MRT Editorial Guidelines
CONTACT FOR SUBMISSIONS:
Don Bishop, Editorial Director, [email protected]
Mobile Radio Technology, a monthly magazine, publishes technical articles, product information and news about mobile communications infrastructure for businesses and government agencies. MRT primarily covers voice and data communications for private, trunked and public safety networks. This includes systems technology for SMR and ESMR. Topics include system design, maintenance, equipment, industry news and regulatory updates. Wireless Internet and fixed broadband services are not covered.
MRT’s primary audience is mobile radio dealers and service shops; its second-largest audience is public safety and government. Nearly all of MRT’s readers have managerial and communications equipment procurement responsibilities. Readers include:
- dealers and service centers.
- national/state/local government and military agencies.
- public safety agencies.
- public utilities.
- other wireless providers, including paging, cellular and PCS.
- business and industrial users.
- equipment manufacturers, their representatives and distributors.
- engineering/consulting firms.
- transportation companies and railroads.
- community repeater operators.
- specialized mobile radio operators.
- private system operators.
- petroleum/energy products companies.
MRT presents information on systems technology, design and maintenance for these readers.
NOT OUR AUDIENCE
MRT does not publish features or news about:
- wireless Internet
- fixed broadband
- consumer electronics or cellphones.
- wireless subscriber products or business practices. [see www.wirelessreview.com]
- marine or avionic communications.
- 12V consumer automotive products.
- Citizen’s Band radios.
- Amateur radio.
- WAN or LAN systems.
- computer networks or technology unrelated to radio control.
- commercial broadcasting. [see www.broadcastengineering.com or www.beradio.com]
- video technology. [see www.videosystems.com]
- wireline telephony. [see www.internettelphony.com]
Because of time restraints on our staff, we are unable to reply to inquiries or solicited submissions about these off-target subjects. MRT does include features and news about the base station tower site industry in its editorial calendar. However, for a more in-depth coverage of the tower industry, see our companion publication, Site Management & Technology, [www.site-mag.com] .
MRT does not cover subcomponent design, IC manufacturing techniques or microwave communications above 3GHz. Those topics are covered by RF Design, which is written exclusively for engineers working in radio frequencies where the electronic behavior of circuits and systems requires specialized design techniques. For more information see its Web site at www.rfdesign.com.
MRT has limited coverage of satellite-based communications. Its sister publication, Satellite Broadband, covers that industry segment. For more information see its Web site at www.thebroadbandspace.com.
MRT does not cover industry news or wireless standards in use outside of North America. You may wish to contact Global Telephony, which has absorbed much of the coverage from our discontinued publication, Wireless Technology International (formerly Cellular & Mobile International). For more information see the Web site at www.globaltelephony.com.
MRT invites technical article contributions from people working in the mobile communications industry. Submissions should be of interest to our audience as described above. Free-lance articles that demonstrate a knowledge of the industry also may be accepted. All submissions will be edited before publication.
Copyright and compensation
PRIMEDA Business Magazines & Media, Inc.owns the copyright to articles printed in MRT, and its permission must be granted for reprints in any format (including postings on Web sites). Writers must warrant that their articles have not been previously published and transmit all rights, title and interest to both print and electronic publication of the articles, to PRIMEDA Business Magazines & Media, Inc.. Contributors receive copies of edited articles before publication.
Corporate contributors, writers or agencies who create articles to benefit or to promote the products or services of themselves, an employer or a client receive no other remuneration besides the exposure to our qualified audience. Free-lance writers or other unaffiliated contributors are eligible for compensation, which is determined on an individual basis.
Things to know before submitting a feature article to MRT
1. We do not accept simultaneous submissions.
Our technical magazines lead in telecommunications coverage because our readers see it here first.
We are not interested in previously published material or in concurrent publication with another magazine. Any article that appears in substantially the same form in another magazine before we print it will be dropped from our schedule.
Exceptions include news and product information. The editors also may consider publishing a feature that has only appeared previously in a company’s in-house literature or newsletter. (The editors also may share an article with another PRIMEDIA magazine or Web site when editorial topics coincide or there is a shared audience interest.)
2. The most appropriate articles are chosen first.
Editorial calendar topics — Articles written on a topic that has been promoted in advance for a specific issue on the annual editorial calendar (see advertising section) have priority second only to the cover story.
New technology — Leading-edge technology always draws interest. However, we may need time to seek a peer review by members of our editorial board or by an independent reviewer if the article has content with which we lack technical familiarity. If you are attempting to tie the article to the first public release of a product or technology, remember that our editorial lead time for features is much longer than for news. We will honor a dated embargo for technical features only—not news. “Advertorials” that promote a new product without any technical data or trial information will not be accepted.
