Voices: How to Contribute
Make your voice heard: Have an idea for how to make downtown more bike friendly? Are you a burger aficionado and want to rank your favorites 1–10? Or, want to weigh in on why it's time to rethink public transportation? Great!
We’re publishing articles from you, on our platform, then pushing them out to our rapidly growing audience. Learn about our readership here.
What we’re looking for:
- Local life. We want to hear your first person experience about topics that are affecting the Lakeland community – the type of conversations you’d have with your neighbor. We’re looking for hyper local content.
- Passion pieces. Write what you know. Are you an expert about a subject that relates to your city? Have a strong opinion about a controversial topic? Do you have a first-person story that needs to be told? Voices contributors can take a particular stance on current issues, but content should be respectful, localized, and create opportunities for constructive and positive dialogue.
- Experiential articles. Do you have a unique job or see the city in a different way because you just moved here? Just what we’re looking for.
- Visuals. Consider putting together a photo essay of Lakeland's oldest buildings or a roundup of your favorite Insta-worthy murals. Photographs should be high-quality, themed, with clear captions – and you must be the photographer or have received permission for to share the pictures.
- On brand. If you’ve read our work, you know that LALtoday aims to encourage productive, positive, and solutions-oriented conversations. We also celebrate and encourage diversity of thought and a wide range of interests. All published content must adhere to our Editorial Ethics Policy, found here.
- Reliable, trustworthy, and factually correct. We’re here to educate and activate – so we do have to ensure what’s being published is credible. For some topics (for example, healthcare) that may mean you need to indicate that you are an expert or professional in that field.
- This isn’t a place for self promo or press releases. Send those to [email protected]. For questions about advertising, click here.
- We also refrain from publishing political endorsements. This includes any submissions that endorse, oppose, or are otherwise intended to influence readers’ opinions of candidates.
- Still not sure where to get started? Check out some examples of published Voices pieces here.
Let’s talk logistics:
- 100 words minimum, 400 words maximum. Pieces should be short but substantive – think a news or opinion piece rather than a comment. We’ll publish longer submissions, but try to keep that word count down.
- Links + details to provide more context. This can include social media or in-person quotes from others.
- Photos. The more the more the better (video, too). If you didn’t take the photos or videos yourself, it is your responsibility to ensure LALtoday has permission to use the imagery before you submit it. You’ll also need to let us know who to credit.
How to get started:
- Fill out the form below with your name and social handles (if available). You can ask to be identified by your pen name or as an anonymous author – just indicate this preference in the Bio or Article Copy section.
- Upload your text + photos. Be sure we have permission to use the photos + tell us how to credit them, if you didn’t take them yourself.
- Our goal is to get back to you within five days. In the case that we don’t publish your piece or we would like you to edit your submission at all, we’ll let you know.
- Questions or comments? Email [email protected] with the subject Voices.
The fine print:
- We reserve the right to make edits, such as shortening, grammar and punctuation, or clarification.
- If you choose not to include a Featured Story Photo that meets our photo specifications, our team will select a photo at our discretion to be used with your piece.
- Not everything that is published on our website will be featured in our daily newsletter or on social media. The more it fits in with our brand, the more likely we are to publish it across all platforms.
- We refrain from cross-posting content – so if your piece is already published on another blog or site, we would encourage you to share the link with us for potential inclusion.
- We are currently not offering compensation for Voices content.
- If you have a killer idea for an ongoing contributor series, pitch us and send in content links to our contact page. We’re constantly looking for great regular contributors. This content may involve compensation from time to time.
- We will not own content you submit, however, we have the right to repost and re-publish with attribution.
- All the other fine print can be found here.