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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-03-074

Communications Reference Guide

Chapter 7—Guidelines for Periodicals

Public Roads, R&T Transporter, FOCUS, and several other FHWA periodicals provide unique vehicles for presenting the latest news on your program to the transportation community. The following descriptions give details on the purpose, audience, format, circulation, submission guidelines, technical review, style, policies, and schedule of each periodical.

Public Roads Magazine

Purpose

To inform and promote advances and innovations in transportation research and technology, critical national transportation issues, important activities and achievements of FHWA and others in the highway community, specific FHWA program areas, and subjects of interest to highway industry professionals.

Audience

Federal, State, municipal, and foreign transportation officials, planners, and researchers; association leaders; engineering professors and students; transportation reporters and trade media representatives; and members of Congress.

Format and Issue

64-page magazine published bimonthly by FHWA.

Circulation

6,000 copies.

Submission Guidelines

Contributors to Public Roads include Federal, State, and local governments; transportation industry organizations; associations; and academic institutions. To publish your proposed article in Public Roads:

  • Contact the managing editor before you begin writing to discuss the concept and scope of the article.

  • Focus articles on the significance of the project or subject, results of research and/or lessons learned, and the applicability of these lessons learned to other States and agencies.

  • Incorporate between 2,000 and 2,400 words with about 10 photographs per article.

  • Include each author's name, professional title, employer/organization/office, mailing address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address.

  • Include a biographical paragraph (100 words or less) for each author. See a recent copy of Public Roads for examples.

  • Submit high-quality photographs (35 mm prints preferred), electronic images (300 dpi or higher at a minimum of 4 by 6 inches), or illustrations with proper captions and photo/source credits. Generally, submit 2 graphics, photos, or illustrations for every 600 words (about 10 per article).

  • Include names of approving officials (office director or supervisor) for the technical and policy content of your article.

Reviews

  • For article submissions by employees or contractors for USDOT, office directors must endorse the article for technical accuracy and policy requirements (i.e., the article is consistent with USDOT policies and positions, it addresses possible sensitivities, and it is appropriate for mass dissemination).

  • Articles submitted by authors outside FHWA will be reviewed by FHWA experts to evaluate merit and technical accuracy.

  • After edits, all articles will go through the following final reviews: author, technical and policy, and Office of Public Affairs/Office of the Secretary of Transportation.

Style

  • Public Roads uses plain English and follows the GPO Style Manual and The Chicago Manual of Style.

  • Public Roads contains six regular departmental segments that provide information on topics of general interest, abstracts of new FHWA-sponsored research projects, notices of recent publications in RD&T, Internet-related information of interest to transportation professionals, and a calendar of major conferences and special events in the transportation industry.

  • Public Roads communicates through a balance of text and visual elements—photographs, charts, graphs, and other illustrations. Electronic images should be high-resolution (300 dpi at 4 by 6 inches or greater); the preferred electronic formats are .tif, .jpg, or .eps. Photographs and graphics should not be embedded in the text file. Save them on a disk as separate files. Include a signed model release form for photos of children, adults, or contractors not employed by a Federal or State agency. Ask HRTM for a model release form if your agency does not provide one.

  • Submissions should include captions for photographs, tables, figures, and other illustrations.

  • Authors should cite the sources for all tables and figures and place a description of their content within the text (close to the area that the table or figure will appear in the article).

  • Public Roads does not use footnotes or endnotes. Use an abbreviated citation for references to quoted materials and publications within the text and include the name of the organization that published the material (e.g., "FHWA's Corporate Management Plan" or "the Indiana DOT How to Construct a Highway in 20 Days report").

  • Facts should be credited to appropriate agencies, preferably government agencies, or credible industry sources. For example, "The Federal Highway Administration indicates that..." or "According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, ..."

  • Please check the spellings of the names and titles of people, organizations, companies, products, and publications. Also, check company and product names for appropriate trademark and service marks. Use private company and/or contractor names only if they are necessary (discuss the technology/innovations, instead) to avoid the appearance of endorsing a private company or product.

  • Measurements shall be expressed in metric units, which may be followed by English units in parentheses (for example, 3 meters (9.5 feet) long).