Keep it short — Well-illustrated, short articles that provide the most useful information to readers are printed sooner. MRT may accept long articles or multipart series, but space requirements can delay publication.
3. Article length should be appropriate to the size of the magazine.
The optimum feature length feature is about 1,200 words. Minimum length to run as a single-page magazine feature is about 600 words. Articles longer than 2,000 words may need to be cut down or serialized, depending on space available. Except for complex articles containing detailed information or graphics, multipart articles are not particularly desirable. There is no guarantee that there will be space for a “Part 2” in the issue immediately following “Part 1.” It can be several months before the conclusion of a series can be published.
(Splitting an article into parts to avoid missing the deadline won’t work. We require writers to submit all of the parts before we will accept the article.)
4. The schedule is set by the editors. A request for a specific month may not be honored.
Which manuscript is published first depends on scheduled topics, anticipated reader appeal, date of receipt, length and the number of articles already on hand about similar subjects. All articles are printed at the editors’ discretion.
The earlier an article is received, the better its chance for being published in a specific issue. To maximize your chances of being published in a specific issue,beat the deadline! Send your manuscript in by the first-draft deadline, which is three months before the cover date. (For example, articles for MRT April should be submitted by the first week in January). Features are not printed in the annual Buyers’ Guide issue in December.
Articles that do not fit when an issue’s allocated editorial space is full must be held over. Time does not permit extensive “butchering” of an article to fit once it has already been edited down for conciseness, nor do most authors want that. Thus, every month, long articles may be held over, sometimes repeatedly.
5. Deadlines can change.
If the editors lack a suitable article for an announced editorial calendar topic in a given issue, an article on that topic submitted after the deadline may be accepted and published in that issue. Call us and ask. On the other hand, if your invited or accepted calendar topic article misses the deadline, and we have another feature on that same topic available, you may have just lost your place in line.
We may quote you a “drop dead” date, and you may meet that date, but your article might not appear anyway. Why not? Some issues have fewer pages than anticipated. Sometimes everyone sends their manuscripts at deadline. Only a few can be worked on during the last few critical days. Your article also might need more polishing than the time remaining allows.
Play it safe—don’t wait until the “drop dead” date.
6. We prefer finished manuscripts, not “concepts.”
We won’t commit to publishing an unseen article based solely on an idea, outline or abstract. We will commit, or decline, to run the article when we have reviewed a complete draft.
However, outlines and abstracts are useful. You may want to send an outline or abstract to the editors by letter-of-inquiry or email to confirm that your article matches our audience and that a similar article is not already scheduled to appear. (We get many submission ideas, and coincidences often happen.)
7. All submissions are subject to editing and revision.
The editors will modify voice, structure, style, grammar and wording to conform to the magazine’s house style and to keep the article clear and concise, as explained in “Manuscript Preparation” below. Authors will see a copy of any substantive revisions before publication. All of our magazines have a similar policy regarding editorial changes.
8. Editorial code of ethics.
MRT, through its parent company, PRIMEDIA Business, is a member of the American Business Media (ABM), and adheres to its “Editorial Code of Ethics” as adopted in July 1998.
Neither the editors of MRT, nor their families, invest in the companies or industries we cover. Likewise, all authors submitting feature stories must clearly declare any financial interest in, or representation for, any company named in their articles, so that our readers can be duly informed of that prejudice in the article’s credits.
MRT editors do not accept gifts or favors, except those of nominal value, from companies or associations we cover, or from their public relations representatives. This is also expected of our paid contributors and columnists.
MRT editors do not accept free-lance work from any associations or companies covered by the magazine.
Selection of editorial topics, treatment of issues, interpretation and other editorial decisions will not be determined by advertisers, advertising agencies or by the advertising department of the magazine. Please contact the editorial department directly. Do not ask the advertising managers to handle submission inquiries.
Advertisers are not permitted to review articles before publication, excepting articles they themselves have contributed.
Advertisers and potential advertisers will not receive favorable editorial treatment because of their economic value to the magazine. Similarly, non-advertisers will not receive unfavorable editorial treatment nor be excluded from articles because they do not advertise.
The editors are here to help you get your manuscript ready for publication.
If you are using a third party to prepare a story, please designate a single contact within your company or theirs with whom we will coordinate publishing the story and handling revisions and materials. This avoids miscommunication about content or changes.
