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Submission Guidelines

Call for Pitches

The theme of our next issue (out in summer 2017) is endangered species and biodiversity conservation. What emerging scholarship is creating new understanding about endangered species and biodiversity? What interesting legal, political, and economic pressures are playing out related to species conservation? What are the conservation successes and failures for endangered species and conservation, and what do they teach us about ongoing efforts?

We’ll also consider story ideas about any subject relevant to natural resource management in our region for our Field Notes and Science Briefs sections.

Email your story idea, the angle you think it might take, and the reporting and storytelling approaches it could employ to Pitches should be no longer than 500 words. If you are a researcher, please mention in the email whether you would like to write the story, or if we should assign a writer to work with you on the story. In order to be considered for the upcoming issue, pitches must be received by noon on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Western Confluence editors and advisors will discuss and answer all pitches. View the full pitch call here.


The targeted audience for Western Confluence is the educated lay public including natural resource stakeholders, managers, and decision makers and interested citizens across the West. We present readers with unbiased, in-depth, and substantive articles that are meaningful and accessible. Writers must use plain language and compelling storytelling techniques rather than academic, overly dense, wonky, or jargon-filled writing.

Manuscript Preparation and Submission

Content Guidelines

Communicating science to a lay audience does not mean dumbing the content down. Rather, explain concepts in detail using a conversational voice as if you were describing your work and findings to your grandfather. Many readers are skeptical of scientific conclusions because they don’t understand how the researchers arrived at their results. Description of how a study resulted in any given conclusion is critical.

Take a big picture view and put the research or study into context. The opening of every article must convince the reader that what they are going to learn about is critical for the future of the environment or natural resources in the West. The rest of the article must help the reader understand how the issue is critical. The article might answer questions such as what events caused a need for this study, how did the conclusions of this study change what people previously thought about the issue, or how should the conclusions of this study influence the way people think about responding to this issue from here on out?

Western Confluence is interdisciplinary. Natural resource issues are inherently complex because they are affected by biology, geology, geography, culture, history, economics, aesthetics, and many other fields and values. Writers must expand discussion of any problem, issue, or topic to weigh these perspectives for true relevance to decision making in the real world.


You may include clear, succinct, meaningful graphic illustrations to convey concepts or datasets that explain the content of an article. Consider including maps, charts, graphs, or diagrams to clarify your story. Please keep in mind that the Western Confluence graphic designers may request data in specific formats in order to produce illustrations in the style of the magazine.

Writing Style Guidelines

  • Keep sentences short. This may require you to break up sentences into several parts.
  • Avoid technical terms. If a technical term must be used, define it.
  • Start sentences with a subject and verb rather than a qualifying clause.
  • Use active voice rather than passive voice. Say who is doing what. Any time you can help a reader visualize a person (or thing) undertaking an action, do so.
  • Do not use acronyms. (Exceptions can be made for a few very well known acronyms.)
  • Avoid long government agency names. Find a clearer way to explain what the entity is.
  • Include the most important references as endnotes using the Chicago Manual of Style as your guide.

How to submit

Please email your draft as an attached Word document to the editor at Include the author(s) name(s) and contact information and a one- to three-sentence byline describing the credentials of the author(s). List sources of funding for the research as well. Any supplemental information, such as additional figures, photographs, videos, or other items that complement the text, should be submitted as separate files.