Schedule

The magazine is distributed every other month with submissions due approximately 4.5 months before publication date: July (deadline: February 15); September (deadline: April 15); November (deadline: June 15); January (deadline: August 15); March (deadline: October 15); and May (deadline: December 15).

Key Contact

Dawn Vanlandingham, managing editor, 202–493–3198, dawn.vanlandingham@fhwa.dot.gov.

R&T Transporter Newsletter

Purpose

To promote, showcase, and share FHWA R&T program information and report on projects, activities, accomplishments, technology transfer, training, and technical assistance.

Audience

FHWA (divisions, Resource Center, and offices), State highway agencies, local governments, academia, and others in the transportation community.

Format and Issue

Eight-page newsletter, issued monthly by FHWA's Office of RD&T.

Circulation

3,200 copies.

Submission Guidelines

  • The R&T Transporter accepts articles from FHWA employees and contract employees (under an FHWA employee byline) about 6 to 8 weeks before publication.

  • Submit a brief article, three to seven paragraphs long (about one page and one-third of a page in Microsoft Word format.

  • Articles should be accompanied by supporting visuals such as photographs, line art, and drawings (black-and-white photographs preferred over color). Include a photo or graphic (electronic files resolution must be 300 dpi or greater) with corresponding caption and photo credit. Include a signed model release form for photos of children, adults, or contractors not employed by a Federal or State agency. Ask HRTM for a model release form if your agency does not provide one.

  • Submit the complete manuscript/illustration package to: R&T Transporter Managing Editor (HRTM), Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Room F-204, 6300 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22101-2296. Text and electronic images can be e-mailed to martha.soneira@fhwa.dot.gov.

Technical Review

Every article in the newsletter must be technically accurate, contain information that "adds to the body of knowledge," be consistent with Agency policies and positions, and be accompanied by an FHWA contact name. Every article also must be endorsed by the author's supervisor and reviewed by the applicable office director.

Style

The R&T Transporter follows the GPO Style Manual to present information on technical topics in a brief, readable format. Articles should be no more than 500 words.

The specifications for manuscripts include:

  • After you have your readers' attention with the title, the first paragraph of an R&T Transporter article introduces a recognized transportation problem, safety issue, etc. In a few sentences, it sets the stage for why specific research or a study is necessary and lets readers know how the solution might benefit the transportation community and/or society. The first and second paragraphs should list enough information that a manager or administrator can get the gist of the research or event without having to read the rest of the article.

  • Subsequent paragraphs can include, in plain English, technical discussions, a history of the project or program, etc.

  • Concluding paragraph should state how readers can get further information, or what action they should take to participate.

  • The article text may be submitted on an 88.9-mm (3.5-inch) computer disk using an IBM®-compatible Microsoft Word file format (97 or higher version), on a CD-ROM, or via an e-mail to the managing editor.

  • Authors should cite the sources for all tables and figures and place a description of their content within the text (close to the area that the table or figure will appear in the article).

  • Normally, R&T Transporter does not use footnotes or endnotes. Use an abbreviated citation for references to quoted materials and publications within the text and include the name of the organization that published the material (e.g., "FHWA's Corporate Management Plan" or "the Indiana DOT How to Construct a Highway in 20 Days report").

  • Facts should be credited to appropriate agencies, preferably government agencies, or credible industry sources. For example, "The Federal Highway Administration indicates that..." or "According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, ..."

  • Authors/writers should check the spellings of names or titles of people, organizations, companies, products, and publications. Also, check company and product names for appropriate trademark and service marks. Use private company and/or contractor names only if they are necessary (discuss the technology/innovations, instead) to avoid the appearance of endorsing a private company or product.

  • Measurements shall be expressed in metric units, which may be followed by English units in parentheses. For figures and tables, if the English equivalent units are necessary, provide them in the legend.

  • Text must include an FHWA contact name for further information, telephone number, and e-mail address. (If the information on who to contact for further information is the same as the FHWA contact information, the article can conclude with "For further information, please contact....").

Policies

Because the review process includes article endorsement by the author's supervisor and review by office directors, any policy issues should be noted and handled at that point. HRTM forwards articles to FHWA's Office of Public Affairs for review.

Schedule

The newsletter is distributed on or about the 10th of each month. The deadline for manuscripts and illustrations is generally the first Friday of each month. For example, the June 2001 newsletter was distributed on June 7, and articles were due May 4.

