HPC editorial policy: Got ideas?

HPC Editor-in-chief Jeff Sloan say, "I am often asked by composites professionals how they can get their stories published or submit article ideas for us to pursue." Here's his answer.

Flying home from the SAMPE 2012 show in May, I got into a conversation with the person seated next to me about 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.

Well, you don’t need to spend more than a few hours studying the composites industry to understand that the dynamism of 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 article ideas for us to pursue. The fact is that much of what we do as editors and writers is search for ideas, and we find them at trade shows, in press releases, in conversation with composites manufacturers, in discussion with suppliers, and in technical papers. Some ideas are e-mailed to us, some are called in, and some come from 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 how you can work with us here at HPC to turn an idea into a story.

Our mission: Here at HPC, 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, new products, new services, facility expansions and personnel promotions.

If you are opinionated: 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, every article in HPC is 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 your idea is in the form of 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 all of the major composites industry trade shows, including SAMPE and JEC. Stop by and see us.

HPC exists to serve you, but we need your input to keep it relevant and useful. We hope to hear from you.