About the Washington Socialist

Are you a writer? Photographer? Cartoonist? Consider becoming a contributor to The Washington Socialist, the voice of Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America and of democratic socialism in the greater Washington, DC region.

Q: What kind of material does the Socialist use?
A: The Socialist is looking for a variety of material that supports the publication’s mission: to help build DSA; promote socialist ideas and practices, especially locally but also nationally and internationally; and beyond that, to support and promote progressive political movements in the greater Washington, DC region. The best way to learn the types of articles we publish is to read past issues. We are interested in a wide range of articles and other submissions, including but not limited to:

  • Reports of political events, rallies, and meetings taking place in the local area
  • Reports on local DSA events and meetings
  • Articles on actions of local governments
  • Reports on important actions by left/progressive organizations – such as labor, racial-justice, peace, etc. groups
  • Analyses of local, national and international events
  • Reviews of books, movies, TV shows, plays, museum exhibits and concerts
  • Op-ed style commentaries and opinion pieces
  • Original photographs and cartoons
  • Satires and parodies
    All submissions should have some connection to DSA or socialism, be viewed with a socialist lens or be relevant to the progressive causes and movements that DSA supports.

Q: How long should articles be?
A: Articles should be succinct and no longer than necessary. Articles can range in length from 500 words (for notices and announcements) to 2,000 words, with longer pieces also considered.

Q: What kind of writing style do you prefer? A: Reading past issues of the Socialist is the best guide. But in general, writing should be aimed at the educated lay reader. We prefer not to publish articles that include arcane jargon or are written in academese; we are not a scholarly publication. Footnotes should be avoided; we prefer references to be made in the text or by using embedded links. On the other hand, our readers are generally well-educated and well-versed in contemporary politics and political theory, so one need not write down to the level of, say, The Washington Post. Publications such as In These Times or The Nation also use the type of writing style that works well in the Socialist.

Q: Do articles conform to AP or any other specific style?
A: They do not, although there is an AP “tendency” and articles must be internally consistent in their usage (i.e., if you abbreviate our country as the U.S., do not suddenly refer to it as the US). In fact the editors have leaned toward AP-type consistency of style across the issues in the nuts and bolts, like lowercase/periods a.m. and p.m., regularized dates and capitalization, etc., all aiming at consistent usage.

Q: In what format should articles be submitted?
A: We prefer articles to be submitted in a recent version of MS Word or as a Google Doc. Because articles are currently uploaded to the site using markdown, .doc or .txt documents formatted to this style are also appreciated!

Q: Are there other DC DSA publications?
A: A Weekly Update is published most Friday mornings between monthly newsletter issues. Some articles may appear in those for reasons of timeliness and subsequently appear in the succeeding monthly issue. Weekly Update submissions, so labeled, should also be sent to thesocialist@mdcdsa.org .

Q: How does the newsletter get edited and produced?
A: Producing the email newsletter of course involves more than writing, though that’s where it starts. The Washington Socialist’s permanent home is on our recently revamped website, but historical archives (the many issues published prior to February 2020) are currently in the process of being uploaded. After the group editing process the articles for the month are posted there, generally on the last day of the previous month, and the email newsletter itself – containing summaries and links for the articles — is sent the first of the month via our mass-mailing account, currently in MailChimp, to those who have asked to receive it. All these processes and routines are accomplished by volunteers, including maintenance and upgrading of the website, and those who want to participate at any point are welcomed.

Q: Do you pay writers?
A: We wish! The Washington Socialist is an all-volunteer effort, although the Publications team is currently exploring financing options so that we could pay writers, artists, designers, or contributors down the line.

Q: How does one submit articles?
A: Articles may be submitted to the newsletter, with “newsletter submission” in the subject line, to thesocialist@mdcdsa.org . We ask that you please include the following:

  • The submission content. This is the only required thing (obviously), everything else is optional.
  • A relevant image, graphic, or photograph, if you’d like it to accompany the content as a “banner graphic.” You must have rights to use the image!
  • A brief “author bio” of yourself… a few sentences of any notable information that you’d like to accompany your article. Please note that this will be publicly posted alongside your submission!
  • Any social media links (Twitter, Facebook, email address, website, etc.) that you would like to accompany your article. Please note that these will be publicly posted alongside your submission!

Q: What is the deadline for submissions?
A: The Socialist publishes monthly, generally on the first weekend of the month; the initial deadline is usually about a week to ten days before the publication date. The editorial team will send a notice of the specific deadline to regular contributors earlier in the month. But we do make accomodations for special entries or time-sensitive content.

Q: Must one be a DSA member to submit articles?
A: Nope. We prefer articles from DSA members, but non-members may submit articles so long as they address concerns of interest to our members.