort of progression, from a place of difficulty towards some kind of solution or way forward. If it’s about a green innovation then we need to hear from someone who is using it effectively, or who is developing it to a point where it is accessible to you and me. Essentially what we need is accurate, clear information, disseminated in a friendly and inclusive way. Above all, you need to be clear, accessible, informed and friendly in your tone.

• Stories must have a local hook: there must be a link to the West Country somewhere, although the story may have resonance in the wider world.

• The subjects we cover are, broadly: environmental issues; social change & activism; food issues; family issues; mind, body & spirit issues, plus a special focus on some kind of therapy, practice or topical issue on the Spotlight page. The OUT! page features stuff to do in the West that is focussed on personal enjoyment and fulfilment. Our Ignite section includes events, campaigns, workshops and festivals to get involved with around the region, as well as significant dates for the calendar.

 

PICTURES

• All our stories need good pictures. Try to source pictures from the organisations involved in your story. If this is difficult, then contact us and we will help you source the pictures, or in rare cases, send out a photographer.

•We need photos that are clear, high resolution, colour and that can be emailed to us as jpg or TIFF files. Photos taken outside are always better, preferably with people in them stood against interesting/relevant backgrounds.

• Photos downloaded from the Web ARE NEVER suitable for publication.

• Images must be cleared for publication. If your images have NOT come from an official PR agency, or the press & publicity department within an organisation, then please ensure you check that anyone pictured in a photograph has given their permission for their likeness to appear in print.

With any photograph taken, please check who is pictured and where the photo was taken so we can caption it appropriately.

• Always find out if we need to credit the photographer responsible for it (get the photographer’s name).

• In ANY photo where children are pictured, please check that their parent or guardian’s permission has been given for the photograph to be used.

  

PAYMENT

• We pay 11p per word and articles generally are commissioned at 300, 750 or 1,500 words depending on depth and scope.

 • You must invoice our accounts person, Naomi, after the issue has gone to press at finance@thespark.co.uk. Invoices must include issue number (the issue of The Spark your article appeared in), title of article(s) and your word count. You will be paid by bank transfer, so please make sure we have your bank details.

• Please keep any correspondence (emails etc) from your sources (interviews, pictures etc) for at least six months after publication.

SPARK PHILOSOPHY

• Fundamentally optimistic about change and human potential for change

• There are many paths to personal and global transformation

• We are part of society: we want to be involved, both as a magazine and as individual writers

• We are not party-political

• We believe in personal responsibility

• There is no one answer or quick fix to the many large scale problems facing the planet

• We like to think we are at the heart of the alternative West Country but that doesn’t mean that the mainstream has nothing to teach us

• We are solution-focussed

• We believe in people’s right to be who they want to be, and respect their desire to get there, providing it doesn’t harm others or the planet

• We believe in running this magazine as an ethical business

• If we get something wrong then we are honest about it: we want our readers to trust us

 

WANT TO WRITE FOR THE SPARK?

• Please send us some examples of your past writing, along with details of your areas of interest and/or expertise. Also send us your ideas for Spark articles and where you see this article going within the magazine.

We will then discuss you sending us an article on spec (with no guarantee of publication) to see if your style suits the magazine.

• Please note we do not accept unsolicited material (or material which has previously been published elsewhere) for publication.

 

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