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Submission Guidelines for A&M Communications Professionals

(Jump to style guidelines

The Association of Former Students welcomes writing and photography submissions from university, college-level or department-level communicators; from programs or organizations receiving funding from The Association; and from current and former students.

WHERE IT MIGHT RUN

  • Texas Aggie magazine
  • AggieNews digital newsletter
  • AggieNetwork.com
  • Class Newsletters
  • Association social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)

THE BASICS
  • All submissions should adhere to the basic standards of good journalism, with factual accuracy and proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. Be sure the submission answers the key questions: who, what, when, where, why and how.
  • You must fully identify all Aggies, including their class year (they have a class year if they attended, even if they never graduated). Class years are written in the form: Jane S. Doe '19.
  • Submit stories only as plain text documents (.txt) or Word documents (.doc or docx).
  • We prefer images with all submissions, and stories with images are more likely to be used. Action shots are preferred but head shots are acceptable if that is all you have. Images might also be program logos or other artwork relevant to the story. All images should be color and high-resolution (we prefer 600 dpi; 300 is acceptable; anything less is difficult to reproduce well in our printed communications). Jpegs or tiffs are acceptable; please do not send png files. Please tell us the photographer to whom we should credit the photo. Do not digitally manipulate the photo in any way.
  • We reserve the right to edit all submissions as the editor deems appropriate.
  • The Association’s communications channels follow Associated Press style with some exceptions. See the bottom of this document for details.

TYPES OF STORIES
You can submit something you've already created and we’ll determine whether it would be suitable anywhere in our publications. Or you can create your submission with a particular Association media channel in mind. Here are some of the possibilities:
  • Beneficiary Stories: This is the category of content that we are most interested in receiving. These stories that show how the Aggie Network and annual donations to The Association of Former Students support Texas A&M University and Texas Aggies. Stories should explicitly state what that support was. Stories should also include quotes from the students, faculty, staff or former students who are the beneficiaries of the donated funding or services.
  • Good Bull: Stories that display the pride and Spirit of Aggieland. About 500 words plus at least one photo. Example of a Good Bull story.
  • My Story: Profile of a person whose story epitomizes the Aggie Spirit and Texas A&M’s core values. Generally NOT told in first person. About 500 words, plus at least one photo. Example of My Story.
  • Photo Essay: Five to 10 photos with captions, plus about 100 to 150 words of accompanying narrative. Example of a Photo Essay.

BRIEFS
  • A&M Notebook: Brief items (about 75 words) on news, information and current events on campus and around Aggieland, including Bryan-College Station and the Galveston and Qatar campuses. Each item should include a photo. Example of A&M Notebook.
  • Aggie Network News: Brief items (about 75 words) on the accomplishments of Aggies, or items about multiple Aggies participating together in events with Classmates, A&M Club members or other Texas Aggies. Examples.
  • Former Students News From The Front: any news about what Aggie service members are up to, regardless of their location. Photos preferred. Include current military rank for all service personnel mentioned. Examples of Former Students News From The Front.
  • AggieNews newsletter items: This newsletter publishes on the third Tuesday of each month. Items can include news about Aggies or about A&M. This newsletter is a compilation of very short items; most of the content is in the form of just one sentence plus a link to a website for more information. To see samples of the newsletter, go to http://www.aggienetwork.com/enews/past/default.aspx.

FEATURE STORIES

Feature stories examine any of the topics above in greater depth and can run from 1,000 to 3,000 words or more, as the topic merits. Feature stories must include multiple high-quality photographs.


HOW TO SUBMIT

Email assets to TexasAggie@AggieNetwork.com. If emailing multiple images, please send only one image per email.


OUR TONE


Our tone is conversational, yet it is also somewhat formal. A slightly formal tone is appropriate not only because of the academic setting in which we work but also because of the long, proud and distinguished history of both our university and The Association.

We strive for a tone of elegant simplicity—elegant not in the sense of luxurious, but in the sense of dignified, concise and succinct; professional and cordial; graceful in form; and appropriate to refined taste.

