5 Submit news report

The West Coast Leaf was a quarterly news publication covering California and successor to Oaksterdam News. From 2007 to 2013, the Leaf informed the West Coast’s growing cannabis community with print run and distribution that at times exceeded 167,000 copies per issue. Copies were distributed through cannabis dispensaries, libraries, book stores and assorted public events or by cannabis reform organizations.

In 2013, the West Coast Leaf transformed into theLeafOnline.com.

Please contact us if you wish to submit an article in the future.

West Coast Leaf / theLeafOnline appreciates submissions of relevant photos of interest to our readers, and articles from 300 to 900 words. Let us know how you want to be credited for your submission. We will in all cases try to respect the integrity of your submission; however we retain full editorial control to edit and modify submissions to fit our requirements of space and tone. For the sake of disclosure, we request that you describe your relationship to any organization, such as being the director of a political organization or affiliation with another media group. We may choose to publish that information along with your byline to establish credibility. We reserve our right to excerpt material so as to make salient information available to our readers or to decline to print any submission at any time at our sole discretion.

Suggestions: Cut to the chase. Lead with your strongest and most compelling point, the one thing you want every reader to understand and remember. Respect your reader’s intelligence but don’t expect them to know too much detail about your topic. Avoid using questions, especially rhetorical questions. Do not quote yourself. Every sentence should be short, active and clear. Don’t state your opinion, quote somebody else stating that opinion. Do not use first person / second person perspective — “I, me, my, you, your, we” — unless it is absolutely essential to the context. Avoid using terms like”pot, weed, dope, stoners, potheads,” or any pejoratives. Preferred terminology includes “cannabis, medical marijuana, cannabis patients, qualified patients, therapeutic use, personal use, adult use, private use, medical cannabis dispensaries, lawful providers, outlets, cannabis dispensing collectives, marijuana offenses.” Never save you best line for the end; many readers never get that far into the story.

Specifications: Articles should not exceed 500 words and contain no personal attacks or expletive profanity. The tone and style we use are standard news format reports, that means they are written in an active format (not passive form), in third person, with the most important information stacked in front of the article as the rest of the information flows from most important to least so as to facilitate cutting it shorter as space demands. Answer the basic questions a reader expects to learn: Who did what to whom when and where. Here’s why it’s important and how it occurred, according to a specific and credible source of information. Details follow in order of importance or interest, most important to least.

Punctuation and Style: Sentences should be brief, clear and declarative with active verbs and clear subject / object interaction. Two short sentences are often better than one long sentence. Dates are inherently boring and should never be used at the beginning of a sentence. Dates are abbreviated like so: “Feb. 2.” Avoid unnecessary punctuation and especially exclamation points. Put punctuation within “quotes.” Use a single quote to identify “a ‘quote’ within a quote.” After you give a person’s full name, from then on refer to them by last name only. The first use of any acronym should follow the spelled-out form within parenthesis, as in “West Coast Leaf (WCL).” Never use exclamation points, all-capitalized words, or ampersands (&).

Photos: Try to capture a strong image that will be appreciated from arms length; too much going on makes it hard for people to capture an impression. Crop your picture to the most interesting part. A photo with strong colors and a captivating image can often encapsulate an event better than a panoramic view incorporating numerous objects. Frame your photo to avoid clutter and group important elements together in case the photo needs to be cropped for space; for example capture a group of people standing close together rather than spread out into several clusters, unless the background is the key element. If you know how to format your image, make it 300 lpi in CMYK for color, or 300 lpi in grayscale for black and white. If you don’t know how to do that, don’t worry about it the first time, just send us your jpeg or PDF up to 1MB in size and we’ll do our best. But if it’s going to be a regular thing, you should learn how to format your photos for print media, anyway, and we’ll expect you to do that.

Click on the link below and attach your jpeg or PDF image to the email it will generate. Send your article pasted into the body of your email and also attach a copy in MS Word or text format. Sorry, we cannot read WordPerfect documents and do not have time to clean up PDF text submissions.

Click here to send an email to our submissions editors