Writers' Guidelines:

Basic Purpose of Sports Spectrum

a. Help lead people to faith in Jesus Christ.
b. Help Christians to grow in their walk with Him.
Our primary reason for existing is to reach non-Christians with the gospel. We do this through looking at key issues in life through the testimonies and experiences of sports figures. At the same time, we want to give Christian readers what they want and need.

Dual Audience
Although our primary focus in Sports Spectrum is evangelistic (to lead people to faith in Jesus Christ), we also must appeal to people who are already Christians.

Christians should see the athletes in Sports Spectrum as people mature enough to teach them biblical principles that apply to their lives. As the athletes tell about their victories and setbacks, they should reflect a Christian world-and-life view. We want Christian readers to feel at home with the magazine, and we also want them to give the magazine to their friends who don’t know the Lord.

Sports Spectrum Athletes
It is essential that the athletes featured in Sports Spectrum demonstrate a strong Christian testimony. The fact that they occasionally talk about God or attend chapel is not enough to go on. What we mean by Christian is that a person has accepted Jesus Christ as his/her Savior, trusting that through Jesus’ death on the cross, his/her sins can be forgiven.

SS athletes should be respected by their peers for their stand, willing to articulate their faith, and unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We talk to chaplains, teammates, and others in sports to verify an athlete’s testimony.

In addition, we are generally interested in sports people and sports stories that either have national importance or we think will have as their careers develop.

Sports Spectrum Writers
We are looking for writers who are followers of Jesus Christ. We may ask prospective writers to testify of their faith in Jesus. Our purpose is to lead people to Christ, so we want writers who share our vision.

We are not about writing about good people just for the sake of telling interesting stories. Our goals are Christ-centered—leading the reader to know and understand the importance of faith in Christ and true Christ-like living. Writers who do not understand the gospel and the importance of trusting Jesus as Savior cannot possibly share our mission.

In addition, we are looking for experienced sports writers. It is important to us that our writers understand sports and that they know how to obtain and conduct an interview with an athlete. We are looking for writers who are creative in their approach to putting an article together—not afraid to be clever, emotive, humorous, cutting edge.
Sports Spectrum already has a large stable of freelance writers developed over the past 15 years. It is becoming increasingly difficult to break into the freelance group.

It is essential that a prospective Sports Spectrum writer knows and understands the magazine. We would hope that before a person suggests an article for Sports Spectrum that he or she will have already read the magazine and perhaps be a subscriber. It helps our communication with the writer if he or she is familiar with the magazine.

Our feature articles are intended to allow Christian athletes to tell how their faith and their knowledge of God's Word help them as they face difficult issues. These issues should be things all people can relate to. The articles must be both nondenominational and noncharismatic. In fact, we prefer not to mention any denomination or specific church unless it is absolutely essential.

Whenever pertinent, the article should detail the athlete's salvation testimony unless there’s a good reason not to. However, there should be a clear indication of the athlete’s faith and its impact on his or her life. We like for the athlete to tell about coming to faith in his or her own words instead of having the writer tell about it.

Keeping the intended audience in mind, the writer should understand that he is not addressing Christians specifically, but telling the athlete’s story in a way that both Christians and non-Christians would enjoy.

Because we want to talk to non-Christians with our articles, we don’t want to scare them off with a lot of religious-sounding words, nor do we want to start the article off with Bible verses or other “Christian talk.” Those will come into the story as it is told, but the lead should be nonreligious.

Also, since this is a sports magazine, our writers must include plenty of sports information in the articles. Let the reader find out about the sport the athlete plays.

We also want to emphasize the aspect of storytelling. As much as possible, we like the life of the athlete to be revealed through anecdotes—either from him or from supplementary interviews.

What To Do
If you are an experienced, Christian freelance writer who has a sports writing background, is familiar with the magazine, and would like to inquire about writing for SS, send an email to the Editor.

Along with that introductory email, attach some samples of your published writing that reflect your ability to profile sports figures.

If you have any ideas for future articles, please email them to the editor at the address listed above. We get many of our article ideas from our freelance writers. First, though, make sure you have read the magazine and understand the kind of articles we’re looking for.

Once we receive your ideas, we will get back to you. We keep all ideas on file, but we cannot make decisions on them immediately. We have six planning times each calendar year, and those are the times we decide what articles to assign.

What Not To Do
Do not send unsolicited articles of any kind. We do not operate on this basis. Instead, we operate on an assignment-only basis. Feel free to send story ideas and topic ideas and names of sports people you think we should consider.

Please do not use the name Sports Spectrum in obtaining credentials or other press privileges without prior approval of this magazine. Also, do not tell a sports person (athlete, coach, etc.) that you are doing an article on him or her for Sports Spectrum unless that article has already been assigned, and do not interview athletes for Sports Spectrum unless we have given our approval. (Exceptions could be longtime SS writers who have been told they can do articles on speculation.)

If we assign you a feature article, we will pay you at least 21 cents per word, plus any reasonable expenses (phone calls, local travel are considered reasonable and don’t need prior permission; plane fares, hotels, etc. are paid only on rare exceptions and do need permission). We prefer face-to-face meetings with the athletes. Also, we do not want research articles for personality features. The sports personality must be interviewed subsequent to receiving the assignment unless other arrangements are made with the editor.

These articles generally run from 1,500 to 2,000 words plus one or two sidebars, which run generally 150 words.

Payment is made according to assigned word count. For instance, if you are assigned a 1,800-word article and send an article with 3,400 words, you will be paid for 1,800. Keeping to the assigned word count helps us tremendously in fitting the articles into the magazine. We pay writers on acceptance of the article.

Generally, we assign our issues 5 months before the cover date. Therefore, to present article ideas in season, you need to submit them far in advance. In other words, by the time May rolls around, we are starting to assign articles about football and basketball. When an idea is submitted during a sports season, it is generally too late for us to consider that idea until the next sports season.

Planning schedule

Cover date

Sports fans, predominantly male (75 percent), between 20 & 55 years of age. We realize that we have many younger readers, but we don’t target teenagers with our writing style.

Bible Versions
We suggest that our writers use the New International Version of the Bible.

All rights for all articles purchased. We do not use reprints of previously published articles. All articles in Sports Spectrum must be offered to us for first use, and they become the property of Sports Spectrum.

What We Don’t Do
Poetry, reprints, fiction, or profiles of sports ministries, chapels, etc.

Article ideas
Please send all article ideas to the editor by e-mail. Do not submit unsolicited articles. Send article ideas. Please allow sufficient time for a response. The address is [email protected]

If You Get An Assignment
Follow these guidelines.

Start early in securing the interview. Let the managing editor know if you are having a problem getting the interview. Please do not wait until the article is due before letting us know you are experiencing problems.

Unless the assignment is a straight interview, talk to at least two other key people about the person you are profiling for a feature article.

If you have a face-to-face interview, make sure the athlete understands what Sports Spectrum is all about. Give him or her a copy of the magazine.

Uncommon Challenge