Editorial guidelines

About Publishers' Auxiliary

Founded in 1865, Publishers' Auxiliary is a monthly newspaper industry trade publication that focuses on community newspapers (loosely defined as papers with circulations less than 30,000). Publishers' Auxiliary was purchased in 1962 by the National Newspaper Association. The paper is mailed to 2,300 member newspapers.

Produced in Columbia, MO, Publishers' Auxiliary's staff and contributors use member contacts, press clippings, state association reports, national media and the Internet to deliver the latest news, trends and best practices to NNA members. For many members, Publishers' Auxiliary is their main source or news about and for our industry.

Publishers' Auxiliary runs about of 24-28 pages per issue. Each issue may contain any of the following: news, editorials, columns, a listing of newspapers recently sold, newspaper personnel changes, professional development opportunities, trends and information about the industry, display and classified advertising, obituaries and other pertinent issues, topics and people in the industry. As a monthly publication, the Publishers' Auxiliary deadline is the 15th day of each month for the next month's issue. Publishers' Auxiliary is a tabloid-sized publication, with image area dimensions of 10.5 inches by 14 inches. The top of the column is 13.5 inches. Publishers' Auxiliary has two standard column layouts.

Pub Aux Editorial Calendar click here.



It is acceptable on second reference to abbreviate names of organizations, associations and other entities that may be cumbersome throughout the text.


Months used with dates should be abbreviated, except March, April, May, June and July.

Newspaper names

If the name of the home city or town appears in the newspaper's name, a parenthetic citation is made, after the city or town, indicating the state.

     The Sigourney (IA) News-Review

If the name of the home city or town does not appear as part of the newspaper's name, notation of the paper's name should follow the name.

     The News-Gazette in Champaign, IL

State names

This is an exception to AP style. In Publishers' Auxiliary, abbreviate the name of a state in conjunction with a city or locale using the two-letter postal abbreviations.

     West Virginia becomes WV


A person's title is only capitalized if it appears before his or her name.

     NNA Chief Executive Officer Tonda F. Rush

     Tonda F. Rush, NNA chief executive officer

However, job names are never capitalized unless part of an officeholder's title.

     attorney Deb Lehman

     District Attorney Deb Lehman

     coach John Kochan

     Head Coach John Kochan

Additionally, courtesy titles, such as Mr., Mrs., Miss and Ms. are not used unless multiple references are made in a story where more than one person has the same last name.

In general, if someone is affiliated with a newspaper (especially as an owner, publisher or editor), the name of the newspaper should appear with the name on first reference.

United States Postal Service

When referring to the government corporation, always capitalize.

     U.S. Postal Service (always on first reference)

     Postal Service (may be used on second reference or USPS)

As a singular entity, when possessive, it is USPS'

     the USPS' strategic plan


Use percent, never % unless as a graphic element or in a headline.

In a series there is never a comma before the and: red, green and blue.

Because Pub Aux is a newspaper, the names of other newspapers are never italicized.

If you have any questions about AP style, consult an AP Stylebook.

What is expected of freelance writers

Read area newspapers for ideas, and keep in touch with area editors and publishers to know what their concerns are. Stay on top of hot local issues so you can write a story when they break.

Watch for these types of stories:

     Controversies: Anything unusual concerning small newspapers, such as feuds between a paper and the local government (or between competing papers), controversies involving newspapers, strikes, advertising battles, newspaper blunders and outstanding achievements-such as exposing a dramatic scandal or providing terrific coverage of a big story.

     Legal: Unusual, interesting or important litigation involving small newspapers. It can include libel judgments, antitrust suits, right to privacy and many other legal issues.

     Dailies: Activities by the big dailies that affect nearby small newspapers. A joint operating agreement by two large papers, for example, might undercut ad prices as a tactic designed to drive smaller competitors out of the business.

     Features: Colorful or controversial small-town editors and publishers, regional trends, an inside look at a dominant area chain, etc.

     Technology: Such as "electronic newspapers" or other undertakings unusual for small papers.

     Innovations: Such as imaginative marketing techniques, unusual editions, avant-garde layouts or production and business ideas.

     Papers sold: Small papers sold or going out of business. Publishers' Auxiliary lists those in its "Marketplace" section.

     Local reaction: Local reaction to major national newspaper stories, such as the postal rate hikes or service, Supreme Court press-freedom decisions or national legislation affecting newspapers.

     Column ideas: Watch for ideas for an occasional opinion column and for columns in area newspapers about the newspaper business that could be reprinted in Pub Aux. Topics include ethical questions, problems with government officials, comment on events affecting journalism, communications, with readers, advice for newspapers, business or production problems and others.

     Photos: Keep an eye out for outstanding feature or news photos, not necessarily about newspapers. Also, try to find art for stories you write.

Notify the Publishers' Auxiliary editorial staff of any possible stories involving those topics. The editor will give you the go-ahead on any you want to cover yourself.

Publishers' Auxiliary occasionally might want you to travel to cover major events. Such stories include important hearings, trials, conventions and other stories of national importance.


Pay for stringers and columnists is flexible. Prices are agreed upon on an individual basis.

All checks are cut at the end of the month after an article has been published.

For other reimbursement requests that have been preapproved, please send an invoice with copies of receipts to NNA, P.O. Box 7540, Columbia, MO, 65205-7540.

Kill fee

It's unlikely, but if we are unable to print a story we have commissioned in advance, we'll pay a minimum of one-third the agreed-on price.

Writer's contract

We have a writer's contract for all stringers and columnists. Please read it carefully.


Getting in touch with Publishers' Auxiliary

When you want to discuss a story, or simply check in, call our office at 573-777-4980. The direct line to the managing editor is 573-777-4981 or e-mail stan@nna.org. You will find, curiously enough, that he is always away from his desk.

Stan Schwartz
Managing Editor

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