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MG World

MG World

Address:      MG World
                      PO Box 163
                      Bicester OX6 3YS
                      United Kingdom

Tel:               01869 340061 
Fax:              01869 340063 

Web Site:    www.chpltd.com

Contact:       Philip Raby, Editor
Email:          mgworld@chp.ltd.uk

 

MG World is keen to find GOOD writers and (particularly) photographers in North America. We like potential contributors to get in touch before sending completed work.

Notes for Contributors

These notes are sent to all contributors and potential contributors to MG World. Please take the time to read them carefully and refer to them as you write. Following these guidelines makes your job easier as well as ours. And if your copy does not require much subbing, we are more likely to use you again!

What is MG World?

MG World is a high-quality publication aimed at everyone with an interest in MG cars. 

More about the target readership 

Unlike other MG publications, MG World is designed to appeal to a wide range of readers; from keen and knowledgeable enthusiasts who already own one or more MGs, to those who want to know more about this historic marque. 

This means that everything in the magazine has to include enough detailed information to keep the informed reader happy, while not forgetting that other people may know little about the MG marque and want to learn more. It appears that the MGB is by far the most popular car, but that does not mean that other models should be ignored. The MGF in particular has a good presence at shows, as do many of the prewar models. First impressions are that the average MG owner is middle-aged with a reasonable income. 

MG World is sold worldwide. The USA and Australia are both important markets. 

The style of MG World

Before writing for MG World, do your research and read the current issue carefully so that you know what we require. To enable MG World to appeal both to the novice and enthusiast, each feature should be given ‘added value.’ This means that the story must have a relevant theme or ‘angle’ – the fact that you are writing about an MG or MG-related subject is not enough. 

Always include panels and sidebars that give extra information. For instance, in a feature on an RV8 owner, include a short history of the car’s development. Or an article on an historic rally car could have a box entitled ‘How to get into historic rallying’, telling the reader what is involved and giving details of relevant organisations. The important thing is to include as much information as possible so that people are not left yearning for more – don’t assume that readers know as much as you do. For instance, in a feature on an MG enthusiast, include the person’s age and occupation. 

Features should be written in an easy-going, up-to-date style that will appeal to all age groups. Remember that the magazine is sold all over the world and is read by people for whom English is not their first language. Avoid country-specific slang or jargon. Write stories in the present tense (unless they are historical) so that the reader feels really involved. For instance, say: ‘As we drive through the Cotswolds we discover that the MGF accelerates well in third gear. Not: ‘As we drove through the Cotswolds we discovered that the MGF accelerated well in third gear.’ Try to include quotes from interviewees or other sources where relevant. Not only does this liven up a piece, it also adds an air of credibility. 

Do ensure that your facts are correct. Don’t be ashamed to send a copy of the finished text to the car owner or company involved and ask for their comments. Most interviewees will be flattered by the attention to detail and few will want to significantly alter the tone or content of the piece. We have to assume that all copy we receive is accurate and not libellous. 

Submitting material

MG World does not accept unsolicited material. However, we are happy to discuss ideas for articles. 

MG World is produced on Apple Macintosh computers which are able to read most file formats. Obviously, Mac-generated features are preferred (using Word or ClarisWorks if possible). If you must use Windows, articles should be saved as Text (ASCII) files. Material should submitted on floppy disk, or as an email attachment (but not as the body of an email message). A hard copy should also be enclosed. Note that styles such as bold and italic, as well as accents, may be lost when we translate files. Make a note on your hard copy to draw our attention to such things. We are unable to accept material that is not available in a digital format. 

Proper names 

• MG – no full stops

• Where possible, sentences should be constructed to avoid clumsy plurals such as MGs, MGBs, RV8s. If you do pluralise a name don’t use an apostrophe; MG’s indicates possession.

• For variety, it is acceptable to shorten model names thus: ’B (MGB) or ’F (MGF), but don’t overdo this, and ensure that you start off by referring to the car in full.

• Companies are singular, not plural. Use ‘Rover has launched a new MG’, not ‘Rover have launched a new MG’.

• Use italics for names of books, films and so on. For instance, ‘The book MG The Untold Story is worth reading’.

Technical terms

• Engine sizes: 2-litre with hyphen and no space. Use 2000cc (no space or full stops) only where historically appropriate or in engine specifications.

• Speed: Use miles-per-hour in preference to kilometres. Write as 120mph (no space or full stops).  Same for 35mpg.

• Use V8, not vee eight or vee 8.

• Use 4-cylinder (hyphenated) not four cylinder. 

Abbreviations

• Avoid unless well-known. It is acceptable to use common technical abbreviations, but qualify when first mentioned. For example; ‘limited slip differential (LSD)’. Avoid errors such as ‘LSD differential’.

• Do not use full points; write LSD not L.S.D.

• Never use lazy abbreviations such as etc, eg, or &.

• Use 20 seconds, not 20 secs.

Addresses and telephone numbers

If you are giving an address of a company, put it at the end of the main feature or in a side-box. Avoid giving an address in the main body of an article. Use the following format: MG World, PO Box 163, Bicester OX6 3YS; Tel: 01869 340061; Fax: 01869 340063; email: mgworld@chp.ltd.uk 

Note the use of colons and semicolons, and that there are no carriage returns. Use the correct postal address; in the UK you do not need to give the county as well as the postal town; avoid writing Bristol, Avon. Never abbreviate county names. Give email and website addresses if available – more and more people are using the internet – but ensure that they are written in the correct format. 

