Interested in Writing for Carolina Parent?
Carolina Parent provides parents and others who care for children in the greater Triangle area of North Carolina with current and useful information, news, advice and resources.
We strive to be the most trusted, helpful and comprehensive resource for parenting information in Wake, Durham, Orange, Johnston and Chatham counties.
Here you'll find information about our monthly editorial calendar, annual guide schedule and everything you need to know about writing for Carolina Parent.
Freelance Writing Opportunities
Freelance writers provide articles for the following resources:
- Monthly magazine with a readership of more than 100,000 that includes feature articles and department columns written by freelance writers either on assignment or purchased as reprints.
- Annual guides with shorter feature articles.
- Website with articles that appeared in print and blogs.
2013 Annual Editorial Calendar
Each monthly issue has a theme, with two to four feature articles related to the main theme. Columns or departments may or may not follow the monthly theme.
January – Family Health & Wellness
February – Get Ready for Summer Camp
March – Teens & Tweens; College Planning
April – Green Living & Family Food
May – Parties & Celebrations; Family Travel
June – Summer Fun
July – Pregnancy & Childbirth
August – Get Ready for School
September – Work-Life Balance
October – Fall Fun & Women's Health
November – Family Relationships, Getting Ready for the Holidays
December – Kids & the Arts, Celebrating the Holidays
Feature-length articles are 650 to 1300 words depending on the topic.
Departments are 650-900 words.
Lead Time: Freelance assignments are made two to three months in advance for monthly magazine articles. For example, articles for an April issue usually are assigned during January and due Feb. 10-22, depending on the writer's experience and complexity of the article.
Query three months before the issue date with ideas and/or available reprints.
Submit reprints two to three months in advance of when they would be used. For example, reprints that fit our April theme should be submitted in January.
Contact Information: To query with an article idea and for general writing interest, contact Editor Crickett Gibbons at cgibbons "at" carolinaparent.com.
Send reprint articles and lists of available reprints to editorial "at" carolinaparent.com.
2013 Annual Guides
Annual guides target a specific audience and have a longer lead time. Ones that include articles by freelance writers are:
March: Baby & Toddler Guide – Pregnancy, childbirth, babies and toddlers; submit queries by October.
September: Special Kids – Caring for children with all types and ranges of special needs, including physical, mental and emotional; submit ideas by April.
November: Education Guide – Preschool through high school; submit queries by July.
Guide features range 650-1300 words.
Lead Time: Queries (article ideas) and reprints should be submitted four months in advance of publication date.
Contact Information: Query Associate Editor Beth Shugg at bshugg "at" carolinaparent.com.
Local writers also blog on our website. These bloggers are not paid, but affiliation with CarolinaParent.com provides exposure and recognition.
Contact Information: If you would like to blog for CarolinaParent.com, contact Web Editor Odile Fredericks at ofredericks "at" carolinaparent.com.
Writing for Carolina Parent
The following information is designed to help writers query, submit and work with Carolina Parent editors. Topics move from general to more specific, with sections devoted to:
Send an e-mail query to the appropriate editor listed above that includes:
- Why the topic is of interest to Carolina Parent readers; include local relevance.
- Story outline with proposed headline, sections and overview of information.
- Potential local sources.
If you are new to Carolina Parent, also include:
- Writing experience and related background.
- Two or three writing samples (links or PDFs are fine).
Tip: Provide a hook. Tell us, clearly and succinctly, why this is a great idea for Carolina Parent and what it will look like.
We receive many more article queries than we can respond to personally. However, if you are a local writer and have not heard back within two weeks, you may submit another query, repeating the details. Persistence often pays off.
If your query is accepted, we e-mail an outline that includes: due date, word count and rights purchased. Feature rates start at $50 for first-time writers for 850 word articles.
During the writing process, please let us know if:
- New information will change the focus of the article;
- Sources change or you need help finding sources;
- You need help or guidance with organization, angle or focus;
- Assigned article length is not sufficient; you estimate the piece needs to be longer or shorter than established word count;
- You will not meet your deadline.
We take deadlines seriously. However, we recognize that emergencies happen. Please let us know if you do not think you will be finished by the deadline, but do not make it a regular occurrence or your work will no longer be considered.
Writers on assignment may contact us by e-mail or phone. It is better to ask for clarification and guidance than to rewrite an article after deadline.
Best times to call Crickett Gibbons: 9:30 a.m.-noon or 1:30-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, 919-956-2430.
Best times to call Carol McGarrahan: 9:30 a.m.-noon or 1:30-2:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday, 919-956-2430.
Writers with reprints available for purchase should:
- Send the complete article, or enough content to provide the tone, coverage and sourcing, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Provide a list of articles available for reprint, organized by topic or type of piece, to editorial "at" carolinaparent.com. Send these quarterly or seasonally for best results.
We will contact you prior to publication to negotiate an acceptable rate and obtain permission for use.
Submitting on spec: Submit reprints in the body of an e-mail and also as a Word attachment. Include a short intro paragraph explaining why this is important or helpful information for our readers.
Include in the e-mail and in the document itself:
- Your byline as you want it to appear;
- Contact information, including e-mail, address and phone;
- Short biographical information at the end explaining any relevant tie to the topic and your writing interests.
Let us know if the pre-written article has not been printed elsewhere and you are willing to localize it for our market.
Submitting contracted articles: E-mail your article by 5 p.m. of the due date unless you have otherwise notified the assigning editor.
