Planet Magazine


Here are the guidelines to PLANET.
They call themselves a “a hip culture magazine that integrates style and intelligence.”

The guidelines are informative, helpful, and for those out there who think a destination piece is a destination piece is a destination piece—read on.

(This is what I received when I emailed for their guidelines 11/09/03) –JL

Writers, photographers and illustrators interested in submitting
work to PLANET° please follow the guidelines below:

Overview:

PLANET° is a general interest print magazine focusing on
worldwide popular culture. Our basic premise is that as the world gets
smaller geographically—through the process of globalization—it
is also getting larger culturally. In fact, at no other time in
history has so much of the world and its various cultural forms
been accessible to so many. This is a development we wish to
celebrate—rather than view fearfully—though we are not naïve and
will make room for discussion of the dark sides and dangers of this
phenomenon (to be explored mainly through topical feature
articles, interviews, and essays) in order to help encourage change.

In its breadth, we intend PLANET° to be pioneering. We will
achieve this by anticipating both changes in popular culture and the
cultural tastes and expectations of readers and consumers. In
the next decade globalization will be the single most important
process shaping our lives and determining the social, political,
and environmental organization of our world. Inevitably, the same
force will have an enormous impact on culture—on a national,
international, and global scale. However we do not intend to be the
magazine about globalization, but rather a magazine about
culture in the era of globalization.

Ultimately, PLANET° is as a hip culture magazine that integrates
style and intelligence.

Writers
Like other general interest magazines, PLANET° is composed of a
front-of-the-book section of shorts, departments on film, music,
books, travel, profiles, interviews, one or two lengthy serious
features, some photo spreads (both fashion and documentary),
and a few other small sections, unique to PLANET°.

We openly encourage writers to brainstorm around our theme, and
any suggestions for new departments or interesting sections are
welcome.

Although our coverage will focus largely on urban culture, we
will regularly publish stories on things happening away from
cities, whether travel adventures in far-off corners of the globe, or
more serious articles on the impact of cultural change on
indigenous peoples or species depletion in increasingly populated
areas and the challenges of industrial pollution in developing
countries, just to mention a few possibilities.

Below you will find a detailed breakdown of the various sections
already existing in the magazine, with notes on content, style,
tone, and length. Please read them carefully and tailor any
queries accordingly. Again, some of these sections will change. So
feel free also to introduce new ideas.

Satellite—this is the section of front-of-the-book shorts
covering everything from a new interesting bar or restaurant, a
gallery or upcoming museum exhibition, a cool boutique, a noteworthy
building or design, products that are pertinent to our theme and
readership, an event or a new talent in the arts from anywhere
in the world. We will also consider publishing short bits on
human interest stories or civic/political action, perhaps novel ways
in which a city, town or village is dealing with typical civic
problems. We would like these pieces to be tight and crisp
(generally 150-300 words), but without losing an aspect of good prose.
In fact, as a rule, we want our writing to avoid any
affectations of hipness and shoot for clean, literate, flowing prose,
though good wit and a smart sense of humor are always welcome. Our
readership will be younger (25 to 40) and, yes, hip and style
conscious, but they like to read good writing.

Although these pieces are short and pay very little, it’s a
section we devote a large amount of effort to. We feel it’s
important that this section set the international tone and reach of the
magazine, so we are counting on all our writers, even those who
generally only write feature-length articles, to generate at
least a few ideas per issue. Obviously not all will be chosen, but
it is important that we have a rich and varied pool to choose
from.

Greenspace – environmental shorts—both good news and bad—from
around the globe. These are identical to satellites but focus
specifically on the environment and will be grouped separately.

Voices: Who are the voices of the world? Who is talking to the
people? What are they saying? These are questions PLANET°
magazine will regularly answer simply by presenting the various
cultural personalities with the voices that are currently resonating
around the world. Each issue will contain two to three one-page
profiles of artists, writers, musicians, poets, performers, who
have gathered a following as much for the passionate message of
their work as for the work itself. It is our belief at PLANET°
that such voices will increasingly become heard as culture
inevitably becomes global. This is just one way in which we are
anticipating that change, introducing our readership to the world’s
cultural figures that matter and whose dialogue will be shaping the
planet’s culture of the future. These pieces should be gauged at
300 to 500 words.

