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Questions of Style

 Questions of Style

  • Write clearly and concisely. Use simple language; make your point in as few words as possible.

  • Use the active voice, not the passive voice. For example, writing “it was decided” leaves questions in the readers’ minds. Who decided? Writing “Smith decided” is stronger and more informative.

  • Define terms that may not be well-known. Avoid jargon and clichés that may confuse readers or send them running for the dictionary. On first reference, spell out abbreviations or acronyms. If in doubt, define.

  • Make sure all direct quotes are accurate and are clearly attributed to a source. Be aware of what constitutes libel.

  • Do not submit academic-style papers with footnotes and numerous references to other publications. Such articles are not appropriate for HR Magazine.

  • Use subheads. Subheads can help you organize an article and can facilitate transitions from one idea to another.

  • Whenever you name a company or organization in an article, include the city where that company is located or headquartered and a brief description of the nature of its business or mission.

  • Follow the 2012 Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law.

Final Manuscript Checklist

When writers submit a final manuscript, they should send:

Sidebars. These are short, stand-alone items that appear in boxes next to the main article. These items offer information that is relevant and pertinent, but not central, to the main article. Consider sidebars for online use.

Relevant charts or graphics that help to illustrate the article. Let editors know if photos or photo opportunities exist, and they will try to acquire the photos or arrange for a photographer to take the appropriate pictures. If interviewed sources are willing to have a photo taken for the article, send this information with your manuscript. If you submit digital photos, they must have a resolution greater than 300 dots per inch.

Names, mailing addresses and phone numbers of sources interviewed for the article. Each source will be sent a complimentary copy.

An invoice, if applicable, that includes your name, phone number, date and a brief description of the article. A Social Security number or Taxpayer ID number must also be provided to SHRM’s accounts payable department.

Biographical information. Include the name, address and telephone number of the authors, as well as a short biography including authors’ titles, organizations and cities. The biography should include information that illustrates an author’s experience, especially in HR, and credibility.