In its first year, HomeStation has grown from obscurity to a runaway success; it currently averages about 15,000 unique visitors per month, and successfully raised the bar for Home community journalism.
The HSM team is a remarkably tight-knit and cohesive group, and we're always on the lookout for new voices who wish to join us. However, it might help to know what the general ruless and expectations are.
1. Articles must meet a minimum word count of 750 words. Although we've occasionally published shorter articles, we do try to adhere to a minimum standard in order to encourage good structure. While there is no maximum word count, the average HSM article tends to clock in at about 1200 words or so. Team writers are encouraged to produce a minimum of two articles per month.
2. HomeStation is a Sony-positive and Home-positive publication. We do permit (and indeed encourage) constructive criticism of Sony and other developers that may help them improve Home, but we don't publish destructive criticism. Likewise, anything defamatory or potentially libelous is off limits. Though HSM may take aesthetic liberties with the AP Stylebook, we will always err on the side of caution when it comes to content.
3. We don't publish "wish list" articles; meaning don't write a list of your personal wants for Home and call it an article. Take one or two ideas at a time and expound upon them per article. Likewise, badgering the editors about when an article should be published is not a good idea. Articles are timed for publication at specific dates and times in order to maximize effective visibility.
4. Articles may be edited, reworded and otherwise altered during the editorial process. This is done solely to make the author's work look as polished as possible, and to make sure that what's published stays within the editorial parameters of what HomeStation allows. As a rule, HomeStation generally avoids profanity and sexually explicit content. Like Home itself, we're more or less PG-13.
5. It is generally accepted that if you're an HSM team writer, you give HSM the right of first refusal on any Home-related articles you write. HomeStation is under no obligation to publish anything submitted to it.
6. If you're active on the Sony forum or other Home-related groups, please remember that your conduct reflects on HomeStation as a whole, not just on yourself personally. Even if you are provoked and/or trolled, you cannot respond in kind -- nor can you indulge in such behavior and expect to remain associated with this publication.
7. There has never been, nor should there ever be the expectation of, financial compensation for being published in HSM (outside of perhaps winning a prize from the occasional promotional contest run by the publication itself). This is an all-volunteer organization that does this out of a love of Home.
8. Please bear in mind that HSM has a rather large audience for a Home fan organization, including some notable people within the gaming industry. Don't expect HSM to publish anything you wouldn't be comfortable saying to someone's face. Likewise, while we encourage spirited discussion, trolling and personal attacks in article commentary or in the HSM forum will be deleted and the offenders banned. We're not as lenient as the Sony forum.
9. Team writers are encouraged to take their own in-Home pictures and submit them with their articles. We do retain an in-house team photographer for assistance if needed; however, this does not absolve the writer of his responsibility to provide his own images.
10. Have fun! HomeStation is broadly considered the most polished and literate source of Home journalism available to the market, and is a platform for mature and reasoned discussion of Home's social issues, gaming opportunities and beyond.
11. Attendance at HSM production meetings (currently held bi-monthly in Home) is not mandatory, but it is encouraged.
Hopefully this information helps you get a sense of HomeStation's editorial parameters, as well as what's expected of you if you join the team. If the list above sounds daunting, keep in mind that HomeStation's goal is to match the quality of a commercial publication, rather than looking like a bunch of loose-cannon fanboys with more enthusiasm than professionalism. Remember that we're a group that supports one another; we have our mentor programs and we often collaborate on articles together.
It's actually a hell of a lot of fun being part of HomeStation Magazine. If you're up for the challenge, we encourage you to jump in. You might just be surprised at who reads and responds to you.