Divinity: Two-page spread focusing on a site where humans have
traditionally gone in the search for divinity. Such places might
range from a hidden Buddhist temple in Asia to a Mayan pyramid
in Mexico, the town of Huautla where travelers have come to take
mushrooms or a giant western cathedral, a sacred spot such a
Ayers Rock or the Ganges. A large gutter-bleed photo with a single
long column. About 400 to 800 words.

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Native: Highlight one indigenous group per issue, perhaps not a
full article but a page or double-page spread with a great photo
and a very condensed paragraph explaining these peoples and
their current struggles against the tide of globalization. Also
would like to know which are the smallest indigenous groups left on
the planet and whether or not they are threatened with
extinction. 400 to 800 words.

Interzone: Here we look at international crossroads, past or
present, and tell their story in cultural terms. In our first issue
we started with Tangier, the place where the term interzone
entered into the popular imagination. About 800 to 1000 words.

Newswatch: Comparing the press coverage of a certain issue from
the international press and how it was covered differently,
possibly even being influenced by that country’s cultural
perspective, if not their specific political interest. If you feel you are
well-placed and possess the analytical skills to carry this off,
please contact us directly about it. These would be short,
concise pieces in an entertaining format.

Moviewatch: Comparing how movies are received around the world.
This would be one of those small boxed features in the front of
the book that is concise and fun, allowing readers to keep track
month after month. We would have our film critics from various
countries note how certain releases—deemed to have cultural
significance. For example, a global phenomenon like Titanic. How was
it received in England versus France, India versus Japan, and so
on. Critics stationed abroad should contact us if they are
interested in contributing to this.

Also of interest in this section would be films that have
achieved a certain cultural relevance elsewhere but fail to be
released in the States. Why? What cultural views prevent that?

Travel: Each issue will present one travel article, written in
“personal adventure style”, which does not mean we are interested
in hearing about your snowboarding trip down Mount Everest.
These should be literate travel adventures with lots of cultural
detail and a compelling story at the heart of the piece. We are
interested urban adventures as much as those in the outback. All
will be written in first person. 2000-3000 words. For this section
we encourage submissions on spec.

Art: PLANET° magazine will utilize extensive contacts in the art
world’s capitals, New York and Paris, as well as numerous
connections to the smaller art communities of London, Berlin, Milan,
Los Angeles, Tokyo, Madrid, Barcelona, Mexico City, Buenos Aires,
and others to keep our readers up to date with the latest trends
and movements in art as well as introducing them to the work of
significant artists from around the world. We will run one or
two art stories per issue, either profiling a particular artist or
an important art event of international scope and importance. If
you have suggestions, please send them in. Profiles in this
section will run up to 1500 words.

Film: Each month we’ll feature one article on a filmmaker,
writer or actor, of international stature, from the U.S. or abroad.
Up to 2000 words.

Sound: This is our music section and will feature numerous
pieces on varied music artists. Generally we will have one or two
longer pieces—between a 1000 and 1500 words—as well as numerous
shorter ones. To give an idea, in our first issue we featured
Bjork, Badmarsh & Shri, The Clientele and DJ Quest.

Food: In upcoming issues we’ll spotlight a dish from somewhere
around the world, presented with a photo of the prepared dish and
a short column of text describing the dish, its name, origin,
ingredients, historical and social context, preparation, and so
on. All of this should be blended together and told as the story
of the dish. Approx. 1200 to 1500 words. We ask our writers from
around the world to send in suggestions of dishes from their
countries or that they have experienced while traveling. Some
examples are:
-pozole
-kimchi chigue
-haggus
-tajine
-couscous
-coq au vin

Features: Each issue will feature at least two major articles
written on any variety of subjects, from cultural trends and
movements to spotlights on specific cities. Some examples are:

Paris Noir — The African cultural influence on Paris. Not since
the Harlem Renaissance has a predominantly white city been so
impacted by a cultural and creative explosion in the black
community. In Paris it takes on the added dimension of the people being
recent immigrants from Africa, and there are many issues of
race, culture, and global change that are brought up here. Mostly,
though, it is an exploration and celebration of the rich cultural
environment these immigrants have created in their new home,
irreversibly impacting and influencing the native popluar culture.

The Indecipherable War — An examination of the conflict in
Chiapas between the indigenous highland Indians, the Zapatistas and
the Federal Government.

