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High School Today Committee Drives Success of Publication

By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA on January 14, 2020 hst Print

When each monthly issue of High School Today arrives, you may initially glance at it and possibly read a few articles. Most people who receive the magazine sincerely appreciate it; however, very few probably understand what goes into producing the eight issues each school year.

There is a committee of 10 individuals who represent the various segments or aspects involved with high school athletics and performing arts. Twice a year – in February and August – the committee meets for a weekend in which article topics are discussed, some are selected for publication, authors are sought and a determination is made as to which member will be responsible for each article.

When the scheduled articles are submitted, they undergo some editing to fit the style and length for publication in the magazine. The next step is for the graphic arts director to expertly fit the articles, departments, advertisements and other components into the issue. To complete the layout, headings need color, photos are added and every little detail is contemplated in order to complete an attractive, informative publication to represent education-based athletics and performing arts.

The hard-working, dedicated and talented NFHS staff is responsible for the editing of the submitted articles, the writing of monthly columns and some occasional articles in addition to the layout. When the magazine is totally assembled, it goes to the printer. Upon completion of the hard copies, they are bundled for bulk mail and shipped to the post office. Due to the production and mailing schedule, rigid dues dates must be met for all eight issues.

While a detailed agenda guides the meeting and a great deal of work is accomplished, the committee members do enjoy an occasional good-natured jab at one another. Laughter does play a part in every meeting and everyone enjoys the banter and camaraderie.

Is there ever disagreement over a proposed topic or agenda item? Sure. But after a straightforward, candid discussion, everyone remains friends. Basically, committee members agree to disagree, and it is done in a respectful manner. And then it is on to the next agenda item.

During lunch, committee members take turns explaining what is new with them or their family in the past six months. A few even produce a PowerPoint to present some of the highlights in their life with video and musical background. It can be quite an enjoyable and entertaining show!

Like most families – and the committee actually becomes a family – everyone is supportive with the passing of one of the committee’s family members, health issues and celebrates the birth of new additions or moving onto a new position. Everyone shares stories and most end in laughter.

With the help of the detailed agenda, a great deal is covered in every meeting. The real work, however, takes place in the months in between the face-to-face sessions. It is during this time that committee members remind and help the authors with their article assignments, review each issue and complete their assignments. Yes, each committee member gets a “To Do” List – with deadlines – prior to the end of the weekend meeting.

Is there work involved with being a member of this committee? Absolutely. It is, however, a labor of love, a privilege and an honor to be part of this publication. Knowing that you are able to help professionals around the country is extremely rewarding, and the opportunity to promote and enhance education-based athletics and performing arts is a passion for everyone involved. Keep reading in order to offer the best opportunities and environment for your young people, and you might even consider writing an article.

Interested in Writing for High School Today?

There are two types of articles involved with publications – solicited and unsolicited. When an editor or committee member contacts an individual and asks if he or she would be willing to write a piece on a specific topic, this is a solicited article. If someone has an idea, puts it on paper, mails it to a magazine and hopes that it will be accepted for publication, this is, on the other hand, an unsolicited article.

Unsolicited articles go through a review process and the final outcome will result in one of three determinations: accepted for publication, rejected or returned for a rewrite. With a rewrite, its publication will result if the recommended changes have been adequately addressed.

Before writing and mailing an unsolicited article, a query letter is a good approach to take. This is a brief three-to-four paragraph document in which the author quickly explains the major premise and a few of the key points that will be covered. Upon reception of this communication, which could be in the form of an email, the editor can let the individual know if the topic and article would be a good fit and whether the author should proceed to write it.

Most magazines feature a distinct writing style and usually have guidelines for authors. It is extremely helpful, therefore, for anyone interested in submitting an article to understand the specific style and to follow the guidelines for a particular publication.

An author should send an article to only one magazine and await notification as to whether it has been accepted for publication. You should never send a piece to multiple publications at the same time.

This concept is known as singular submission because every magazine expects and requires exclusive, original articles and not something that may also be published elsewhere.

If you are interested in submitting an article for High School Today, contact Bruce Howard at Bhoward@nfhs.org