Typical article components
The best articles usually result from an outline. MRT feature articles generally include: title, subtitle, author’s name, credit (your job title and where you work) and the text of the article. Additionally, you may have references, tables, graphics, photographs, etc.
Don’t spend too much time on the title or the subtitle. Just make them simple and descriptive. The will often retitle the article before publication for space, design or typographical considerations.
Bylines, credits and acknowledgments
Bylines indicate author(s) of record who contributed directly to the writing of the manuscript. Persons who reviewed the article, or contributed to the work described, can be mentioned in the credit. Our readers look at the bylines and credits, and they trust us to pick articles from people who know what they’re writing about. (Our readers also respond better to their peers. If an engineer or technician assisted with the article, include them in the byline. We prefer to have technical people as authors, rather than sales or marketing personnel.) Academic titles or certifications are to be given as initials after the name (“by Joseph Jones, Ph.D., E.E., and Emanual Evergreen, C.E.T.”). Do not use “Dr.”
The author credit should include job title, company or affiliation, and geographic location. (“Jones is director of research and development for Acme Antenna, Grover’s Mill, NJ. Evergreen is senior radio technician for Stone County Public Safety, Harding, OH.”)
The text of a typical feature article usually develops this way:
I. In the opening paragraphs, let the readers know right away what the benefit is in reading this article—why they should read further. Briefly define the problem that the product, service or methodology solves. For example:
“With the ever-growing congestion and development of telecommunications sites, radio frequency noise levels at sites are higher than ever. The following information describes a method of measuring the effect of noise and desensitization on receivers. The ‘lossy T’ coupler is described, along with a method of measuring its insertion loss.”
II. After getting the readers’ attention, briefly explain how the problem or procedure has been treated in the past. The readers may judge the rest of your article by how well you’ve done your homework.
III. Briefly describe any alternative contemporary methods or equipment affecting your topic and, objectively, their strengths and weaknesses.
IV. Detail the product, procedure or technology you recommend as the best way to resolve or improve the situation. Assume that the readers know communications terminology, but remember that all readers may not be fully versed in your industry segment. A pager servicing technician may be trying to learn more about operating a community repeater; a dealer may be wanting to learn more about isolators.
Share what you learned in developing the solution. We can edit out material inappropriate to the audience, but we can’t edit much information into the article. Remember that our readers are primarily interested in methodology and technology—how it was done. Case studies, if used, should go deeper than just mentioning some cooperating company’s name; they should recount specific problems and concrete problem-solving steps. (Don’t dwell on: the difficulty of the research; the first three attempts you made to solve this problem and why they didn’t work; or anecdotes about how you finally determined that the wattmeter wasn’t connected properly. This consumes valuable space.) Avoid “testimonial” quotes from clients or users.
For articles on troubleshooting and systems design, do include decision-making processes and step-by-step instructions. For products and systems, details may include the inner workings of devices and the electronic relationships among components in a system. A block diagram (see “Graphics and Tables”) can guide this description and illustrate the article. For services and maintenance procedures, details may include a checklist of recommended actions and safety considerations.
V. Bring the technical discussion to a definite conclusion, such as “I have shown how transistors can save space and power, compared with vacuum tubes ….” This is where “inoffensive commercial plugs” belong: “The IC is used exclusively in the new Twinkletoes model XLNT-1/1985 radio pictured below. Sensitivities of 10mV with a noise figure of 24dB are attained by ….”
Don’t just list product features; explain their significance to the article’s topic. If your company created the product or technology, explain features in terms of specific problem-solving or needs fulfillment. Extraneous features are more appropriate for new product releases or vendor literature. Don’t make the article too commercial, and keep opinions about similar (competitors’) products to a minimum. The editors will remove blatant sales pitches and slams. (See also “Trademarks and Trade Names” below.)
Frequent citations, as found in academic journals, are not necessary in MRT. They distract the reader. If, for professional or ethical reasons, you have to refer to a published work or Web site, mention it in parentheses.
General writing and preparation tips
Style — Look at past issues of MRT for the magazine’s style on spellings, punctuation, abbreviations, capitalization and units of measure (e.g., “800MHz” [no space]).
Format — Double-spaced, typewritten manuscripts or letter-quality laser prints on white paper are easiest to read and edit. Dot-matrix printouts are unacceptable because they are hard to read, difficult to copy and fax, and technical or mathematical characters may be misinterpreted. Email submissions are preferred.
If you submit an article by email or on a computer disk, please send it in IBM-PC format, preferably as a generic text (DOS or ASCII) document. Microsoft Word documents (MW ’97 and earlier) are also acceptable. But please do not embed graphics or equations in the document. Send them as separate files.
