Before You Write:
Contact us about any event you would like to cover. We don't accept news articles unless the coverage is cleared in advance by Assignments Editor Sharon Rose ([email protected]). Either you or the secretary must PROVIDE US WITH TYPED SUMMARIES OF THE ENTIRE COMPETITION. Summaries must include a list of champions and reserves and first through third places in each class, horse and owner or rider.
All news stories should be sent to the Chronicle via email to [email protected]. Again, NO UNSOLICITED NEWS ARTICLES WILL BE ACCEPTED.
News Stories: In general, they are due in the office by 9:00 a.m., Eastern time, Friday (5 days) following the competition. Some special stories have a deadline of Wednesday (3 days) following the competition. Correspondents will be notified of this shorter deadline on an individual basis. Writers whose stories arrive ahead of deadline (by 4:00 p.m. Thursday or earlier) will receive an extra $25. Those that arrive after the deadline will be paid $25 less. Steeplechase Races: The report is due on the Tuesday following the race meet.
Begin with the lead:
Open with the most important or unusual fact, usually the most important winner, but not necessarily. If a 60-year-old man wins a preliminary horse trial, or 15 riders fall off in the grand prix, consider putting that in the first paragraph. By the end of the first two paragraphs, include the full name of the competition, the location (city and state) and the date.
Continue with interesting material:
DO NOT SUMMARIZE THE RESULTS IN SENTENCE FORM. The summaries serve this purpose. Instead, add information about the winners. With whom do they train? How long have they had the horse? Do they have an unusual method or interest? Where do they live? What piques your curiosity will pique our readers'. ALWAYS INCLUDE HOMETOWNS (and ages, when possible).
Quotes make a news story. Finding winners and chatting with them about their horses and their lives is one of the most pleasurable parts of the business. Make sure you get quotes accurately.
DO NOT talk about the awful weather or the lovely footing unless they had a significant influence on the outcome. People who weren't there don't care and the people who were there already know.
Throughout the story:
Be complete. Include important data such as judges' names and the complete names of horse, rider, and owner. Check and recheck facts, especially scores, times and name spellings. We trust you to be accurate.
News stories should generally be around 1,500 words. Certain major competitions can warrant 2,000 to 2,500 words. Nothing should ever exceed 2,500 words.
A note on photographs:
We always welcome photos. If you don't feel confident taking them yourself, ask the event photographer to send shots of the winners (with horses and riders identified) directly to us. Make sure the photographer knows our deadlines (same as the story). Please tell us from whom we can expect photos. They can be sent to [email protected] or The Chronicle of the Horse, PO Box 46, Middleburg, VA 20118 or 108 The Plains Road, Middleburg, VA 20117.