Contributor guidelines

The following information is offered as a guide for writers and photographers who work on features for Aurora magazine at UAFThe guidelines will help writers complete necessary details for assigned stories and assist photographers and illustrators in creating art that meets the editors’ goals.

Mission statement

We want you to anticipate Aurora’s arrival like that of an old friend — welcome it into your home, curl up with it on the couch, share it with your family and talk about it with your friends.

Every issue of Aurora should make you smile, maybe laugh, perhaps even cry a bit, and at least once make you think “Huh, I didn’t know that.”

In short, Aurora should knock your socks off.


The e-Aurora is published online for alumni and friends of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Reachable alumni: 27,000

Student body: 7,425 students (fall 2022)

Editorial specifications

Aurora strives to publish writing of the highest quality, driven by clear prose, accurate facts and references, and approved subject quotes. Because the intent of the magazine is to promote positive feelings in all constituents, the editors want subjects described in Aurora to feel comfortable with the way their words and lives are portrayed. Therefore, authors are expected to meet the following standards when submitting manuscripts to Aurora:


The story concept and goal need to be discussed in detail with the Aurora features editor before a project is launched. Brief proposals (i.e., no longer than one page with attached writing samples or web links if a new writer) should be sent to managing editor via e-mail or regular mail, fleshing out suggested subjects, contacts, and photos or art; conceived word length; and a realistic completion date. If changes occur in the scope of the project as events unfold, these must be discussed with the features editor before final submission.

Word count

So authors do not waste unnecessary time or have sections of text cut, the editors urge writers to meet assigned word counts carefully. If writers find that the shape of an assigned — and previously discussed — story is changing, they are expected to update the features editor about content or word-length alterations at the earliest stage possible. Changes in story length significantly alter the overall makeup and planning of each issue of the magazine and may impact the overall design. It is critical that these changes are communicated clearly to the editor before the assignment is completed and submitted.

Checking quotes and facts

Before submitting a manuscript, the editors ask that writers carefully verify all facts and quotes in a story. The editors will assume that this work has already been completed and will double-check only those details that jump out as unusual or incorrect. Because Aurora’s policy is to promote positive relationships with subjects whose stories are told in the magazine, we generally try to incorporate requested changes in stories or quotes. The editors reserve the right, however, to make final editorial decisions based on style, space and other considerations.


Submissions that plagiarize will be rejected. Articles written for Aurora must be original. Words repeated directly from other works — including not only written pieces but also interviews, speeches, videos, movies and all other forms of communication — must be described as quotes and attributed. Original concepts reported from other sources, even if the words differ, should be attributed in most cases.

Style guide

Writers are expected to follow the standards set forth in the University Relations style guide, found at, and the Associated Press Stylebook.


Authors should electronically submit stories as clearly labeled Word documents on deadline. If writers anticipate having any difficulty meeting assigned deadlines, they should notify the Aurora features editor far in advance of that date. Ideally, an accurate sense of when a project can be completed will promote positive relationships with Aurora editors and increase the likelihood of another project.

University Relations staff will have the final determination on acceptability of submissions.


Correct identification

Photography needs are generally assigned to UR’s professional photographer, but any supplied photographs should include suggested captions, correct identification of each person in a photograph and correct photo credit or reprint information, if appropriate. Model releases for all identifiable people in photos should be in the photographer’s possession and verifiable upon request. If the images need to be returned, UR will return them to the person providing them.

Photographic standards

High-quality, dynamic photography and illustrations will be needed for every feature story. The story concept and photography needs should be discussed in detail with the Aurora editor and/or creative director before the shoot.

Aurora makes every effort to select the most flattering but accurate photo to match the spirit of a particular story. Electronic images will be color-corrected and imperfections in the photo or other subject material are occasionally improved; however, given Aurora’s commitment to integrity, serious alterations of subject matter within photographs are not made. We reserve the right to reject images if there is a solution that communicates the message more effectively.


Photographs or illustrations provided for use in Aurora may also be used online and in print. Some agreements with photographers also allow for other use by the university in its own publicity, promotional or fundraising materials. Any nonuniversity use of photographs or other artwork commissioned by the university must be negotiated with the photographer.

If you have any doubt about using an image, please ask the creative director of University Relations or the photographer for how you should proceed. Reproducing a copyrighted photograph without permission is just as serious as any other unauthorized and uncompensated use of intellectual property.

Electronic scans

Photos submitted electronically should be at least 300 dpi at approximately 5 x 7 inches, or larger if used for the cover or full-page layout within the story. Submission of at least three to five selections for each subject is recommended, so the editors may have a variety of horizontal and vertical options to select.

Contact information

Theresa Bakker
Managing editor

Aurora magazine
UAF University Relations
312 Eielson
PO Box 757505
Fairbanks, AK 99775

Revised  02/19/24
(Thanks to Swarthmore College for providing sample)