Telephone numbers: In the UK write; 01869 340061 for six-figure numbers and 0181-321 1234 for seven-figure numbers. Follow the style of the country for overseas numbers. Please check that all telephone numbers and addresses are correct before submitting an article. 

General Numbers

• One to nine written as words (except technical figures such as engine sizes) 10 upwards as figures. Use commas in numbers such as £23,000 but not four-digit numbers such as 2384. Avoid starting a sentence with a number, but if you have to, write it out in full.

• Dates: Always in full with the day first. For example: 20th September 1997.

• Years: Use 1980s (no apostrophe), not the ’80s or the eighties.

• Bullet points: Type l-tab in word processor.

• Note the difference between it’s (the contraction of it is) and its.

• Em dashes: Type Option-dash on Macintosh to produce a long em dash. Use these with a single letter space each side to indicate a parenthetical sub-clause within a sentence. Remember that a sub-clause requires an em dash at each end. An em dash should also be used to indicate a range, for instance; 0–60mph (no letter spaces).

• Compound adjectives: Use a hyphen (not em dash) to link adjectives only to avoid ambiguity. For instance, there’s a difference between a light green car (one that doesn’t weigh much) and a light-green car (which is painted a light shade of green). If an adverb ends in ‘ly’ do not hyphenate. For instance; brightly coloured car.

• Compound nouns: Be guided by common usage. For instance, we would use air-conditioning, but airbag. 

• Quotations: “Use double smart quotation marks for speech.” Use single smart quotation marks for quotes within quotes. 

• Sentences: Do not use double letter spaces between sentences.

• Paragraphs: Use double carriage return without a tab.

• Captions: Supply captions to photographs and diagrams where possible. Use full point at the end of a caption.

• Editing notes [Use square brackets for notes indicating start of panels, headings etc].

• Hopefully: To say ‘Hopefully, Rover will launch a new MG’ suggests that the car company will launch a car in a hopeful manner. Not only is this grammatically incorrect, it’s also a bit lame – who’s doing the hoping?

• General Style rules: As The Economist Style Book. We also recommend Fowler’s Modern English Usage and The Oxford Plain English Guide.SpellingSpellings are generally as Oxford English Dictionary, but note the following:

• Brake caliper, not calliper

• Realise, specialise and socialise etc with an S not a Z

• Use among and while, not amongst and whilst

Specification panels

Most features on a car carry a specification panel; look at the current issue to see how these are used. Always supply specifications in the following order: Body type Engine Capacity Bore/stroke Compression ratio (xx.x:1) Maximum power Maximum torque Output per litre Power-to-weight ratio Transmission Suspension Brakes Wheels Tyres Dimensions (in millimetres) Length Width Height Wheelbase Weight (in kilograms) Performance (in miles-per-hour) Maximum speed 0-60mph Fuel consumption Price (in local currency) Note: No full point at the end of specification sections. Leave blank anything you are not sure about – it is essential that all information is accurate. 

Photography

Most photography for MG World is commissioned. We are happy to hear from professional car photographers. Many car photographers shoot the same types of picture again and again. We’re looking for something different. If you can impress us with stunning, adventurous and exciting shots, there’s a good chance we’ll use you again! 

We normally brief photographers before a shoot. This ensures that you take the type of shots we are looking for and so saves wasting film. Our budget for photography is tight and we are unable to justify photographers who use large amounts of film.  

To give the magazine an up-to-date, dynamic feel, all photo shoots should include action shots – from the roadside; from another vehicle; or from inside the featured car. Static shots can be made more adventurous with creative use of camera angles. Unless it particularly suits the subject, avoid using country houses as backgrounds – it’s been done to death! Shoot as many details of the car as possible, including engine, interior, boot, wheels, badges and so on. Again, be creative with camera angles and lighting to create eye-catching shots. Photographs of the owner with his/her car are important. But avoid shots of owners standing smugly next to their cars. Be imaginative and come up with stunning portraits. Pay attention to detail. Remove tax discs and other stickers from the car, and make sure that the vehicle is immaculate, with headrests and sun visors lined up. Tyres should be blackened and aerials retracted where possible. You may be asked to shoot a cover shot. This should be portrait format with a plain background to receive the logo (top left) and cover lines. Action shots of a brightly coloured car or cars are preferred for covers. Refer to a recent issue to see the layout. Many features in the magazine use photographs large as double-page spreads with text over. For these we require stunning landscape format images with room for copy. Ideally, 120 film should be used, although 35mm is more than acceptable for many shots. Discuss with the Editor what is required. Film should be fine-grained transparency, such as Fuji Velvia. Photographs and other irreplaceable material should be sent by secure mail: check with your Post Office. We accept no responsibility for material in our possession. Do not send photographs via email; they clog up the system and are rarely of sufficient resolution for reproduction. 


Information last updated 3 August 1999
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© 1999 G. McLaren. All rights reserved. 
  Worldwide Freelance Writer  http://worldwidefreelance.tripod.com/
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