Contributor Policy

Focus Middle Tennessee Contributor Policy

Submitting your story as a contributor to Focus Middle Tennessee magazine:

Rules and guidelines for writers and photographers:

Attachments: Photo release, byline release

Please abide by our published deadlines for contributors.

Please identify yourself on all documents that are sent in by typing in your name and the date submitted at the top of your Word Document. Please give your electronic file a relevant name. For example, a story about birds might be saved as a .doc file as “Penguins_byJohnSmith”.

Submit your article as completely as you can:

  • Check name spellings, phone numbers, and web addresses
  • Support what you’ve written by using quotes from authorities in the field you’re discussing.
  • Get right to the point. The most important things come first. Less important things come after/last.

Writers should always expect that their story will be edited, including:

  • Spelling and grammar
  • Comprehension
  • Length (400-500 words is typically the word count for a one-page story)
  • Any reason necessary to fit our brand, deadlines, word count…anything

*Contributing writers must agree to this in writing before they can be considered a contributor.

**If writers prefer, they may forego using a byline on a story. In this case, the ‘Staff’ byline will be used and no credit will be given to the contributor on the story itself or on the contributor page on the masthead.

If a photo or image is submitted (by the story’s writer) to accompany a story, it must have a signed photo release attached with the image owner’s signature and their preferred photo credit stating that they give Focus Middle Tennessee magazine permission to use the photo, free of charge. If the photo does not have this authorization, we cannot use the image. Photo credit will be given adjacent to the photo as per the standard practice.

For commissioned photo contributions, photographers should put photo credit information in the File Info area of the electronic file. Also, please add a caption in this area and identify people and places in your image.

Focus Middle Tennessee considers photos that are commissioned to be work for hire and as such, we reserve the right to manipulate them as we see fit.

Anyone who wishes to use photos that we have commissioned must have the express written consent of both Focus Middle Tennessee magazine and the photographer. We do not charge for use of our images if we give consent, but it is expected that the photographer would be compensated. Arrangements for that would be made directly with the photographer, but only if our consent is given for use outside the magazine.

We guard our story ideas from other media outlets. Sharing stories before they have published puts at risk our ability to offer unique content, and it creates an opportunity for us to get ‘scooped’ (someone hears our story idea and gets it to press faster than we can). Please do not share your story with anyone before the story is published by the magazine. This includes showing it to friends, partners…anyone.


*this is part of the above section Contributor Policy

If you are a contributor to Focus Middle Tennessee magazine or, it is a given that you are passionate about the Middle Tennessee LGBT+ community: the good, the bad, and the in between. That being said, Focus Middle Tennessee magazine is in a unique position to influence public opinion; we take that responsibility very seriously.

Our goal is not to incite conflict, though sometimes, in circumstances where we speak on behalf of a cause that we support, we may do just that. Our stance as a magazine will always be connected to our overall vision and mission of social justice.

This responsibility extends to our contributors. We expect our contributors to behave professionally and with the utmost journalistic integrity across all platforms of communication including personal social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

We will always encourage you to be actively engaged in conversation about issues that affect the LGBT+ community. But as you can imagine, it would be impossible for us to convene a meeting with each contributor on every topic that is being discussed in the news or on social media to be sure that what you think and feel are the same things that Focus does. Therefore, we must ask that you refrain from representing the Focus name or brand during the course of your personal discourse and disputes, regardless of the subject.

What does this mean for you as a contributor? Simply stated:

  1. We reserve the right to maintain the integrity of the Focus Middle Tennessee brand
  2. We require that you not use our name or brand when stating your personal opinion

If Focus Middle Tennessee magazine feels that any of its contributors have violated this code of ethics, or continue to show public disrespect for any of our core groups, that contributor will not be allowed to submit content until the publisher and editor have had a chance to review the offense, and in his/her sole discretion feel that the matter has been resolved satisfactorily.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of this information, please send us an email directly to