– Writers Guide for Progressives


Urban Progressive Magazine announces writers’ submission guidelines for articles and manuscripts

As you well know by now, we recently commissioned the firm Shelton and Williams (S&W) to determine voter’s basic attitudes towards their country. Unfortunately, S&W somehow accidentally released an early draft of their report to the media and we were the victims of a very unflattering wire story. S&W has profusely apologized and said the release was an accident caused by overdependence on interns and a vice-president’s absence because of illness. Particularly unfortunate was AP’s sensationalizing of a S&W’s finding that “White people don’t really love their country.” Because of the recent Letterman show the quote “People who really loved their country would never do the stuff you people are doing to it,” by a South Dakota Native American elder, is about as well known as the old Rodney King quote.

The board, working with a marketing consultant has developed a strategy to turn this lemon into lemonade. We have developed a positive, pro-active strategy organized around a new exciting editorial theme “America, Do We Really Love Her?” Following are the seven final conclusions from the S&W report and our writer’s tips on the articles we need for each.


1. “The Left, unions, Progressive movements, and the Democratic Party are practically defunct; having been demoralized and discredited by a constant barrage of right-wing corporate-financed hate propaganda.”

Tips: Emphasize the quiet but steady contributions of local activists working to bring about constructive change through partnerships and win-win solutions. First-person articles solicited emphasizing the writer’s personal experience. No articles that emphasize the speculative or sensational, please. Our readers expect us to be informative. Length: 250-500 wds.

2. “Jesus-cults are undermining environmental protections with their message, “In the ‘Rapture’ we will all go up in the sky to meet Jesus anyway, and the Earth won’t matter, so we might as well use it up right now.”

Tips: Short filler pieces focused on efforts of ecumenical associations to create meaningful dialogue among the various segments of the progressive Christian community. Don’t dismiss these beliefs as mere symptoms of mental illness. Length: 100-300 wds.

3. “Most of America’s problems are due to over-development, over-consumption, over-corporatization, and over-commodification. Neither political party nor the national environmental community will address these issues as they are compromised by corporate contributions.”

Tips: Strike a reasonable balance between our need to grow the economy and the need to retain viable, intact ecosystems. In-depth analyses of 3,000-5,000 words are sought. Query for electronic submissions.

4. “Property ‘responsibilities’ should be elevated to the same level of concern as property ‘rights’. Landowners who abuse their land should have their property placed under state control just as the state assumes custody of abused minor children.”

Tips: We need in-depth “good stewardship of the land” pieces about corporations who have “partnered” with volunteer-based, watershed councils. Give us a good angle showing positive results. No mechanical research. Query with two clips. Interview/profile. Book excerpts (well in advance of publication).

5. “If property owners get compensation when the state’s activities create ‘takings’, then the public ought to get a share in the ‘givings’ when public infrastructure investment creates windfalls in the private sector.”

Tips: Let’s emphasize solutions. We want a narrow focus. No birdwatching stories or first-person meditations on “nature.” Captions and identification of subjects required. Write for photo guidelines.

6. “In America, the acquisition, ownership, and control of private land is seldom examined because newspapers are dependent on classified advertising from the real estate industry.”

Tips: We need well-written articles on how concerned citizens can access public information and records, like county tax rolls, to create meaningful change in their local communities. “How to” stories are encouraged. No poems.

7. “The primary splits in American progressive movements are generally between white men who can’t dance and everyone else.”

Tips: Our magazine (and our readers) likes to get down and boogie! Historical, nostalgia, interview/profile, opinion pieces needed. Send complete ms. No Rolling Stone-type material, please. Length 500-1,000 wds. Sometimes can pay expenses of writers on assignment.

The S&W poll was made possible by a generous “visioning” grant from the Littley Foundation and the Center for Rural Dysergistics.