Keep typefaces in electronic files simple and basic. Type fonts are not universal, and we may not be able to print out unusual type.
Voice — Avoid second-person statements. It is better to say “The unwanted sideband is filtered…” than “You filter the unwanted sideband with filters.” The editorial “we” should be reserved to articles with multiple authors or researchers. If you’re referring to yourself, just say “I.” Avoid fake transitions, like “Now I am going to talk about…” or “We have seen how the frammistat works, and now we’ll examine the role of the geegaw.” Just use a descriptive subhead at the beginning of the next paragraph to indicate a new topic.
Construction — Technical writing naturally has longer, harder-to-follow sentences than general writing. Don’t compound the problem with long strings of prepositional phrases. Instead of writing “Most of the noise on the signal at the input of the receiver in the shielded portion of the transceiver is….” write “Signal noise at the receiver’s shielded input is….”
Ask for help! — Call or email us—preferably before the deadline.
GRAPHICS AND TABLES
Graphics must convey information exemplifying or clarifying the text. Graphics can be photographs, drawings, schematics, block diagrams, tables, charts or graphs. All illustrations should be referenced sequentially in the text at the appropriate point. Refer to the text at these points to create captions. The style of abbreviations, units of measure and symbols in the text should match those used in illustrations and captions. Avoid overkill; data in tables should not duplicate graphs, photos should not duplicate diagrams.
Electronic files — Digitally scanned or created photographs and computer-generated drawings will be accepted only if they are in IBM-PC tagged image format (.TIF) or encapsulated postscript (.EPS) files. The minimum acceptable resolution for these files is 600dpi for B&W line art and 300dpi for color illustrations (which must also be saved in CMYK format for printing, not the RGB format used for a computer monitor). The resolution should be for a full-size illustration. (A 600dpi graphic file, saved at a size of only 1½” X1″, will have an unusable resolution of less than 200dpi when enlarged to print in the magazine.) Do not send us graphics in .JPG or .GIF formats, or Power Point slides. These formats are for computer and Internet Web site applications only, to be viewed on a monitor. The resolution and coding is not compatible with print publishing requirements.
When in doubt, send the original flat art by mail.
Photographs — Digital photos rarely have sufficient resolution (see above). Black-and-white photos should be prints. Color transparencies (slides) reproduce best, but color prints are acceptable. Screened photos (ones that already have dots) do not scan well; send originals. If size or dimension is important in the photograph, it may be useful to include a ruler, coin or some other recognizable object for comparison. Avoid photographs of featureless components (“white boxes” and “black boxes”) on a plain background. Avoid photos with large or intrusive product branding. (No product branding is allowed in cover photos. It will be airbrushed out.) If people are shown in the photos, obtain any necessary permissions to use their likenesses. The editors can supply you with release forms if necessary. Double-check the background, and verify that proper procedures and safety gear are being used, when you take a photograph.
Drawings, schematics, charts and graphs — Technical illustrations may need to be redrawn or resized by us to fit the available space on the page, so they should be clearly constructed. Simple drawings should be black lines on white, untextured paper. (Scanning picks up colors, textures and watermarks.) Use of color is acceptable to clarify the illustration, but shading, solid colors and tints can be added here later. Exact spatial or geometric relationships that need to be maintained if the illustration has to be redrawn should be noted for our artists. Clearly identify closed or open circuit paths and standard electronic symbols on schematics. On block diagrams, indicate circuit paths with arrows. On graphs, label all axes clearly, including units of measure, noting the increments. Flag logarithmic-increment graphs for the artist.
Labeling — We use a standard typeface for “callouts,” or labels, in illustrations. Ideally, it would be helpful to have one copy of the art labeled as a guide and one copy without the labels, which can be added by us. Label and number illustrations so they can be presented in proper order. Please do not glue illustrations to cardboard backing. (Also, we cannot scan original art larger than 12″ X 18″.)
Visualize the illustration’s size and complexity when it appears in print: a 12″ X 12″ schematic may not convey as much information when it is reduced to 4″ X 4″ in the magazine.
Illustrations (including software windows) from third-party sources should include appropriate permissions and credits.
Tables and equations — Tables and equations will usually be typeset, not photographed, to conform to the overall style and appearance of the magazine. Headings, footnotes, subscripts, superscripts and Greek or mathematical characters should be legible and distinct. Simple equations (I =V/R) will be kept within the text, and an effort should be made to reduce equations to their simplest terms. More complicated forms will be set on a line by themselves or placed in a box.
