Guidelines for submitting an op-ed piece to the History News Service:
- There are no "members" of HNS, only "writers" for it. Any historians who wish to write under its auspices may submit articles, if they follow HNS guidelines. HNS offers its writers professional and scholarly review and editing of op-ed pieces, help with ideas for pieces, and distribution of pieces to print and other media. The editor of the HNS has the final say on what submissions are accepted. HNS welcomes all points of view.
- Because HNS is a syndicate provided by professional historians, those who submit articles must be able to substantiate their professional training or employment as historians. For HNS purposes, however, the term historian is defined broadly.
- Each text handled by HNS must explore the historical background or context of a current event, situation, or issue. It should concern an issue on which historians, because of their knowledge and professional experience, can thoughtfully reflect. HNS does not handle texts that are purely historical, that is, that explore a historical event or issue without relevance to a current circumstance; that use history to advance particular partisan positions, such as promoting a specific electoral candidate; or that, though written by historians, are opinion pieces about subjects that do not involve history in a central, substantive way. While none of these requirements is hard and fast, HNS uses them to determine the texts that it will edit and distribute under its name.
- An article submitted to HNS should be about 750 words of text. The writer should include a brief title and a very brief author identification note at the end of the piece.
- HNS carries on its work by email. All texts should be submitted as e-mail attachments, preferably in MS Word, to HNS editor David Nord.
- Prospective HNS authors are welcome to seek advice from the editor about proposed subjects of articles before writing and submitting them. To be accepted and distributed under the auspices of HNS, the piece must be approved by the editor. The criteria used in making that decision include the author's facility with op-ed form and style, use of historical knowledge, quality of the writing, and strength of argument. The editor may request substantive changes in a text before he accepts it, and he reserves the right to halt distribution of a piece (with a full explanation why) that has already been accepted in principle. From time to time writers submit fine pieces that deal with a subject that goes in and out of the news. In some cases, the editor may accept such pieces but then hold them to be distributed later when their subjects return to the news. Once a piece has been edited and approved by an HNS editor, its author may identify himself/herself as "a writer for the History News Service." Those who write under the identity of HNS are, of course, free to identify themselves by their other professional positions or achievements as well in their author's notes.
- HNS accepts submissions only directly from authors, not through third parties. All correspondence regarding submitted pieces takes place directly between writers and editor.
- While writers for HNS give HNS authority to make the initial distribution of their articles, they retain copyright in their work and are completely at liberty to accept for themselves all credit and any honoraria that may be offered to them for their work. However, HNS asks that it be credited as the syndicated news service in which the article first appeared.
- Copies of writers' articles are distributed to roughly 200 daily newspapers in North America, as well as to online news outlets. A current list of recipients of HNS articles can be found on the Distribution page. HNS writers receive electronic copies of distributed texts shortly after HNS distributes them to the press.