Every year Legion Magazine publishes hundreds of photos and captions in its Snapshots section showing Legion branches across Canada, and in the United States and Europe, involved in their community. These items are sent to Legion Magazine by command correspondents, who are appointed by each provincial command and to receive submissions from branches and ladies auxiliaries and send them to the magazine.
Depending on their content these photos or news items are sent to the command correspondents or directly to the magazine by the branches and the people involved in the activities. This booklet, which is available in French and English, includes the editorial policies Legion Magazine staff use to make sure that all branches and ladies auxiliaries are treated in a fair and consistent manner no matter what their size or where they are. As well, it provides help and useful tips to ensure that branches get the quality of coverage in the magazine that they deserve.
The booklet should be kept on file at the branch and used by public relations officers or others designated to get items published in the magazine. We hope the handy pocket-sized publication will be convenient to use and will assist in making sure the photos you want appear in Legion Magazine.
For The Record
News and photos in Legion Magazine’s Snapshots section serve to inform, recognize and record the activities and accomplishments of Royal Canadian Legion branches and posts. Since the magazine’s circulation is not confined to members, these reports also show the general public how the Legion serves our communities.
These editorial guidelines were established to ensure all branch news and photos submitted receive fair treatment–regardless of branch size, location or command. If the material is submitted through proper channels and meets the criteria listed in this booklet, it will be published. Material that does not arrive through proper channels or does not meet the criteria will be returned.
Magazine space is limited and we can only allow two photos per branch and ladies auxiliary per issue. If more than two are received from one branch, magazine staff will choose the better photos and use the information from the other photos as news only. The unused photos will be returned to the command correspondent.
If there are no news or photo submissions from a particular command, then no space will be provided to that command.
Magazine staff are always ready to explain the news policy, and will act as quickly as possible to rectify mistakes or to provide an explanation regarding the rejection of a news item or photo.
Complaints should be made in writing and directed to the editor, with a copy of your letter to your command correspondent.
The News Chain
The branch correspondent is the first link in the chain that provides Legion Magazine with news and photos that meet the guidelines and procedures set out in this booklet. It is a thankless but very important job that affects how your branch is perceived by both its members and by other Legionnaires. The branch correspondent must send all branch news, including photos, to the next link in the chain–the command correspondent.
These people are appointed by each provincial command to assemble and forward to Legion Magazine qualifying news and photo submissions from branch correspondents. Their names and contact information are listed at the beginning of the Snapshots section of each issue.
The last link in the chain is the editorial staff. These people receive the branch news and photos from the command correspondents and prepare them for publication. Items that have not been submitted through the command correspondent will be returned to the sender unused. When the need arises, the staff will return any submission that requires clarification or does not meet the editorial guidelines.
Due to our production schedule, material is prepared for the magazine as it comes in. Generally an issue will contain all the material received in Ottawa by the beginning of the month two months before publication. For example, the MARCH/APRIL issue will contain all the material received by the beginning of January.
Consider Your Audience
Before you begin compiling items for submission to Legion Magazine, consider what would be of interest to a national readership. In general, the magazine is interested in contributions to the community and branch accomplishments. To find examples of what qualifies, turn to the Snapshots section of the magazine and examine the branch news. If you are in doubt, but the news item you have in mind meets the general requirement of Legion involvement, submit it through the command correspond-ent for our consideration. Items that are rejected or in need of clarification are returned to the command correspondent with a written explanation. The correspondent is expected to pass this information on to the branch.
How To Prepare Submissions
- Branch news information and photo captions should be typed or printed clearly using upper- and lower-case letters.
- Check the spelling of all names and ensure each person is identified by a given first name or at least two initials, followed by the surname.
- Generally we prefer people in a photo to be identified from left to right, but we understand this can change based on the composition of the photograph. Include their titles and/or positions in the Legion or organization they represent.
- Attempt to answer the five Ws and one H of news gathering: Who, What, When, Why, Where and How.
