The RELACS Report Submission Guide
All submissions should:
- Adhere to the Associated Press Stylebook.
- Include a relevant, high-resolution photo or graphic.
- Be approved by the director of your agency before submission.
- Be in Word, WordPerfect, or rich-text format.
- Employ minimal formatting (such as single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font), only one space after periods, and only one hard return between paragraphs.
- Contain links to URLs when helpful.
- Be respectful. You may give your opinion and write persuasively, but avoid advocacy about controversial issues. You may discuss and analyze legal issues and even explain why you disagree with someone, but avoid criticizing people. Never question motives or bring up personal traits, such as race, sex, or religion.
- Be nonpartisan.
- Employ plain English whenever possible. The thing speaks for itself is better than res ipsa loquitur; beginning a sentence with and or but is better than in addition or however. Avoid clichés and jargon, particularly if terms are not well known outside your specialty.
- Typically use a conversational tone. You may address the reader as “you” and use contractions such as don’t or can’t. You may use a scholarly style but avoid a stilted style.
- Use as many words as desirable to address the subject, but trim the fat—every word should earn its place by keeping the reader interested. If you’re stuck while polishing your story, consider rewording passive sentences into active ones, deleting adverbs (often these end in -ly), and breaking long sentences into two or more. Don’t rely on punctuation marks to make your point.
- Typically be between 500 and 3,000 words.
- Have a title on the first line and your name on the second line.
- Include a short statement about your profession and position, such as “Chuck Brackney is a senior staff attorney for Rule Review at the Colorado General Assembly.”
- Have an introduction and conclusion.
- Contain citations to the original source of legal materials or other publications. You are responsible for the accuracy of citations.
- Use endnotes or hyperlinks for legal citations.
- Format endnotes to appear in numerical order at the end of the manuscript.
- Avoid lengthy quotations unless the language is essential—paraphrasing long quotes is best.
- Use tables, figures or charts if helpful; embed tables, figures, or charts in the Word or WordPerfect document format.
- A consistent style for table elements should be selected and followed for all tables in the article.
NCSL will edit all submissions to meet style standards. If you wish to approve edits of a submission, please let Kae Warnock know. The RELACS Report editorial board will lightly edit all submissions and reserves the right to not publish material that does not meet style or content standards.