SIGNAL Writers Guide

Check out "The Secrets to Getting published in SIGNAL media. This PDF download answers many common questions about what we publish, how to get our attention, deadlines and processes.

SIGNAL Magazine is a professional news journal that provides an international forum to inform and educate readers. The magazine offers ideas, concepts and activities related to electronics as the building blocks for communications, intelligence and information systems subjects. The magazine's mission is to publish information about technologies, research and development, concepts, applications, programs and trends that information technology professionals will find interesting and helpful in their careers.

SIGNAL's editors are interested in news articles that delve into technology trends and applications. Although historical background material occasionally is important to put information in perspective, proposed articles should be about a cutting-edge technology, upcoming programs or new concepts, particularly those in the C4ISR arena. The articles should be 1,500 to 1,800 words in length and relate the trends and news events using a news-feature style rather than a promotional style or an academic format.

Articles featuring commanding generals or admirals or corporate CEOs or presidents are written by SIGNAL writers. For more information on our editorial process for executive level leadership, contact Maryann Lawlor. Professional writers with a story idea also should contact SIGNAL Magazine prior to beginning a story for publication consideration. (Publicists with a pitch for a story idea for SIGNAL writers should submit their pitches to Bob Ackerman.)

All others should submit the proposed article to Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine, 4400 Fair Lakes Court, Fairfax, VA 22033. Include telephone numbers and email addresses for all authors.

SIGNAL does not accept any story for consideration that awaits clearance by the proper authorities.

With these terms clearly expressed to the author(s) in advance, SIGNAL will assume that any story received from an author is cleared and ready to run.

Once SIGNAL receives a story, it will run it at a time and place of its own choosing. SIGNAL will not be subject to prior restraint by any government official or organization.

Any "clearance" issues with a story that already has been received and logged in by SIGNAL are the concern exclusively of the author(s).

All articles will be acknowledged upon receipt. The decision to publish an article will be made as quickly as possible; however this could take several weeks. The stories to be included in an upcoming issue are chosen on the 20th of each month approximately nine weeks prior to publication.

Articles proposed to SIGNAL from companies must be written by a program manager, technical expert or other individual involved in the technology or project. The final article must include input from the command or agency that is using the technology or in charge of the program.

While writing, it is very important that all authors read and adhere to style instructions VERY CAREFULLY. Submissions that do not follow this format are subject to extensive editing or return to the authors.

Technical information is welcome; however, it should be kept as generic as possible to appeal to SIGNAL's wide readership. If reference material is used, attribution must be included within the text of the article. DO NOT USE FOOTNOTES.


Lead: The first paragraph, or lead, should summarize the news of the story and why this information is important. It should be presented in concise language of no more than 40 words. Focus on what is going to happen rather than what has occurred. The key is to report something new—hence the term "news."

Bridge: The second paragraph is transitional and should put the news into perspective. It should draw the reader into the main components of the story.

Body: Material should be presented in an inverted pyramid style with the most important information first and details following. All opinions must be attributed to a source (not the writer). When referring to specific individuals, writers must use the full name, title and affiliation. If the source is a member of the military, rank and service branch must be included in the first reference, with rank and last name used in subsequent references. When individuals from companies, laboratories, commands or other organizations are quoted, they must be fully identified including their titles and the company affiliation as well as the city and state location of the firm.

SIGNAL adheres to a lower-case style, so writers should avoid capitalization whenever possible. If a program or system must be referred to formally, authors should switch to generic terms in subsequent references. In addition, all acronyms must be spelled out on first use. Although acronyms can be used in subsequent references, generic terms should be used when possible.

Articles can be sent in via e-mail or through regular mail on a CD. Microsoft Word is the preferred software format. Authors should query before sending in other formats.

Authors must provide three to four photographs and caption material to complement their stories. Photographs must be high resolution and may be 4-color or black and white. Acceptable formats: .tiff and .jpg. If photos are part of a PowerPoint presentation, provide the ORIGINAL photo. DO NOT EMBED PHOTOS WITHIN THE TEXT OF THE ARTICLE.

All authors of an article should provide a one- or two-sentence biographical sketch. This should include current position, company, government department or military assignment, and, if appropriate, rank and branch of service. Also, please note if the authors would like their email addresses included in the biographical sketch. Authors who would like to receive a copy of the issue that includes the published article must provide a mailing address. This information will not be published in the article.

After-edit review
SIGNAL reserves the right to edit all articles for consistency, clarity and style. The editors make every effort to work closely with the authors during the editing process. Authors who wish to review the final version of the article may proofread edited copy at the AFCEA headquarters building in Fairfax, Virginia. Neither printed nor electronic copies of edited articles will be released prior to publication. Authors may proofread edited articles for fact-checking purposes only, not for style or format revisions. Authors who are unable to travel to the AFCEA headquarters can have the article reviewed with them over the telephone. Requests to review articles, either at the AFCEA building or via the telephone, should be directed to Maryann Lawlor.

SIGNAL uses only original work. It is the author's responsibility to inform SIGNAL Magazine if the article has been previously published or is being considered by another publication. The author is entirely responsible for the accuracy of all material submitted, including names, places, references, facts and quotations. SIGNAL reserves the right to copyright all published material. This does not preclude an author from republishing the material provided the proper copyright credit is given to SIGNAL. Requests should be directed to the associate publisher, Beverly Cooper.

A copyright agreement letter will be sent to each author prior to publication. Articles authored by government officials on government time cannot be granted copyright.

From time to time, SIGNAL receives requests to purchase reprints of an article. SIGNAL reserves the right to arrange for reprints of articles without remuneration to the author.

Maryann Lawlor, director, e-newsletters and directories (703) 631-6179 (all outside authors)

Last updated: 6/8/2012
"SIGNAL: Reading Loud and Clear."