TRADEMARKS, TRADE NAMES
Trade dress symbols (Y, Wand sm) are never used in editorial copy—no exceptions. We acknowledge the importance of protecting trade dress and preventing a proprietary name from lapsing into common use, but we will restrict symbols, typefaces and affectations in capitalizations.
“Due vigilance” to protect your mark involves: how you use it in commerce; filing it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office; and affixing it to your advertisements and paid promotions. News and features style is to identify the brand name as a proper noun (initial capital), rather than a common noun (lowercase). We will not use interior capitals in a product name or lowercase letters at the beginning.
However, in news and features, the legal names of companies orcorporate entities with “midcaps” (EverSharp RadioWorks) will not be altered. (This does not apply to divisions or working groups within the company.) Wedo not use business abbreviations at the end of company names (Co., Inc., A.G., Ltd. or others) except to avoid confusing a company (Betty Green Co.) with an individual.
Trade names that are common words, or contrived words pronounced as words, appear with a capitalized initial letter for each word of the name, identifying it as a proper term, with the remaining letters in lowercase type (Patriot, Ektachrome, Quick Grip). Trademarks that are true acronyms or initials (EDACS, LTR) remain in all-caps. To avoid “advertorialization,” a trade name is usually allowed no more than three times in the text and in the captions. This single reference should be followed by the generic term, which should be used in all other references or credits. Brand names with affected typefaces and capitalizations will be standardized whenever possible. (“GymCRACKi” becomes “Gymcracki.”) Alternatively, an author credit reference to a trademark, and defining its ownership, is acceptable:
“Acme Antenna has trademarked the smart antenna system described in this article under the name ‘Gymcracki.’”
PRIMEDIA Business will not deviate from this editorial policy. If your company’s requirements cannot accommodate ours, all references to the product or technology will have to be generic, or the article will have to be refused.
MRT editorial content is mostly technical features, but it also includes industry news. All press releases are subject to revision and editing for style and space considerations. Departments include:
items pertaining to major industry trade shows, seminars and conferences. Preference is given to events sponsored by mobile communications trade associations or non-profit educational institutions. We do not have space for events sponsored by seminar businesses. Supply the event dates, the event title, the name of the sponsoring organization, the location of the event (host city and conventional facility) and a contact phone number for inquiries. Listings will not run without this contact information. The news deadlines apply to calendar listings.
pertaining to industry-related companies or regulation, particularly mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, major contracts and dealer programs. Although ISO certifications, community service, promotional programs and “grip and grin” award presentation photos may be newsworthy to some readers, we simply do not have space to run them.
information from product manufacturers only. Products should apply to the industry as described in the “Audience” section. Color or black-and-white photos can be submitted, but they may be cut for space. (See the photographs section under “Graphics and Tables.”) New products photos appear in print only 1″ or 2″ wide, so plan the visual content accordingly. The New products listing in MRT evoking the greatest reader response each month is reprinted as a “Product encore” sidebar in a subsequent issue. Additionally, each month a special “Product focus” section highlights one specific type of technology from various manufacturers. (See editorial calendar.)
Releases should contain technical information only, please! Subjective adjectives about product benefits or attributes (first, best, smallest, fastest, popular, most-efficient) cannot be verified by the editors and will be removed from the copy.
These guidelines also apply to “advertiser benefits” in MRT, which are not ads, but special sections prepared by the editors. They include “Product/services showcase,” “Product/logo directory,” other directories and buyers’ guide copy. All contributions will be edited.
promotions, including bulletins and special reports, product technical sheets, service manuals, communications texts, catalogs, software, CD-ROMs, video tapes, audio tapes and books.
news, particularly employment changes and promotions. They must include the individual’s name; new job title; new company, territory or department; former job title; former company, territory or department and a contact name and phone number for verification. Items incomplete in these respects will not run.
Letters from readers
are run on a space-available basis and will be edited for space and grammar. All letters must be attributed—no anonymous letters are accepted. Email letters are also accepted, once verified, if the writer makes it clear that the email may be reprinted. An industry comment or technical tip too short to be a feature article may make a terrific letter contribution.
“What are the news deadlines?”
Submit news departments items (particularly calendar items) at least eight weeks before the issue date. (Remember, the issue is in the reader’s hands before the end of the month preceding the cover date!)
Deadlines for advertiser benefits, show directory listings and buyer’s guides are not the same as those for the news departments. Please check!
To submit an article, please contact: Don Bishop, editorial director, at [email protected]