- Keep a copy of all printed material submitted, including the date it was sent and a record of the person it was sent to.
- Information for a photo caption should be attached to the photo. Do not write on the back of a photo with a ballpoint pen, as this cracks and mars the photo surface. Also, avoid using tape on the photo surface as it is difficult to remove and can tear away sections of the image. Paper clips are not recommended because they often fall off, and their sharp edges can scratch the photo surface. A small loop of masking tape on the back of a photo is enough to secure it to the paper the caption is written on.
Examples Of What We Publish For Branches And Ladies Auxiliaries
- Contributions to community organizations and campaigns, e.g. Red Cross, hospitals, the Cancer Society.
- Support for youth programs, e.g. minor hockey, cadets, guides, scouts.
- Youth education programs, e.g. bursaries, scholarships, public speaking, Legion literary and poster contests.
- Housing projects.
- Seniors programs.
- Erection or refurbishing of cenotaphs and memorials.
- Branch expansions, renovations, mortgage burnings or hall openings.
- Support projects, e.g. purchase of special equipment for an individual.
- Recognition of branch or ladies auxiliary achievements by the community, e.g. organization of the year awards.
- Expansion of membership, through group photos only.
- Special functions, e.g. parades, Canada Day celebrations.
- News–not photos–of the presentation of wartime memorabilia to a branch.
- Names–not photos–of members receiving the Certificate of Merit.
- Names–not photos–of recipients of the Cadet Medal of Excellence.
- Members receiving the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation for their work with veterans through the Legion.
- Events marking a branch’s 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 75th or 80th anniversary.
Examples Of What We Don’t Publish
- Any non-Legion function–even if it is held in a branch hall.
- Fiction or poetry.
- Advance notice of branch or ladies auxiliary activities, with the exception of those that qualify for the magazine’s Special Events column.
- Regimental or unit reunions. Space for advance notice of unit reunions is provided in the magazine’s Unit Reunions column.
- Branch or ladies auxiliary meetings, elections, resolutions or installations of officers.
- Photos that openly display alcoholic beverages, as we do not want to perpetuate an undesirable image.
- Photos of ladies auxiliary contributions–monetary or otherwise–to the branch. The information can appear in print.
- Remembrance Day or poppy campaign events. The magazine will cover the national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa and one other place in Canada.
- Dated photos of an event submitted so late it could only be published a year after it occurred.
- Medals awarded by the Government of Canada or other governments to individuals, even if presented at a Legion branch.
- Internal branch, zone or district sports competitions.
- Long lists of specific branch donations; annual totals with examples of some important donations are preferred.
- Members’ anniversaries or birthdays, unless 100 years or older.
- Claims of uniqueness or of a record-setting nature that are often questionable and/or difficult to verify.
- Presentation of certificates of appreciation.
- Group photos of honours and awards presentations. Head-and-shoulders photos of Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Award and Palm Leaf recipients will be published on the Honours and Awards page. The names of Life Membership recipients will appear in the same section.
- Photos showing inter-branch visits, exchanges or presentations of Friendships Awards. The information can, however, appear in print.
Beyond The Branch Level
Some news submissions come from districts and zones, through command correspondents, or from provincial command offices. For the most part, these submissions are subject to the rules and procedures detailed in this booklet–with the following exceptions.
Zones and Districts
While sports competitions and their results, rallies, election and/or installation of officers and the internal business of these levels do not qualify as Snapshots, we welcome news and photos of the presentation of bursaries, scholarships and donations to community causes.
Photos and news from Legion sports competitions at the provincial level are eligible, as is the launching of any new command charitable or service project. The appointment of a command secretary or service officer qualifies as well as the retirement of a long-serving command secretary. While command election results are included in Legion Magazine’s coverage of provincial conventions, post-convention changes to the executive council can be submitted as news. Photos of new provincial command ladies auxiliary executives are also accepted for publication.
