Notes for new contributors to Peace News

These notes include:

  • General notes
  • Terms and conditions
  • Basic house style

If there is something you want to communicate to nonviolent activists and anti-militarists around the world, then you are welcome to submit an article to Peace News. Don't wait to be asked. Our readership is highly-motivated and international: about 20% of the printed copies go outside Britain, most web readers are in other countries, and quite a few of our articles get translated into other languages.

The world is choking with an overload of information. Peace News wants to offer articles that encourage nonviolent action, that offer critiques and alternatives to militarism and state solutions, that stimulate reflection, and that build a sense of a community among people around the world committed to nonviolence.

Peace News' editorial objectives:

  • support and connect nonviolent and anti-militarist movements
  • provide a forum for such movements to develop common perspectives
  • take up issues suitable for campaigning
  • promote nonviolent, antimilitarist and pacifist analyses and strategies
  • stimulate thinking about the revolutionary implications of nonviolence

Hints on writing for Peace News

These hints are intended to help you engage our readers' attention and interest. However, please don’t spend too much time on a piece in advance of commission or agreement on our part. We receive many unsolicited news items and quite a few articles and are rarely able to publish them.

Writing news

Peace News likes to carry news of activities, updates and developments on certain campaigning issues, and news that will help readers express solidarity with other nonviolent activists. Our emphasis is on what people are doing – not on how awful a particular situation is. If you haven't seen any coverage of your topic in recent issues, don't assume thatPeace News isn't interested. You are always welcome to contact us to ask about something before you write.

Peace News news stories should be clear, concise, and preferably catchy. We prefer you to write in the active rather than the passive. We prefer news stories to be simple and direct. We prefer participants to use the first person and to be clear about their own role, their own point of view, and their feelings.

  • Cover the 5 Ws; Who, What, Where, When and Why. In reporting on a nonviolent action campaign, you might like to add something about; “How” and “To what effect?”
  • Make suggestions for further action, including addresses for protest and support letters.
  • If there's something you're not sure about, and cannot check yourself, tell us about it, and in the text either mark it as “to be checked” or leave it out.
  • Is there any image that would get through to readers, or a graphic or photo to illustrate your report? Images should be supplied as 250+dpi jpg/tif/pdf/eps files.
  • Liven up the article with quotes in direct speech from people involved.
  • Remember that for many readers English is not their native language.
  • Please send an extra line describing yourself for the “note” which sometimes appears at the bottom of longer news items.

Writing comment or analysis

  • Set the scene and introduce the characters: How much will the reader know already? What images will s/he have? You are welcome to send additional material, which we can use to provide context.
  • Try to relate the article to the interests and experience of your imagined readership.
  • Try to humanise the story, with examples drawn from life and quotes from people involved.
  • Please suggest a graphic or source of graphics, especially photographs.

If a story has been well covered in the mainstream press, what is left for Peace News to do?

In an action campaign, PN likes to get behind the scenes and give a participant point of view.

In a conflict situation, we look for what our counterparts in the situation are saying and doing, we try to provide nonviolent alternatives to a militarist or statist analysis and “solution”, or we try to trace the situation back to a point that connects with our readers. Generally we prefer to describe small nonviolent steps undertaken by groups rather than fulminating impotently against this wicked world.

Who publishes Peace News?

Peace News Limited (PNL) is the non-profit company behind Peace News and PeaceNews online. The board is made up of activists, campaigners and academics who share the political vision of Peace News (the title).

How are articles selected?

Peace News publishes articles of interest to nonviolent activists around the world and in Britain. This includes articles on forms of social action other than war resistance and anti-militarism, but the paper’s point of view remains one of engaged pacifism and nonviolent action.

The editorial team will discuss and review articles while the editor has the final decision about publishing. If we decide not to publish an article, which we have commissioned, we will get in touch to explain why.

How long should an article be?

Normally we will suggest a length of 300 words, or 500 words, or 1,000 words.

Obviously there is some flexibility about length, but try to keep near what's suggested as some aspects of the article may have to be cut out.

Reasons for keeping to length:

  1. running an article which is too long will limit the range of articles that can fit in an issue;
  2. your article might get cut to the previously-agreed length;
  3. if an article is too short, it might not serve its original purpose and so might require extensive revisions.

After cutting an article, often we will not have the time to send an article back to you for your approval, although we will always try to consult you except if it came to late.

How to send in your copy?

In time! Deadlines for the paper are the 15th of each month. For articles being published online we will provide you with a specific deadline.

Please submit, ideally, by email to or contact us to discuss.

Some notes on editing

Few, if any, articles appear in Peace News or online exactly as written by the author. There are four main areas where some editing is necessary:

Editing for presentation: certain design and typographical techniques are used in presenting the article. You can make suggestions for use with your article.

