the friend online
02 October 2009

Submission Guidelines

Writing reports for The Friend

We still use a few reports in The Friend, but less than we used to. So how will you get your report in?

Think about your purpose

Why do you want to write your report for others to read? Is it:

  • because something happened at the event that other Friends should know about? If so, write about 200 words with that important piece of information first and background after (where, when, how and why) and send it to Be sure to write it quickly, while the news is still at the top of your mind – it is difficult for us to call something ‘news’ if it happened three months ago
  • because you learned something that you want to share? If so, don’t write a report, but write about that ‘something’. Include Friends’ contributions from the event to give it colour and include solid facts or pieces of information to stand the article up
  • because the participants shared a moving experience? This is the hardest purpose to write a report about, but often the main reason why you would want to write it in the first place. Think hard about the specifics of what you want to write: why was the event so moving? Was there some particular contribution or ministry that spoke to you (if so, quote it if you can). Don’t just outline what everyone talked about and thank the organisers: this is the least likely sort of report to make it in. You may be grateful for the cream tea, but other readers weren’t there and nobody likes to read about cream teas that they missed.
  • because you think the report ‘should’ go in The Friend. We can never guarantee to have room for reports of committees and, as an independent magazine, we are under no obligation to use them. We want to reflect the life of the Society at its most inspiring, active and sometimes difficult and we are short of space. So before you make the effort to write something, think hard about why the report really should be a priority over all the reports that we get. If you can’t think of a reason, we probably won’t be able to either.

Be persistent

We all have the best of intentions, but in a busy office emails do sometimes go unreplied to and phone calls unreturned. It normally isn’t personal so don’t feel timid about phoning or emailing the office to remind us about an article that might have been buried in the editor’s in-tray.

We often don’t reject articles outright because there are many articles that we would like to use but just don’t make it as the months pass. If we haven’t used your article after a few weeks, you may like to submit it for consideration to another publication like Friends Quarterly or Quaker Monthly – if you are doing this it would be helpful if you could let us know. We won’t take it personally either.


People are likelier to read articles which have a picture attached. Quakers are diffident souls, good at photographing backs of heads or distant dot-like figures. Get your victims talking and laughing together or with you, not standing in an embarrassed row. Most people are unenthusiastic about photographs of themselves eating. Colour prints are fine; unless you're an experienced black and white photographer, your results are likely to be much better (as well as being cheaper) in colour. Email is best (if it is a big file you can send it to but if you send prints, please label the photo with the name and address of the photographer and with the names of those in the picture.

Proof copies

We cannot send proof copies of reports to writers before use, so we ask you to trust us to present your report acceptably, even if we have had to cut it. You will be sent a complimentary copy of The Friend in which your report or photo appears.

Further information is available on the following topics:

Payment & Copyright
Report writing
Letters to the editor


This week's .pdf
In this week's online edition... rss edition

A testimony to Love
Judy Kirby, Editor
Circles of silence
Gerard Benson
A view of Quakers
David Wood
Testimony to peace
Helen Steven
Middle East witness
Ann Wright
Peace for all
Stephen Hanvey
Living the testimonies
Helen Drewery
Harvey Gillman
Testimony to Equality
Jonathan Dale
Committed relationships
Phil Lucas
Quaker thought in literature
Marina Lewycka
Quaker thought in poetry
Gerard Benson
Ros Smith
Marian Liebmann
Equality and social justice
Belinda Hopkins
Testimony to Simplicity
Jan Arriens and Marion McNaughton
Laurie Michaelis
Testimony to Truth
Linda Pegler
Integrity in public life
Tony Stoller

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