Include in your article:
- A suggested headline and deck;
- Subheads to break up the copy and make it easy for busy readers to follow;
- Possible call-outs or quotes to highlight;
- Bulleted items for lists, steps or examples (if appropriate);
- Byline as you would like it to appear;
- Bio line at the end.
- Do not use any special formatting other than boldface. Left justify copy and use Times New Roman, 12 point font. Do not use page numbering or headers and footers.
- Use only one space after a period.
- Submit as a Word attachment, .doc, not .docx.
- Include sidebars at the end of the main article if they are short and limited (one or two). Longer or extra sidebars may be submitted as separate documents, but note them on the main article.
- Provide online URLs for resources for online linking at the end of the article or sidebars.
- Include list of sources as a separate document.
- Share relevant information in the body of the e-mail, such as: additional information for possible sidebar, photo availability, when to best contact you about editing process (i.e., if going out of town or are unavailable during certain times of the day).
- Include a separate invoice. (See payment section for details.)
Rights purchased: We normally purchase one-time print rights, exclusive to our geographic area, and online/digital use. We also purchase first-print rights for assigned pieces and do not allow these articles to be published by competitors.
Payment: Please provide an invoice with the payee information, mailing address and tax ID number. (This can be provided over the phone to the assigning editor if it is your Social Security number.) We pay mid-month after publication and send a tear sheet.
Company-wide sales: Carolina Parent is owned by Carolina Parenting Inc., which also publishes Charlotte Parent and Piedmont Parent. Articles can be resold to these publications. Some articles are assigned and written for all three markets.
Tone and Voice
Become familiar with Carolina Parent by reading a few issues and/or several articles online. Most of our articles are written in an easy-to-understand, helpful, relatively casual style. Think of yourself as a friend or advisor to our readers, who are informed parents of children birth through high school.
Write in an objective, balanced style, with respect and regard for a varied audience with potentially different beliefs and parenting styles.
Let your natural voice show through so your writing isn't stilted or overly formal, but don't insert yourself unnecessarily into the piece. (Most of our articles do not use first person except in limited situations where there is a direct tie to the topic or it is an essay.)
Pay attention to subject/verb agreement. Use active, not passive, voice. The subject should "do" the action with sentence structure of subject then verb.
Our goal is to provide balanced information in an easy-to-read format that helps parents make decisions that are best for them and their families.
Most articles are reported pieces, using interviews from local experts and parents. Feature-length pieces require a minimum of three relevant sources. All assigned articles must have local sources and local relevance.
Use experts who can provide factual, relatively unbiased information. Consider university professors, other educators and researchers, nonprofit and professional organization spokespeople, government sources, book authors, and those who do not monetarily benefit from a particular point of view. If you interview a source with a specific bias, include a source with an opposing view.
Balance sources geographically in the readership area, which stretches from Durham to Clayton, including Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Cary/Apex, Holly Springs, Garner, Raleigh, Wake Forest, and points in between.
To find parent sources, ask organization contacts or experts you talk with to recommendations or leads. Tap into parenting community groups and acquaintances of contacts.
Interviews are best conducted in person. While that may not always be possible, a phone interview is the next best alternative. We strongly discourage e-mail as a way to gather information for an article with the exception of verifying information or getting additional background information after or prior to an interview.
It is the writer's responsibility to be sure all facts are correct. Double-check all information before turning in a story. We do not have dedicated fact-checkers on staff.
At a minimum, be sure to verify:
- Spelling of names and organizations;
- Ages if appropriate;
- Titles and/or related professional or educational experience;
- Contact information such as phone numbers and websites.
It is Carolina Parent's policy not to provide copies of articles to sources to review prior to publication. To verify information in an article, you can read back what a source has said or summarize and ask if that is correct. If you are at all unclear or unsure about something a source has said, be sure to ask for clarification.
Note: Writers are not allowed to accept gifts, tickets or gratuities in connection with an assignment for Carolina Parent.
At a minimum, writers must turn in copy that is free of grammatical and spelling errors. Read your piece through for content, context and flow, and then read it again for spelling and grammar. Read it backwards to catch typos.
Write clearly and concisely, without extraneous or duplicative information.
Tip: Read the article out loud to see if it flows well and sounds natural.
Except for a few minor exceptions, we follow the Associated Press Stylebook first and Webster's New World Dictionary second. AP style is what newspapers use; it is different from Chicago style or what you were taught in English class. Please look up how to reference names, addresses, ages, dates, professions and titles, composition titles and any other information you are unsure about.
One exception to AP Style is we use present tense for most attribution, i.e., Thomas Wilson says versus said. Note that the name comes before "says" except when identifying information needs to follow the name.
We reserve the right to edit your work. If more than basic copy editing is required, we will share an edited version with you as time allows; however, this is not always possible. We may not use your work in the future if excessive changes are necessary.
Associated Press Stylebook
Online subscription and manual information. (http://www.apstylebook.com/)
Parenting Publications of America
Other regional parenting publications may be interested in reprints of articles. A list of these can be purchased from Parenting Publications of America. Note that some of these publications have local competitors, so be careful when offering reprints that you ask about necessarily geographic exclusivity. (http://www.parentingpublications.org)
For general style and writing tips:
How to Write with Style by Kurt Vonnegut
10 Ways to Find Your Writing Style by Sean Platt, Writer Dad and Copyblogger contributor
Five Elements of Writing with Style and Personality by Stephen Wilbers (http://www.wilbers.com/style.htm)
What Are Some Ways to Jumpstart My Writing? Online chat with Roy Peter Clark of Poynter Online