The tone can vary slightly according to the intended audience. For example, a communication about Ring Day that is to be distributed only to current students would be more effective with a slightly less formal tone. Conversely, a communication to be distributed in regard to the Distinguished Alumni Gala should have a much more formal and distinguished tone.

But in all communications, we are entirely formal in regard to grammar usage and punctuation. All communications are expected to be perfect in grammar and punctuation, as befits a university of our stature. For example, we would never use the shorthand that developed first among text messaging and that has since become common in other communications among students (the use of all lowercase letters, abbreviations such as "thx" or "b4," and so on).

The main goal in our communications is to have consistent messaging that reflects the core values of A&M and inspires former students to be active members of The Association of Former Students.


FOR MORE INFORMATION


Call Scot Walker, assistant vice president for communications, at (979) 845-7514.
 

The Association of Former Students Writing Style Guidelines

These guidelines are for publications published by The Association of Former Students, including Texas Aggie magazine and the AggieNews e-newsletter.

  • 12th Man: Do not use superscript in reference to the 12th Man Foundation or the tradition of students standing during football games and other athletic events.
  • The Association of Former Students: First reference, The Association of Former Students. On subsequent references, The Association is acceptable. The “T” in The Association is always capitalized. We do not use AFS, nor the Former Students Association.
  • advisor: we deviate from AP style on this, in deference to academic style. 
  • the Aggie Network: Do not capitalize “the” in the Aggie Network except at the beginning of a sentence, or in the specific, trademarked usage, We are The Aggie Network.
  • A&M Club: Much of the work of The Association is done through local A&M Clubs. They form the foundation for many Association programs. Capitalize Club in all references to an A&M Club. 
  • AggieNews: The Association’s monthly e-newsletter
  • AggieNetwork.com: AggieNetwork.com should always be written with no space between Aggie and Network, and with a capital A and N. We omit the www, but only in reference to URLs at AggieNetwork.com. Use it with other URLs as appropriate.
  • Aggie Ring: Capitalize Aggie Ring and Ring when referring to the Aggie Ring.
  • Annual Fund: The funds raised by The Association on behalf of former students and friends of Texas A&M. The Association’s annual support for Texas A&M University is provided through the Annual Fund. The Annual Fund is raised through annual donations to The Association through such programs as the Century Club and the Aggie Parent Network.
  • alumni, alumnus: Our emphasis on the term “former students” rather than "alumni" dates to the early 1900s as a way to emphasize that The Association would serve all those who attended Texas A&M, not only those who received degrees. We still embrace that philosophy and we still use the term “former students” in many instances; however, we have never forsworn the use of the term “alumnus.” For example, the YMCA Alumni Memorial Building, funded by former students, was built in 1910. The Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor that can bestowed on any Aggie, whether a graduate or not, was created in 1962. We first published the Directory of Former Students in 1949, but our previous home, the Forsyth Alumni Center, opened in 1974, while our current home, the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center, was built in 1987, and our advisory team of recent graduates is called the “Young Alumni Advisory Council.” We have and will continue to use “former student,” but the words “alumnus” and “alumni” are also a longstanding part of our history and traditions. We generally use the forms alumnus and alumni for both males and females, avoiding the Latin feminine forms alumna and alumnae.  
  • archaeology: we use that spelling, with the "aeo" in the middle. The spelling archeology is becoming more common in other publications, but we'll stick with archaeology as long as that is the spelling used in the names of departments and institutes at A&M.
  • Association Chairs: Those who serve as Chair of The Association’s Board of Directors should have the year of their terms specified in their titles: 2009 Association Chair Shelley Potter '78. After they leave that office, we refer to them as Association past chair, rather than former Association chair.
  • Board of Directors: While most stylebooks dictate using the term board of directors in lowercase letters in most instances, The Association’s Board of Directors is referred to in internal messaging by using capital letters on first reference. On subsequent references, it is permissible to use the board.
