A magazine article should end as dramatically as it
began. When appropriate, use an anecdote that typifies
the main points presented in the body. Surprise endings
also work well. The conclusion should neatly and
succinctly tie together all the threads of the article and
bring it to a smooth finish. It should make the readers
glad they read the article and leave them with the
impression you wanted to make when you stated the
articles purpose in your outline.
TIPS ON MAGAZINE WRITING
Along with studying the information presented
here, you should read as many magazine articles as
possible. Carefully observe how the material in the
various types of articles is organized. Be aware of the
different styles used in different kinds of magazines
when they print similar stories.
Note, especially, the leads written by successful
writers. Examine their sentence construction the
manner in which they turn a phrase. Then try writing
a few leads and short stories of your own. To see which
feel most comfortable to you, emulate some of the
techniques of those published writers you have been
studying. Experiment! Even with the vast number of
magazines available to writers, the market is still highly
competitive. The same factors that allow magazine
writers to be creative also demand it. Therefore, the
ability to write skillfully is essential to your success in
this field. And that skill can be developed, through your
willingness to learn and your desire to write.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Determine the laws
that apply to magazine writing.
While Navy journalists are not expected to be legal
experts, there are a number of laws that merit your
All writers should be aware of laws concerning
defamation, fair comment, the right of privacy,
copyright, fair use of the writings of others and
plagiarism. This is especially true for magazine writers.
The nature of their work makes the possible violation of
those laws ever present, and for some, very tempting.
Special care must always be taken to avoid these
One area in which you must be particularly cautious
is in writing articles containing personal commentary,
where a strong possibility of defamation often exists.
Another area of concern is in writing articles about
people who do not want the attention. In articles of this
type, you run the risk of invading someones privacy.
And finally, make sure your research is for information,
not for someone elses phraseology. Creative writing
means being original. Do not be guilty of copyright
infringement or plagiarism. Also, remember that under
U.S. copyright laws, anything you write on
government time cannot be copyrighted. See Chapter
10 for further information.
Chapter 10 of this TRAMAN addresses the subjects
of libel, the right of privacy and copyright laws. An
understanding of that material will provide you with
sufficient knowledge of those laws and will allow you
to write without worrying unnecessarily about them.
However, if any doubts or questions arise about those
laws, do not hesitate to contact a legal officer for advice.
If you want to write for commercial publications
and receive payment for your efforts, you must observe
Your writing and research must be done on your
own time (after normal working hours or while on
leave). It must not interfere or conflict in anyway with
regularly assigned duties and may not be done in
connection with official duties.
Access to information sources, such as public
affairs offices, is available to off-duty Navy personnel
just as it is to civilian writers. However, you should
remember that any use of DON facilities, equipment or
personnel is permitted only in connection with official
Navy assignments. Additionally, restrictions on access
to classified material that apply to non-Navy
professional writers apply equally to you if you are
writing for a commercial publication on your own time.
Your off-duty magazine writing must not conflict
with the publics receipt of prompt and complete
information on government activities through the usual
public information media. Further, both the subject
matter and the methods of obtaining it must be legal and
consistent with accepted standards of conduct.
In certain cases, the restrictions on writing for
key officials, in this context, refers to flag rank officers,
Navy civilian officials GS-16 or higher, and civilian or
military personnel whose official assignments are of
unusual prominence or authority. Those individuals may
commercial publications in connection with official
duties are waived for key DON officials. The term