CT editorial: Got ideas?

CT editor-in-chief Jeff Sloan pulls back the veil from CT’s story acquisition policy for those with a story to tell.
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On the plane home from a recent trade show, the person seated next to me asked what I do for a living. After I explained, he looked a little puzzled and wondered how we could find enough to write about. “Don’t you run out of ideas?” he asked.

It takes no more than a few hours of study to understand that the dynamics of composite design, materials, tooling and manufacturing provides very fertile ground for a variety of potential stories. So much so, in fact, that I am often asked by composites professionals how they can get their stories published or submit their ideas for us to pursue. Much of what we do as editors and writers is gather ideas, and we find them at trade shows, in press releases and technical papers, and in conversations with composites manufacturers and their suppliers. Some ideas are e-mailed to us, some are called in, and some come through our advertising sales staff.
Still, this is likely a mysterious process if you’re looking from the outside in. So, herewith, I offer guidelines for working with us here at CT to turn an idea into a story.

Our mission: Here at CT, job one is to gather information from throughout the composites industry about how manufacturers are using software, materials and equipment to make quality composite parts, and then turn that information into reliable articles that are disseminated online and in print.

What we look for: We have a variety of story types, ranging from news to new products to full-blown features. For our stories, we look for creative problem-solving in design and manufacturing, creative use of existing materials in new ways, use of new materials in ways both old and new, applications of new technology, emerging technologies, emerging markets, new or evolving manufacturing processes, case histories and more.

Have an opinion?: It’s one thing for us to take an idea and turn it into a story, but some our best writing is not done by us. It comes from people throughout the composites supply chain who have an opinion to share about trends in technology, materials, markets, facility management and manufacturing — basically, if you have thoughts to share about any aspect of composites manufacturing, we are all ears.

What we don’t do: We are often asked if we can simply print a technical paper or manuscript authored by someone else. Unless it’s an opinion piece, articles in CT are staff-written. A manuscript or technical paper can provide the foundation for a story, but it will not be the story.

Get in touch: At the end of the day, the best way to test your story idea is to run it by us. Whether you’ve got a 10-page technical paper or notes scribbled on a napkin, we can take almost any good concept and shape it into a publishable article. Start by giving us a call or by sending an e-mail. I can be reached at jeff@compositesworld.com or (719) 242-3330. You also can send a note to pr@compositesworld.com. Messages sent to this address are received by me and technical editor Sara Black. Don’t forget that we exhibit at major composites industry trade shows, including those hosted by JEC and ACMA. Stop by and see us.

CT exists to serve you, but we need your input to keep what we do relevant and useful. We hope to hear from you.