  • Board of Regents: Cap in all references to the A&M System’s Board of Regents. See Board of Directors, above. On subsequent references, it is permissible to use the board.
  • Bonfire: cap in reference to the sanctioned event that occurred on campus prior to the collapse.
  • Bryan-College Station, BCS: Note the hyphen rather than a slash in Bryan-College Station. We avoid the abbreviation BCS, but when used, no hyphen.
  • Century Club: Capitalize Century Club in all references.
  • Camaraderie Barbecue
  • caption directions: set off directions in captions such as left or from left or kneeling with commas, not parentheses.
  • Class: Capitalize in all references to a graduating Class of Texas A&M University.
  • Class years: Use Class years following the name of current and former students on first reference and in photo captions, call outs and pull quotes. Apostrophe should open away from the Class year (like a single close quote mark): Jane Doe ’12. Other use cases: Bob '90 and Susan '90 Jones; Susan ’90 and Bob Jones. For Class years over about 95 years ago, or whenever there is risk of confusion: Jane Doe, Class of 1912. Do not insert degrees into the construction; for example, do not do this: Jane Doe, D.V.M. ’12. If the specific degree is relevant, work it into the narrative. Each Aggie has only one Class year, their first one; do not use constructions such as Jane Doe ’12 & '14. 
  • Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center: First reference, Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center. Subsequent references, Williams Alumni Center is preferred, but Alumni Center is acceptable in tight spaces.
  • Composition titles: Italicize the names of books, songs, magazines, etc. 
  • core values of Texas A&M University: excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service. Put them in alphabetical order. The individual values are usually not capped unless done in some sort of formatted list. 
  • Corps of Cadets: Capitalize in all uses, and capitalize Corps when it stands alone if it refers specifically to A&M’s Corps of Cadets.
  • current students: Do not capitalize. Usually, students will suffice.
  • decal: The Association window decoration is a decal, not a sticker.
  • degrees: Avoid using abbreviations for degrees; descriptive phrases are preferred in body copy: doctorate in psychology. Use abbreviations such as B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S. and Ph.D. (with periods, without spaces) only when space is especially tight or usage of the preferred form would be cumbersome.  
  • department: the full, proper name of departments at A&M are capitalized: Department of Journalism
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award program: Reference as Distinguished Alumnus Award program; multiple recipients are Distinguished Alumni, or Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients or past recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Do not reference Distinguished Alumni as past, ex or former Distinguished Alumni.
  • em dash: Put a space on both sides of the dash.
  • Endowed Century Club: Capitalize in all references. We no longer refer to it as the Endowed Diamond Century Club. On subsequent references, ECC is acceptable.
  • Executive Director: The former title of Porter Garner, prior to 2009. He is now President and CEO. 
  • fightin': generally not capitalized in phrases using the construction fightin' Texas Aggie (something). Exceptions are proper nouns that use the phrase, and we know of only two: the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band and the Fightin' Texas Aggie Corn Maze
  • Flag Room: the room in the MSC with all the flags. Some campus maps and publications call it the Flagroom, but we use Flag Room.
  • Find An Aggie: What used to be called the Online Directory: Find An Aggie is the online directory of former Texas A&M students.
  • former students: Do not capitalize except when part of our formal name: The Association of Former Students. See also alumni, alumnus above.
  • gameday: one word, not capitalized unless in reference to a proper noun, such as a TV show. 
  • game-watching party: See watch party below.
  • gig ’em: Note the space between words, and the single close quote before the "em." Don't capitalize the e. Don't capitalize the g unless it's the first word of a sentence, salutation, quote or interjection. (Texas A&M has a different style on this phrase than we do.) 
  • Gig 'Em Week: Name changed as of 2017 to Howdy Week
  • Good Bull: A story that epitomizes the Aggie Spirit and Texas A&M's core values. (In print, capitalize both Good Bull and Bad Bull.) 
  • Haynes Ring Plaza
  • Haynes Ring Replica: The formal name of the 3-ton Aggie Ring monument on the Haynes Ring Plaza, named in honor of Reta and Bill Haynes '46. It is not a statue.
