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Writers Guidelines

Portland Family Magazine is a bi-monthly regional publication which focuses on the positive accomplishments of those involved in the arts, politics, environment, healthcare, technology, religion and ethics, housing, and culture. Portland Family is an outlet for reportage and point of view that are not often found in the mainstream media. We focus on human interest stories. Our writers write the critiques, praises and personal anecdotes that provide the detail to the larger picture, the colors to the outline (often coloring outside the lines). We believe that local community members want to read something meaningful, something that enhances their relationship with each other and with their community. While we do, of course, want to entertain and enlighten our readers, above all we strive to convey substance with style and to make an emotional connection with our readers. We have an impassioned involved readership, and we embrace the opportunity to meet their high expectations.

About our circulation

Portland Family Magazine is widely distributed and is available free at hundreds of locations within the Portland metro area.

About our writers

Our writers see the material with fresh eyes and real insight. We place a premium on surprise and good storytelling—the compelling anecdote, the colorful character, the lively quote, the telling detail.

About queries

We are open to queries by e-mail, (no phone queries, please) but you can endear us to your proposal if you pitch only developed ideas that fully describe the topic and your desired approach. Before you pitch a story to us, we recommend you read through Portland Family to get a feel for the type of articles we value and promote. For all queries, indicate the availability of photos or artwork in your query letter or with your article. (Pertinent, high-quality photos can enhance an article’s desirability.)

Due to the high volume of queries received, we regretfully are unable to respond to each one or to verify that we have received your query. If we are interested in your story idea, an editor will contact you within six weeks.

We consider everything except a direct assignment to be submitted on a speculative basis. When an article has been assigned, we will contact you and then send a contract specifying terms and deadline.

About unsolicited material

Portland Family Magazine welcomes unsolicited material that meets these guidelines. Lengths of articles are discussed ahead of time prior to approval.

For seasonal material, recognize that if you submit something that is about a particular month, holiday, event, or season, we need to receive it a minimum of four months ahead (the earlier the better) because we work well in advance of our deadlines. At the end of each season, we often receive a rush of otherwise excellent material that can’t be used because we didn’t receive it in time.

Please do not submit work previously published or articles that have been submitted for publication elsewhere.

Items snail-mailed to Portland Family will not be returned.

About our features

We publish several features in each edition, from hard-hitting articles about weighty topics to pieces designed for entertainment. Activism, the arts, the community, education, the environment, health, nature, neighborhoods, outdoor activities, parenting, politics, profiles of interesting local people, recreation, renewable energy, sustainability, transportation, urban living, wellness, and many other topics–from the extraordinary to the off-the-wall–are good topics for features in Portland Family Magazine.

About assignments

We prefer to make writing assignments at least three months before they are due to give talented writers the time to do their best professional work. Barring unusual circumstances, articles are always published in the month scheduled, as indicated when assigned. By the same token, we do not over-assign features. We depend on writers to deliver assigned features in polished and professional form by the assigned deadlines.

About submissions

Writers will submit their article, tagline, 30-word biographical sketch, and their photo via e-mail to editor@portlandfamily.com. Submitted articles must follow standard manuscript format. List your full name, address and telephone number in the upper left corner of the first page and an accurate word count in the upper right corner. The article should be e-mailed as an attached Word file. The writer’s color photograph should be attached as a JPEG or TIFF, scanned at a resolution of 300 dpi, or a digital camera image of the same resolution.

In addition, first-time writers must also furnish a mailing address, a social security number, and phone numbers where they can be reached.

About editing

Our deadlines are assigned far enough in advance of press dates to provide sufficient time for thoughtful editing, ordering and obtaining necessary original art to illustrate the piece, proofreading, and doing the production work on a routine cycle that will result in an attractive, interesting and professional presentation.

Changes that the writer needs to make in an article after the initial submission must be e-mailed to the editor as soon as possible for consideration. In the event changes seem necessary, the writer is asked not to resubmit a revised manuscript but instead to indicate via e-mail:
Replace: (the sentence as it reads in the edited version).
With: (the replacement sentence as you want it to read).

If requesting additions, the writer simply indicates the insertion point, as follows:
After: (indicate the last sentence preceding the insertion).
Insert: (the additional sentence or paragraph you want to add).

About pay

Portland Family Magazine pays on a variable scale depending on length/complexity of the article based on a contract between the editor and the writer. Submit invoices for payment. We compile the necessary information for checks to be cut based on the assigned rates. We pay around 30 days after publication.

About kill fees

Because Portland Family Magazine generally hires only experienced writers and will be reviewing writing samples before making an assignment, it is rarely necessary to kill a story. However, in the event a feature does not seem suitable even after editing or rewriting, a kill fee of 15 percent of the assignment fee (up to a maximum kill fee of $75) will be paid 30 days after the story was originally scheduled for publication.

About expenses

Generally, the writer bears all expenses associated with producing the assigned feature story. However, for unusual assignments, Portland Family Magazine may agree to cover certain expenses if negotiated at the time the assignment is being made, or subsequently approved by the editor while the story is being produced. Portland Family Magazine will not pay for expenses billed after the fact and not previously authorized by the editor.

About rights

Portland Family Magazine purchases First North American publication rights for original material. The copyright reverts to the writer 90 days after publication.