The last twelve months has seen a significant uptick in the number of articles submitted to us for publication, a fact that brings us here at the Burkean much delight. What’s more, these articles are often things we want to publish, being frequently filled with insightful analysis into topics both popular and obscure.
However, we have begun to notice a few, common issues that many of these articles have, and so have decided to provide this brief writing guide for those who wish to get their articles published by The Burkean.
First, it is incredibly important to keep your article focused. Ideally, your article should start with a paragraph, if not a sentence, which tells the reader what they will get from reading the article.
If the article is about a certain event, provide the who-what-when-where-how to the reader immediately, and leave the analysis for later. In short, you want to provide the reader with the core information first. Often people simply do not have the time to read an entire article, so it is important to be efficient. Make it so that, even if they only read the first line, they’ll have learned something.
Meanwhile, if the article is a longer form piece reflecting on a certain issue, then make sure to tell the reader what to expect in the opening paragraph. This gives them a reason to keep on reading, as well as helps them follow your argument and/or analysis more closely.
On this topic; you should always stick to your chosen topic when writing an article. If you’re writing about economic matters, then stick to the economy. If you’re writing about ancient Irish history, then stick to ancient Irish history. Tangents, unless completely necessary, should be avoided.
That being said, if you find that the article you set out to write has morphed into something different, don’t be afraid of changing your opening. When writing, it is good to be fluid, and not to be afraid of cutting things that don’t work for things that do. Sometimes, the exact topic of an article only becomes apparent once it’s written, so don’t be afraid to re-write in order to focus and polish your piece.
Lastly, always reread your work. When deciding whether or not to publish an article, we here at The Burkean would be lying if we said that the likes of poor spelling and syntax are not a significant negative factor. While a few mistakes here and there are to be expected, trying to edit a piece filled to the brim with errors is an extremely labour intensive process especially for a part time student publication, and it often is simply not worth the time. For example, if the article submitted is highly dependent on being published quickly because of its timely relevance, then if that article is error-strewn, chances are we won’t give it a second look as it would be extremely difficult to publish in a timely manner.
While spelling and syntax problems can be extremely detrimental to your work, they are also easily remedied by going over what you have written. A quick proofread can often eliminate 90% of issues in an article, and a more thorough once-over can clear up even more. While this work isn’t exactly glamorous or exciting, it is extremely important you do it if your aim is publication.
One final note to end on is that it is always helpful to include in your document (not just your email, or in the file name!) the name you wish the article to be published under. As an ironclad rule we as a publication are happy to provide plenty of latitude when it comes to anonymity especially when there is a professional risk to a budding writer.
This again makes life much easier for us when it comes time to put your piece up on the website. Also, make sure that any images you have included in your article are allowed to be published in whatever way you include them. If you are relying or referring to fair use in regards to the publication of an image, make sure to familiarise yourself with the laws surrounding such use, and ensure that your usage does indeed comply with these laws.
Other than that, we encourage you to write whatever you wish to write. While The Burkean is frequently filled with articles analysing current affairs, we take a wide variety of works on a wide variety of topics. If you’re passionate about something or have a professional or academic insight, and you feel like an article on the subject would be of interest to us, feel free to get writing, and, when you’re ready, submit it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always wishing you the best, and stay tunes, as there are yet more big projects to come,
The Burkean Team