Items Sent Directly To Ottawa
The only materials that can bypass the command correspondent and go directly to the magazine are items for Honours and Awards, Last Post, Lost Trails, Requests, Special Events, Unit Reunions Special Events, Websites Of Interest, Letters to the Editor and unsolicited manuscripts and memoirs.
Last Post is published as a free service twice a year in recognition of those who have served their country and to allow readers to learn of the passing of comrades with whom they served. The section is reserved for these groups: 1) Canadian citizens and Commonwealth subjects who were ordinary members of The Royal Canadian Legion at time of death; 2) life members who were previously ordinary members; 3) Canadian war veterans of WW I, WW II, Korean War or Gulf War who were not Legion members at time of death.
Forms for filling in the information are available at Legion branches. Those submitting notices are urged to be thorough and accurate. Type or print to ensure legibility. Submit notices promptly to ensure timely publication. We only publish notices received in Ottawa within one year of the person’s death.
When published in print, the latest entries are also added to the searchable Last Post database on the website www.legionmagazine.com. Late notices will only be entered in the website database, where they have historical value.
The Last Post is published twice a year as an insert to the regular Legion Magazine. It will appear in the spring and fall.
Honours and Awards
The Honours and Awards section features head and shoulder photos of recipients of the Legion’s Meritorious Service Medal or Meritorious Service Award and the Palm Leaf. It also features head and shoulder photos of recipients of the 60 years service pins and higher in increments of five, e.g. 65, 70, 75 and 80. Names not pictures of life members are published as well.
Public Service Columns
The Lost Trails, Requests, Unit Reunions, Special Events and Websites Of Interest columns are a free public service. Entries for these columns are published only once on a space-available basis. Unit Reunions will also be posted on our website.
We do not accept entries over the phone. Items must be received by mail, facsimile or e-mail. To ensure accuracy, you should type the info, or at least print it clearly using upper- and lower-case letters to distinguish proper names and acronyms. Avoid handwriting because legibility problems can lead to errors.
Do not send these items to your branch or command correspondent because this creates unnecessary handling and slows down the system.
The particulars of the columns are:
Helps to locate veterans, military personnel, RCMP and their families. It is essential to have enough service and personal information to clearly identify the individual or individuals sought. We don’t have the space to publish long lists and set a limit of six names per notice. We also don’t publish photos.
Helps promote the preservation or presentation of various aspects of military history.
Supports efforts to maintain bonds of service. Encompasses army, navy, air force, RCMP and cadets. Advance notice is imperative. We strongly recommend you mail us the information six months before the event so we can run the notice in time for individuals to make plans.
Announces major Legion branch, L.A. and command anniversaries: 25th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 75th and 80th.
Web Sites Of Interest
Is for organizations with a military connection to submit their websites for consideration.
These items should be sent directly to Doris Williams, Legion Magazine, 86 Aird Place, Kanata, ON K2L 0A1.
Letters To The Editor
Legion Magazine welcomes readers’ views but our space is limited and we exercise the right to select and edit letters for length, clarity, accuracy and taste. When writing to us, please supply your first name or two initials and your last name. Letters should also include your address and daytime telephone number. They may be mailed to 86 Aird Place, Kanata ON K2L 0A1 or sent by facsimile to 613-591-0146 or e-mailed to email@example.com.
Readers should be aware that any letters sent to us as candidates for the regular Letters page will also be candidates for the letters page on the magazine’s website. In other words, when you send us a letter to the editor, you are giving Legion Magazine permission to print the letter in the magazine and to post it on our website.
The Snapshots section accepts electronic photos submitted by e-mail to the command correspondent, provided that the correspondent has an e-mail address.
The command correspondent will determine whether the photo is eligible and whether all the necessary caption information is there. The correspondent will then pass the electronic file on to Legion Magazine for publication. As with regular submissions of glossy images from photofinishing labs, Legion Magazine staff will edit the captions and lay out the photographs for publication.