    •  Howdy must be followed by a comma when used in direct address: Howdy, Bob. 
    • Howdy Week GatheRing (not GatheRING
    • initials: Do not put a space between initials used as a first name: A.B. Smith
    • internet terms: We generally follow AP style (including email, website). And we don’t use the www. in front of AggieNetwork.com URLs. But use it where appropriate in non-Association website addresses.
    • member: Every person who has completed three credit hours at Texas A&M (College Station, Galveston or Qatar) is a member of The Association of Former Students. Membership is not dues-based. There are, however, active members who donate financially to the Annual Fund.
    • Online Directory: We call it Find An Aggie now: Find An Aggie is the online directory of former Texas A&M students.
    • Midnight Yell Practice, Midnight Yell: However, yell practice is not capitalized by itself.
    • Muster: Always capitalized in reference to the event, including the verb form: Mustered 
    • redass: one word, no hyphen
    • Parents' Weekend is now Family Weekend
    • personal annotations: At The Association, the abbreviated forms of Jr. and Sr. used with people’s full names are preceded by commas: Clayton W. Williams, Jr. ’54. However, notations such as II, III and IV should not be separated by commas: Porter S. Garner III ’79
    • postgraduate
    • the Rec: see Student Recreation Center
    • Reunions: When using the word reunion to refer to any officially sanctioned gathering of an A&M Class, capitalize Reunion. In addition, the name describing the anniversary of any such Reunion (30 Year Reunion, for example) should be written with capital letters and without a hyphen. 
    • second references: Use last names, not first names, on second and subsequent references. Children are one exception, and distinguishing between two people in the story with the same last name can be another. 
    • semesters: seasons are lowercase, including when they are references to academic semesters (i.e., fall, spring, summer)
    • ship & boat names: don’t italicize or put in quotes. Don't precede the name with the. If there’s a prefix, use capital letters and no periods: MS Amadeus, RMS Queen Mary.  
    • Spirit: capitalize when used in reference to the Aggie Spirit.
    • spring break: lowercase
    • The Spirit of Aggieland:  When referring to the song, the "The" is part of the proper name.
    • step off (v), Step-off (n.): The Corps will step off at noon. Corps Step-off for the Alabama game will start at noon.
    • sticker: see decal.
    • Student Recreation Center: That is the proper name, which should be used on first reference in print and on AggieNetwork.com. If writing for an exclusively Aggie audience, the Rec is acceptable on second reference or on social media.
    • Texas A&M University: preferred second reference is Texas A&M. In cases where space is particularly tight, A&M is acceptable.
    • Texas A&M University at Galveston, TAMUG
    • Texas A&M University at Qatar, TAMUQ. (The university has discouraged TAMUQ and prefers the second reference be "Texas A&M at Qatar," but we allow it.)
    • The Next Tradition: No longer exists. Now: All-Aggie Grad Party
    • The Texas A&M University System: note the capped The. Subsequent references: the Texas A&M System or the A&M System.  
    • Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame; Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Honor
    • t.u.: We don’t use this disparaging term for the University of Texas except in direct quotes from constituents. When used, it’s lowercase with periods. We don't use t-sip, sip, sippers, or any variations.
    • Texas Aggie magazine:Texas Aggie is the formal name of the official magazine of the Aggie Network. It should be capitalized and italicized when possible. When referred to as Texas Aggie magazine, the word “magazine” is neither capitalized nor italicized, as it is not a part of the formal name. If you cannot italicize, then put “Texas Aggie” in quotes.
    • university: Not capitalized when the word stands alone.
    • undergraduate
    • website: one word, not capped.
    • watch party, game-watching party: Don't use game-watch party, and don't use game-watch as a nounOnly capped when part of a proper titleSnook A&M Club Game-Watching Party.
    • Wh30p Houston 
    • year ranges: I worked at the Daily Light from 1997 to 1998. OR: I worked 1997-98 at the Daily Light. (Basically, if you have a from, then you need a to.)
    • yell leader: not capitalized. 
    • yell practice: not capitalized. But: Midnight Yell Practice is, as is Midnight Yell.
     
    Address

    505 George Bush Drive
    College Station, TX 77840

    Phone Number

    (979) 845-7514

    © 2019 The Association of Former Students of Texas A&M University, All Rights Reserved