Frequently Asked Questions about International Digest News


International Digest (ID) is IGW’s big bulletin board. It’s our best way of providing a brief, comprehensive and balanced snapshot of what’s going on in the professional. Striking that perfect balance can be tricky. Here are our responses to readers’ most frequently asked questions and comments about International Digest.

1. What’s the best way to submit news for International Digest?
2. We don’t have a regular contributor for IGW. What sources do you use when our association doesn’t send news in?
3. Sometimes only a portion of our news makes it in the Digest. Why don’t you publish everything we send?
4. Newspaper clippings I send in are rarely used. Why?
5. What criteria does IGW use to select stories for International Digest?
6. What can we do to make sure IGW publishes our agency or association’s biggest and best stories?
7. What is the deadline for submitting news?

 

1. What’s the best way to submit news for International Digest?
Be brief.
A summarized report of about 300 words works perfectly! Longer stories can sometimes be condensed to fit elsewhere in the magazine, but short blurbs can make the Digest section almost every time.
Send original material.  That doesn’t mean your writing has to be perfect or even in complete sentences. Bullet points or notes from an association meeting work just fine. Incident report summaries, personal comments or department press releases are also great. It’s best to avoid sending stories from newspapers if you don’t have reprint permission from them.
Include contact information.  It’s really tough to track down a source once it gets separated from the text. Please put your name, title and contact information on every submission.
Use electronic format.  If possible, send your story on a disk or as an email attachment. This is a big time saver.
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2. We don’t have a regular contributor for IGW. What sources do you use when our association doesn’t send news in?
a. Websites.
b. Federal, provincial and state press releases.
c. Agency magazines.
d. Association newsletters.
e. International news reports.
f. Organization updates.
“All of the above.” If we didn’t use all these sources, we would sometimes have only a handful of agencies, states or provinces represented.

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3. Sometimes only a portion of our news makes it in the Digest. Why don’t you publish everything we send?
We do our best to publish the news you take time to send us. Our number of contributions grows each issue, which means we have to condense most stories and leave some out. The news from just four or five agencies – if printed in full — would easily fill the entire Digest section.
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4. Newspaper clippings I send in are rarely used. Why?
This is usually due to one of three things: we can’t obtain reprint permission, we can’t seek permission because the name and date of the publication are omitted or the original source will charge a fee if we reprint the story.
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5. What criteria does IGW use to select stories for International Digest?
We listen to your feedback. We keep hearing that you want Digest to give you a broad snapshot of news and that you want to pick up ideas and techniques from other officers. That’s what guides us.
Balance:  we look at the volume of news we have from all sources, how significant and broad the content is and where in the world the news comes from so we can strike the best geographic and content balance.
Space:  we’re serving US states and territories, Canadian provinces and many international locations and we have only about 10 pages for the Digest section. For comprehensive and fair coverage, we have to edit and condense submissions.
Content:  it’s not unusual for us to receive several stories on the same topic. We may simply publish the first one submitted. We may choose the briefest and best written. We may combine several submissions to illustrate a trend.
Reprint Permission:  we are fortunate to have reprint agreements with many association and agency publications. We don’t have that luxury with other media, and we have to be careful about copyright infringement. All stories we use have to be original material, public domain or accompanied by reprint permission.
Source: we prefer to use news submitted by your agency or association rather than reports from outside sources.
Photos:  Stories that include print-quality photos are given some priority. A photo submitted with a good explanatory cutline could be as effective as a full story. This is also more likely to fit when space is really tight.
Format: stories submitted in print require retyping and can be time-prohibitive. Stories submitted electronically are preferred.
Timeliness:  as a quarterly magazine, our content is always somewhat dated by publishing time. We do, however, try to loosely base our content on seasons and we try to balance what’s most newsworthy with what’s current.
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6. What can we do to make sure IGW publishes our agency or association’s biggest and best stories?
Any kind of checklist or summary you can provide is welcome! Even if you don’t have time to write an entire update, you can send a note to us listing your state or association’s priority stories for the quarter. That will help us make smarter choices. We appreciate every IGW submission. We know it’s an effort to do your job and then go home and write about it. But readers tell us it’s worth the effort — they appreciate officers who go the extra mile to keep their colleagues informed.
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7. News submissions are due on the 15th of February, May, August and November, for the respective issue.