Submitted photos must have a minimum width of 1,350 pixels, or 4.5 inches. Final resolution must be 300 dots per inch or greater. All photos must be accompanied by a caption. Black-and-white JPEGs would have a file size of 200 kilobytes (KB) or more, while colour JPEGs would be between 0.5 megabytes (MB) and 1 MB. TIFF and EPS files are fairly big–between 1-2 megabytes (MB) for black and white photos and between 4-6 MB for colour.
The magazine can accept three electronic file formats, each of which is identified by a three-letter extension added by your computer after the period at the end of the file name. They are: Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpg), Tagged Image Format (.tif) and Encapsulated Postscript (.eps). Just to keep everyone on their toes, the actual acronyms for text spelling differ.
Please note that regular, glossy prints that come from film cameras will continue to be accepted by command correspondents through the mail. In fact, a branch can submit some photos electronically and others in glossy format.
Choosing A Photo
Photos submitted should be well-focused colour or black and white prints of events that qualify. While some photos may be published in colour, the majority will appear in black and white.
To get magazine-quality reproduction, photos need to contain continuous tone, so please provide only glossy photos from a photofinishing lab. Images that have already been printed contain a dot pattern, which cannot be scanned by the magazine staff. Do not send colour or black and while photocopies, Polaroid photos, photos screened for another publication, laser prints or photos from a home scanner or printer. The Art Department will do what it can with professionally processed digital prints.
The most effective photos contain fewer than six people positioned, where possible, against a light-coloured blank wall. Please note that with colour photos, a light background is particularly important: red will reproduce as black if the photo is published in black and white. The people in the photo should be engaged in some activity related to the event. If Legion dress is worn, attention should be paid to how it is worn. Are medals in the right place? Is the Legion beret worn correctly?
What To Avoid
Undesirable background is rarely so blatant, but plants, flagpoles, murals and other objects can produce bizarre effects. Be on the lookout for background interference, whether obvious or subtle, that becomes all too apparent when your photo is published. When it comes to photographing parades or colour parties, check to make sure flags are being flown correctly, e.g., when flying the Union Jack the wide white stripe must be next to the pike or flagpole and at the top.
The choice of background is usually dictated by overall tone. Look for good contrast between subject and background, and remember that a red background will reproduce as black in black and white reproduction. Eliminate nasty shadows by angling the camera’s flash unit toward a white ceiling or wall. This is called "bouncing" the flash. Shadows can also be eliminated by moving your subject away from the wall.
The out-of-focus model contrasts with writing on a sign in the background that is sharp and clear. Focus critically on your subject. An f/16 small aperture will give more depth of field than a wide f/2. If you’re using a camera with automatic focusing, be sure your subject is in the middle of the viewfinder when the camera sets the focus, and stand within the shooting distance recommended by the manufacturer.
Return Of Photos
Legion Magazine does not, as a rule, return branch photos that appear in the magazine because we can’t afford the time needed to process them. An exception is made if a branch requests in writing the return of a specific photo and provides a legible return address. Allow two to three months for returns.
Apart from Last Post death notices, Legion Magazine reports the deaths of certain people in the News section. Those who qualify for an obituary belong to one of the following categories.
- Legion members: Current or former a) dominion president; b) dominion secretary; c) member of Dominion Executive Council (DEC); d) honorary grand president; e) senior Dominion Command and magazine staff with long tenure (a minimum of 10 years service); f) provincial command president; g) provincial command secretary.
- Veterans Affairs Canada: Current or former a) minister; b) deputy minister; c) heads of portfolio agencies, including the Veterans Review and Appeal Board and the Canadian Agency of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
- Department of National Defence: Current or former a) minister; b) chief of defence staff.
- Notable contributors to veterans causes: A person who is nationally known and who through their involvement has influenced veterans causes on a national level. This, however, does not mean the magazine will publish an obituary for every president or former president of every national veterans organization.