Key Contact

Martha Soneira, managing editor, 202–493–3468, martha.soneira@fhwa.dot.gov.

Focus Newsletter

Purpose

To accelerate implementation of FHWA infrastructure innovations. By promoting these programs and projects, FOCUS can help advance the strategic goals and overall communication strategies to improve quality, safety, and service.

Audience

Managers or technical experts from State, Federal, and local agencies; consulting firms; academia; and material supply firms.

Format and Issue

Eight-page newsletter published monthly by FHWA's Office of Infrastructure.

Circulation

10,000 copies.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit an article idea involving infrastructure-related topics of interest to a national audience. Topics may include bridge technology, pavement technology, asset management, and program administration; and technologies developed under the Strategic Highway Research Program, such as Superpave,® anti-icing/road weather information system strategies, and work zone safety products. Background notes or technical papers also may be submitted to write the story.

  • Provide contact information for a technical expert who can be interviewed by the editor to develop the idea into a story.

  • Provide a photo or graphic (electronic files at greater than 300 dpi) with corresponding caption.

  • Submit the complete manuscript/illustration package to: FOCUS Managing Editor (HRTM), Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Room F-204, 6300 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22101-2296. Text and electronic images can be e-mailed to zac.ellis@fhwa.dot.gov.

Technical Review

An editorial board was established to develop editorial policy, review articles, guide the content, and champion infrastructure technology communications across FHWA. The editorial board meets monthly, and members include a technical representative from each program area in the Office of Infrastructure, several technical representatives from the Office of Infrastructure R&D, and a publishing specialist from HRTM.

Reviews are performed for technical accuracy and policy adherence by the editorial board, article contact, and an FHWA technical expert. Depending on the topic, others also might review an article.

Style

  • The article topics are targeted to tie in with regularly scheduled events, such as the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) annual, regional, and subcommittee meetings; the Transportation Research Board's (TRB) annual meetings; and special events, such as training courses, workshops, and conferences. Some newsletter issues are designated as "special issues" to cover other important activities and concerns within the transportation community.

  • Articles are usually no more than 700 words (approximately 3 double-spaced typed pages). Supporting photographs and illustrations are important, and most articles have at least one.

  • The newsletter regularly features "In Brief," which is a monthly column about various infrastructure products, news, and technology innovations that are important to the readers. Also printed in every issue is the "Highway Technology Calendar," which lists important upcoming events.

  • Facts should be credited to appropriate agencies, preferably government agencies, or credible industry sources. For example, "The Federal Highway Administration indicates that..." or "According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, ..."

  • Authors/writers should check the spellings of names and titles of people, organizations, companies, products, and publications. Also, check company and product names for appropriate trademark and service marks. Use private company and/or contractor names only if they are necessary (discuss the technology/innovations, instead) to avoid the appearance of endorsing a private company or product.

  • Measurements shall be expressed in metric units, which may be followed by English units in parentheses. For figures and tables, if English equivalent units are necessary, provide them in the legend.

  • Each article should mention at least one contact person so that the reader can get additional information as needed.

Policies

The endorsing office director should identify any issues regarding adherence to USDOT policies. The article may be forwarded to FHWA's Office of Public Affairs for review.

Schedule

The newsletter is distributed and posted on or about the 15th of each month. Story ideas should be submitted to the editor 3 months in advance of the target issue. For example, if you would like an article published in the August issue of the newsletter, submit your story idea to the editor in May.

Key Contact

Zachary Ellis, managing editor, 202–493–3193, zac.ellis@fhwa.dot.gov.

Weekly Report to the Secretary

Purpose

A weekly electronic compilation of brief news stories on national, significant, and controversial events happening within FHWA.

Audience

FHWA, Secretary of Transportation, Congress, and White House. The full version is released FHWA-wide via e-mail, and a shorter version is sent to the Secretary, Congress, and the White House.

Format

Articles should be timely, brief, and written in paragraph format. They should include a date to enable placement of items in the "Key News," "Week Ahead," or "Week in Review" categories.

Deadline

The deadline for the Weekly Report to the Secretary is 12 p.m. every Wednesday.

Key Contact

E-mail: Zachary Ellis, zac.ellis@fhwa.dot.gov, with a copy to martha.soneira@fhwa.dot.gov.

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