Planet Forward Submission Guidelines
The best Planet Forward stories – whether a video, article, or photo essay – explain why an innovation is important, the impact it will have on our world and where the idea comes from. Innovations with the potential to help a lot of people, improve everyday life or change the way something is done make especially compelling stories. Having a memorable and inspiring character at the center of it all helps create connection with the audience.
Planet Forward accepts both story drafts and pitches. Sending us a draft is a great way to publish school assignments and other existing stories you’ve created, while pitching is the fastest way to get feedback from our editorial staff on a new idea.
The best ideas that you share with us will be chosen by our editorial staff and will be featured prominently on Planet Forward’s website, social media and at our events.
Who Can Share Ideas?
Planet Forward accepts submissions from people across the globe with all different points of view. You do have to be at least 13 years old to submit, and if you’re under 18 you need to have a parent’s permission.
Before you post, you need to set up your Planet Forward account by answering a few simple questions about who you are and where you’re coming from. We do this because we’re a community and we want you to have the chance to share your story with as many people as possible.
We also want to be transparent, so if you’re posting for a company, make sure that’s clearly reflected in your account information and in your submission. In any case, make sure we can all see who you are – fill out your profile information, let us know where you’re coming from, and let the community see exactly who is responsible for your great work.
What Can I Share?
We’re looking for stories about innovations and solutions that can move the planet forward. You can share stories about yourself, what you’ve seen or done in your travels, or what your friends, family, professors, people in the community are doing. Show us the amazing new devices, ideas, policies or actions that are making a difference. Introduce us to the inventor. The idea here is to showcase an innovation or solution that others can learn from, and maybe do themselves, or contribute to. We’re looking for ideas, not political commentary, editorials or rants.
The most effective stories always have a great explanation of what the innovation is, an exploration of the character or characters behind it, and a well-reasoned, detailed and supported main point. This is your story to move the planet forward – your opportunity to explain it to the community. Make them care!
Remember, though, Planet Forward is not the place for advertisements or infomercials. You’re not selling a product or a service; idea submissions that are clearly commercial will not be posted. Make your story informational, not promotional. Tell us how something works, what’s new about it and how it can make a difference but be careful not to hype it up.
How Can I Share My Idea?
We’re interested in well thought-out, reasoned ideas about innovations and solutions, whatever form they may take. We want you to be creative, to show the community something we’ve never seen before. You can do this in a variety of ways:
- Video: This is one of the most engaging ways to express a concept online and connect with an audience. Upload your idea to YouTube or Vimeo, and then submit to our site with text that helps community members understand what they’re going to see.
- Written Articles: Writing is another great way to present an innovation or idea. Try to include a still image to brighten the page and lay out your concept clearly and concisely. We look for stories that are 1000 words or less – that’s about as much as the average person is willing to read in one article online. Charts and graphs can also provide the reader with extra information and make great additions to a written piece.
- Photo Essays: In a photo essay we are looking for beautiful pictures that capture a sense of character paired with detailed captions to tell a story and inform the reader. A photo essay works well for a story when it’s tied to a specific place, photos have the ability to convey what it looks and feels like to be somewhere. A good photo essay has a mixture of wide shots, landscapes and detailed close ups.
- Audio: Do you have a podcast? Did you get a great interview with a researcher on your campus? Upload the audio to YouTube or Vimeo and make sure to pair it with a photo and at least one paragraph of descriptive text.
What Should I Double-Check Before I Submit?
Before submitting your story, there are a few guidelines that you need to make sure it follows to be published on Planet Forward.
- Accuracy matters. Make sure you double-check and cite any facts in your submission.
- Be original. Any content you share needs to be your own. Make sure you’re not plagiarizing by copying and pasting from other sites or publications or by using information without giving credit.
- Respect copyright. We respect the rights of copyright holders and expect you to do so as well. Don’t include in your submission material that is protected by copyright law unless you have explicit permission from the copyright holder.
- Use music wisely. Unless it’s your own or you have explicit permission to use it, you can’t just put any music in your video. There’s a wide variety of royalty-free music available online and in editing softwares.
- Respect privacy. Don’t use hidden cameras or record conversations without the permission of all involved. Make sure the people you interview and film know you’re putting this online, and get a release either on camera or on paper.
- Be responsible. We cannot accept libelous, obscene or otherwise illegal material. Bear in mind that you are legally responsible for what you submit.
Planet Forward reserves the right to remove a submission for any reason. For any questions about how to share an idea, contact us.