Style Guide

PPJ Style Guide for Writers

Submission Specifications:

  • Topic: Topics should be linked to a political issue or policy concern, preferably related to the monthly theme.  Arguments should be based on or grounded in academic research or other quasi-academic/journalistic sources. If unsure about a topic of interest, email publicpurposejournal@gmail.com before writing and an editor will help you frame the idea or green light the writing process. We aim to post weekly on Fridays – check with your editor on the exact publication date.
  • Domestic and international thematic interests are welcome. Articles examining policy issues abroad, cross-national comparisons, or differing governmental responses to a shared concern, are all appropriate. 
  • There is no temporal requirement. If you are interested in examining the implications of a policy, law, or political moment and how the consequences remain, that can provide a fascinating look into how history informs a current policy debate. 
  • Current events are welcome. If there is an ongoing public debate around an event that is situated in your field of expertise or interest, feel free to write a commentary. All points of view are welcome and accepted.
  • Audience: Articles should assume a comprehension level similar to readers of the New York Times Politics Section and the Washington Post World section. Articles do not have to appeal solely to other academics or other experts in this policy area. If there are specific terms or jargon that the general public may not know or that the definition is often misunderstood, please define these key terms. The Public Purpose allows people and other graduate students without expertise in this area to learn about a current policy debate or pressing political issue. It should be accessible and intelligently written.
  • Length: Articles should range from about 500 words to about 1200 words. This is the equivalent of 1.5 pages to 3.5 pages single-spaced.

Format:

The Article should include: (Below are some guiding questions- they do not have to be answered in the article but are provided to assist in framing complex topics into a succinct argument for online publication)

  • Introduction to the context surrounding the policy, issue, event, etc. being analyzed
    • Why is this happening now? Why write about it now? How has the media addressed this issue? Who is bringing it into the public sphere, or who isn’t but should be? Is there a perspective or analysis that is missing?
  • A brief summary of the policy, issue, event (1-2 paragraphs): What is it- policy, law, federal, state, hearing, case, etc.? When was it introduced? When will it be up for a vote/ when was it passed? What happened- to the best of your knowledge and research? Who are the key political players? Who is affected by this?
  • The argument of the article: Why does this matter? Who should care? Who can help? What can help? What about this needs to be changed, fixed? What are we not seeing, that you, as an expert, are?
  • Sources: Sources are cited via hyperlink. Keep the URLs for the pages you gather information from. Then hyperlink the 1-3 words in the sentence which the page informed. To hyperlink, highlight a word, right click and select link/hyperlink and paste the URL into the bar. Sources should range in type, primary, secondary, academic, opinion, etc., and will be vetted by your editor.
  • Images: When you submit an article, please include a picture that represents the content of the article. Most likely this will be taken from a news source or online magazine so please include the link for the picture as well. As we will cite the picture, this link should include information about its source.

Grammar & Submission:

Please review your writing for grammatical errors before submitting it to publicpurposejournal@gmail.com. We want to help produce the best possible product! Then you will be paired with an editor for a few rounds of revisions before publishing (weekly on Fridays).

Here are some online Style Guides to help you in your writing:

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

AP Style Quick Reference Guide

2019-2020 Monthly Themes:

  • September: Emergency response, disaster relief, terrorism 
  • October: Healthcare, insurance, advocacy/prevention
  • November: Social programs, social welfare, food deserts
  • December: Religious freedom, separation of church and state
  • January: International issues and global governance 
  • February: Rewriting history, elevating marginalized groups in history
  • March: Immigration & citizenship
  • April: Criminal justice, prison system reform
  • May: TBD

Sample Links:

Please check out our home page for examples of articles written by fellow students!