Notes for contributors

At upstart, we’re always keen to hear your pitches for stories, and we’re also happy to consider unsolicited articles. So what else do you need to know before getting in touch with us with your story?

What are we generally interested in? Feature stories, commentary, opinion pieces, videos, podcasts, photo essays, and news of journalism events and opportunities. If you’re a journalism graduate, we’re especially interested to know what happens next. In the end, we will consider anything that’s sent to us on a case-by-case basis.

If your piece has been or will be submitted as a university assignment or to another publication or blog, we need to know. While we will still consider it, we need to be aware of the history of your contribution before we run it. That’s partly because if we’re republishing something we need to acknowledge that up front. And we obviously cannot edit pieces before they have been submitted for assessment, unless there are special circumstances, and the lecturer in question has agreed in writing.

Please send all contributions to and not just to individual members of the editorial team. This makes it much easier for us to track of who’s writing what.

All submissions should include a standfirst or — to use the WordPress term, an ‘excerpt’ of around 20 to 30 words that will stimulate interest in your piece. Remember this is the first thing that people see when they log onto the site, and a well-written excerpt will help build an audience for what you’ve taken so long to prepare. The excerpt should also introduce the writer of the piece (that’s you) in third person (Eg. “Your excerpt should be snappy, while also giving the reader an insight to what your piece is about, writes Rupert Fairfax.”)

Please send all submissions in Micrsoft Word, and please ensure that hyperlinks are embedded in the copy. At upstart, we feel that hyperlinks can be very useful for the reader, and are essential in many cases to develop the clarity or context of a statement or argument.

All contributors should be familiar with and adhere to the Media Alliance code of ethics and the La Trobe University plagiarism guidelines.

Please include a biographical byline note that we can run at the bottom of your piece. For example: ‘Sally Smith is a Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University’, or ‘John Jones is a TV producer. You can read more about his work at his blog’. We will then provide a tag for your name, which means that as your portfolio of contributions build, they’ll all be accessible on a single link. See, for instance, the tag for our former editor, Tom Cowie.


Nobody owns the English language, which we believe is a good thing. But this can be a problem for a publication. On any given day, we’re likely to encounter a range of variations in spelling, punctuation and style, all technically “correct”. Or is that ‘correct’, or just correct?

upstart isn’t here to arbitrate on these matters, but we do feel it’s important to aspire to a consistent house style. To this end we’re now recommending that everyone who writes for us follows the guidelines set out in the Reuters Style Guide.

NB! There is one important exception: we write dates day/month/year, eg 13 August 2015.

In it you’ll find clear and concise rulings on spelling, headings, the use of capital letters, abbreviations and acronyms, titles of books, films and songs, and quotations. So no more sweating over whether to italicise that book title (you should), or whether to use double inverted commas for quotes (you musn’t).

Now if anyone can find any violations of those guidelines in the page you’ve just read, be a good sport and let us know. We will publish all corrections.

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