Guidelines for writing a Radio magazine Field Report
FIELD REPORT: The Field Report is an exclusive Radio magazine feature. Each article is prepared by the staff of a production facility, consulting firm or a broadcast station. The intent is to have the equipment tested on-site. The author is at liberty to discuss the product with industry leaders and to visit with other users and/or the manufacturer to track down pertinent facts.
In order to treat all products covered in Field Reports equally, a common format will be used. Describe what the product is, how it is used, the basics of how it works, good features, problem areas and serviceability. The manuscript will normally run from 750 to 1,200 words. Include technical art, such as a simplified block diagram of the unit. Include measured test results if applicable. Test data must, however, be kept to a minimum because of space limitations.
Field Report Requirements: A Field Report article must be an original work written exclusively for Radio magazine. The Field Report is designed to assess the applicability of the product, including personal opinions of the reviewer on good features and limitations -- if any. In essence, Field Reports are prepared by and for the industry. Manufacturer's support is limited to providing loan equipment and to aiding the author if support is requested in some area.
All Field Reports must be written by the user or engineer responsible for installation or maintenance of the device or system. The Field Report cannot be written for the user by a manufacturer or public relations company and must carry the byline of the user. The user in conjunction with the Radio magazine editor responsible for processing Field Reports will have final say on the information contained in the article. Manufacturers or their public relations firms cannot be given advance copies of Field Reports before they are published.
When preparing a Field Report manuscript, include a discussion of the following:
Outline the product's good points and bad points (if any).
Because serviceability is an important consideration for any piece of equipment, discuss the construction of the unit and the maintenance documentation that is provided by the manufacturer.
Although the Field Report is the only Radio magazine feature that deals specifically with one company's product, keep mention of the company name to a minimum. Once introduced as Company A's product, there is seldom any need to bring up the company's name again.
Prepare a Product Highlight list of five to eight items that outlines the major features and/or performance specifications of the unit.
Try to include a high-quality color photo of the unit by itself (a product shot) or in use at the facility. The manufacturer can usually provide a high-quality product shot.
Field Report checklist:
Written by a user
Submit 750 to 1,200 words
Outline the need for and application of the product (if necessary)
Describe how the product works (include a basic block diagram)
Discuss installation (if appropriate)
Report on documentation provided for the product
Measure performance and report the results
Discuss unique attributes of the product
Discuss problems or limitations
Include a photograph (color) of the product by itself or in use
Include documentation of test results
Include a five- to eight-point Product Highlight summary
Keep company and product name mentions to a minimum
Be objective. Write the manuscript with a just-the-facts approach
Radio magazine will be forced to reject Field Report manuscripts that do not meet the above guidelines. The goal of these rules is to ensure that Field Report articles are complete, objective and thorough.