* All features should be written in a novelistic style, like the
New Journalism of the 1960s which utilized the techniques of
creative fiction writing to enhance the telling of non-fiction
stories.

We would also like to fuse this with another idea,
“Meta-fiction”, a term that has been used to describe the work of certain
novelists of our era (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Salman Rushdie,
Thomas Pynchon), which has attempted to uncover the philosophical,
spiritual, mythological, and anthropological meaning, or essence,
of the themes it investigates. We desire a similar approach to
understanding the subject of the article, whether it be people, a
place, or thing.

Certainly there are some journalists today, obviously influenced
by the work of these writers, such as Tim Cahill, Bob Shacochis
(both write for Outside), Adam Gopnik (The New Yorker), Andrew
Corsello (GQ), and others, who weave these two schools into what
might be termed meta-journalism. However, no one magazine has
made it a point of cultivating this view as their signature way of
apprehending the world on which they report—the world in which
we live. PLANET° is looking for writers capable of examining
their subject with such a deep understanding—what we like to call
“critical awe”—that they are able to relate in eloquent,
meaningful, and enjoyable prose the deep, hidden, even magical aspects
that abound in all things in the world around us.

If you think you are up to this, please send your ideas. 3000 to
5000 words. We expect queries that demonstrate your ability to
handle this style.

Tone: In general, all pieces in the magazine should be written
in this tone of “critical awe”. What is meant by that is a
seamless combination of a writer’s critical abilities and his or her
fascination with the world. We are not interested in the next
Hunter S. Thompson. Harsh sarcasm and bitter irony have no place
in PLANET° magazine. That is not meant to disable your critical
skills, simply to specify that your critical thinking should
originate from understanding. Perhaps it’s just personal, but it is
our belief that sarcasm is more about poking at a thing than
about understanding it. We want our writers to transmit
understanding.

So we want our tone to be knowledgeable and provocative, yet
relaxed, at ease, and comfortable. Sometimes humorous and ironic,
but never gratuitously.

Style: We will make room for various individual writing styles,
as long as they are coherent and clean. Above all, your writing
should be literate and closer to a literary style than a terse
news style.

Art: Please make suggestions for artwork to accompany your
pieces. In many cases we will develop our own material, however for
sections such as travel, interzone, divinity, native and
satellites we will only be able to assign and publish your piece if it
is accompanied by striking imagery.

Payment:
For the first few issues PLANET° will only be able to offer
writers the opportunity of exposure in a handsome and pioneering
magazine. This is due to the fact that PLANET° is getting started
on virtually no budget. However, as former freelance writers we
understand the need get paid for one’s work and believe you
deserve it. Following our operating plan we will be able to offer
payment beginning with the fourth issue, and anticipate rates
between 25 and 50 cents a word for the first year, increasing to $1 a
word in year two.

Method of contact:
We are happy to receive queries or spec submissions via email,
however they should be sent as attachments and treated like
hard-copy documents, well-edited and well-written. Too often we
receive emails that are rapidly composed and do not allow us to
discern your writing ability. For those that prefer you may also send
queries in via post. Our address is: 876 Valencia Street, Studio
B, San Francisco, CA 94110. Email should be sent to
editors@planet-mag.com. Quick e-notes by all writers we’re
familiar with are acceptable, however again we would prefer
fleshed-out, well-written queries.

Style
Also, on all submitted documents please use Arial as your font
and space 1.5 times. Articles do not start with indents and body
indentations are only two spaces.

Thank you and we look forward to your ideas.

Photographers and Illustrators

PLANET° is interested in developing working relationships with
photographers and artists from around the world. Photographers
and illustrators of fashion, travel, architecture, portrait and
social essay should send us their card or other samples of their
work to: 876 Valencia Street studio B, San Francisco, CA 94110.
You can also email images (please send low-res files) to
images@planet-mag.com.

Earth By: This is a special feature on the last page of each
issue of the magazine that features a different artist’s
interpretation of earth. All styles welcome, though we have a preference
for work that is a personal interpretation and not merely a
figurative representation. Please send submissions to the above
address.

Note to all writers, photographers, and illustrators: If you
wish to have your submissions returned, please include a
self-addressed stamped envelope. PLANET° cannot be held responsible for
lost or damaged submissions.

Thank you for your interest in PLANET°.