  • a “teaser” is an introductory first paragraph to attract readers' attention and give them some background
  • “blobs” break up continuous prose into a series of points
  • “boxes” and “sidebars” are ways of extracting information from the body of the article and presenting them alongside it (eg; a case study or background information)

NOTE: please suggest a headline: if that's the one you really want, say so; otherwise, don't be surprised if it's called something else (depending on the space and shapes available).

Consistent English: Peace News uses British usage. There is also a wide range of preferred forms of words and typographic styles. There are also some political preferences for instance, the use of inclusive and non-sexist language, and preferences in the naming of places and peoples (eg; Burma not Myanmar, Northern Ireland not Ulster).

Editing for sense: this includes more substantial rewriting of sentences in order to make the writer's prose clearer and more accessible. This might mean the editors or a helper doing further research (if necessary, getting back to you) to clarify certain points.

Editing for accuracy: This also can include checking for libel (defamation): English libel law is comparatively tough. And as libel is normally a civil matter, there is no investigation by police or other authorities before a case goes to court; the plaintiff only needs to allege that an article was libelous for proceedings to begin.

A note about language

Please try to use inclusive and non-sexist language.
If you have to use concepts such as imperialist, fascist, neo-liberal, etc, please be precise.

A note about poetry

We do not accept unsolicited poetry.

And finally...

If you have any ideas for a news piece or article, please contact us. All contributions and feedback is appreciated.

Terms and conditions

By submitting your work to Peace News Ltd, you confirm and agree:

  1. that there will be no payment for texts submitted. All contributions are made on a strictly voluntary basis.
  2. that all works submitted are your own creation;
  3. that Peace News Ltd’s reproduction and distribution of the work will not violate any copyright or other right of any third party;
  4. that you are granting Peace News Ltd non-exclusive print and online publication rights to the work submitted for all the company’s titles (Peace News, PeaceNews online);
  5. that you are also granting full reprint permission for any item we publish, unless otherwise indicated;
  6. that you are also granting Peace News Ltd the subsequent right to reproduce, distribute, adapt, or display the work for any purpose and in any manner or medium worldwide, including translation into other languages
  7. that you agree to the licence terms published in both the print and online:
    “Permission to reprint unsigned items with credit and with a link to this page is given to non-profit groups sharing Peace News's aims; otherwise you should contact the author or artist through Peace News. For major articles, having gained permission from the author to reprint, please give your readers details of PN's subscription rates.”

The rights granted may be exercised in any form or media in which the work may be reproduced, published, distributed, or displayed (including but not limited to compilations, microfilm, library databases, videotext, computer databases, CD-ROM, and the Internet). Rights to the article include (but are not limited to) the use of excerpts in marketing materials and the posting on PeaceNews online. We reserve the right to accept or reject any article submitted.

If submitted texts are translated Peace News Ltd will make these versions available free of charge to the author.

Basic “house style” rules for trusted users

Please pay attention to these! It may seem a bit fenickety, but there are two reasons why we ask all system users to conform to just a few basic rules:

  • For political reasons (consistency, and because sometimes you make a point by calling a country/person by a certain name etc)
  • For consistency (in general we want the site to be like the newspaper, in terms of how it looks)

So, here’s some basic pointers (most fairly obvious, but some very peculiar to PN)

  1. No capitalisation except for proper names (no “Prime Minister Blair”, for example. “British prime minister Tony Blair”, is ok though)
  2. Language – nonsexist/racist/homophobic etc – unless it is very specific. People do have gender(s), and do identify as being from different races/sexualities etc – so sometimes it is correct/accurate to represent them as such – use your judgement.
  3. No fullstops between letters in acronyms, or after titles, or between initials (no Dr. or U.S.A)
  4. Use double quotes where any normal person would use single ones (except within quotes: so “Brian said ‘don’t do that!’ and he didn’t!” is fine)
  5. All publication names should be in italics. So, Peace News, for example!
  6. Represent dates as Saturday, 4 March 2002. Not 04/03/02 or March 4th 2002 or any other way.
  7. Represent contact details like this: Name, postal address, country (tel +int code; email; http://web).
  8. Try and be sensitive about country/place names (for example, Palestine/Occupied Territories is ok for West Bank, Gaza etc, Israel-Palestine for everything else). If in doubt over something extremely sensitive, please drop us a line to discuss it first.
  9. Try not to land us in court! Please do not post anything which is plainly libellous! If you are writing about a big company make sure your facts are right and that you can back them up if challenged. As well as being a trusted source of news we also want to stay in business and not get hammered by the likes of McDonalds or BAE Systems.
  10. Always include contact details and URL.
  11. For articles for PeaceNews online, If you get time and the story is not about your own group, send the group a quick email about how you added their news to our site. This is a good and fairly painless way of networking with loads of people and of promoting the news service too.

There are loads more, but these seem the most important/most used ones. If anyone wants to see the entire PN style manual, you would be welcome (and probably end up better versed in it than us!). However, this seems like plenty to think about for now!