Focus Mid-South Editorial & Advertising Policy

1. About Focus Mid-South
Focus Mid-South is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)-centric magazine (in print and online) providing information and views about, and of interest to, members of the LGBT community and its allies.

Focus Mid-South aims to:

  • Offer content that is friendly, uplifting and educational to both the LGBT community and non-LGBT.
  • Encourage LGBT respect and understanding through the sharing of stories and news.
  • Articulate to the non-LGBT community the LGBT place in an equal society. Focus does not seek to cause controversy, publish explicit sexual content, or practice political grandstanding.
  • Give public expression to the LGBT involvement in legal, religious, cultural and social issues. Focus does not seek to create news, nor does it seek to oppress opinion. The publisher has the sole right to refuse publication of material that it deems offensive, off topic, false, lewd, lascivious or otherwise indecent. The publisher also reserves the right to correct all content for grammar and spelling.
  • Publish story bylines and brief biographies of contributors.
  • Offer a constructive appraisal of LGBT life within the wider community.
  • Provide an advertising vehicle for the products and services of the LGBT community and its allies, and to encourage the use of those advertisers products and services.
  • Provide a forum and a voice for LGBT persons.

2. Professional Ethics
In pursuing its aims, Focus Mid-South is committed to the highest ethical and professional standards. The publisher has the sole right to refuse publication of material that it deems offensive, off topic, false, lewd, lascivious or otherwise indecent. The publisher also reserves the right to correct all content for grammar and spelling.

Its Editor and staff shall:

  • Report news and interpret editorial contributions with honesty, striving to present relevant facts and not suppressing or distorting relevant available facts by wrong or improper emphasis.
  • Emphasize news and opinions of interest to the gay community while respecting that everyone is entitled to equal rights under the law.
  • Respect confidences received in the course of their work in all circumstances.
  • Use fair and honest means to obtain news, pictures, films, tapes and documents.
  • Identify themselves and the magazine before obtaining an interview for publication.
  • Respect personal privacy; abide by the legal definition of public space when taking photographs for publication (public spaces are generally defined as places where the public is invited in, e.g. bars, restaurants, festivals, demonstrations, public parties and events, etc.).
  • Correct any published information found to be harmfully inaccurate.
  • Allow no personal interests to influence professional duties.
  • Allow no consideration, gift or advantage offered to influence any professional duties.
  • Allow no advertising or commercial considerations to influence their journalism.

3. Advertising Policy
The Editor shall accept or refuse advertising content based on advertising policy. The publisher has the sole right to refuse publication of material that it deems offensive, off topic, false, lewd, lascivious or otherwise indecent. The publisher also reserves the right to correct all content for grammar and spelling.

Focus Mid-South Contributor Policy

Submitting your story as a contributor to Focus Mid-South magazine:

Rules and guidelines for writers and photographers:

Attachments: Photo release, byline release

Please abide by our published deadlines for contributors.

Please identify yourself on all documents that are sent in by typing in your name and the date submitted at the top of your Word Document. Please give your electronic file a relevant name. For example, a story about birds might be saved as a .doc file as “Penguins_byJohnSmith”.

Submit your article as completely as you can:

  • Check name spellings, phone numbers, and web addresses
  • Support what you’ve written by using quotes from authorities in the field you’re discussing.
  • Get right to the point. The most important things come first. Less important things come after/last.

Writers should always expect that their story will be edited, including:

  • Spelling and grammar
  • Comprehension
  • Length (400-500 words is typically the word count for a one-page story)
  • Any reason necessary to fit our brand, deadlines, word count…anything

*Contributing writers must agree to this in writing before they can be considered a contributor.

Just a note: if your work is heavily edited or changed a great deal, please do not take this as a reflection of the importance of you or your work. Writing for a magazine is a process that involves many people, deadlines, and space constraints. That’s just the way this works. No one’s work is ‘sacred.’ If you don’t want your stories to be edited for all the reasons we mention, we ask that you not contribute stories, or that you write under our Staff byline.*

*If writers prefer, they may forego using a byline on a story. In this case, the ‘Staff’ byline will be used and no credit will be given to the contributor on the story itself or on the contributor page on the masthead.

If a photo or image is submitted (by the story’s writer) to accompany a story, it must have a signed photo release attached with the image owner’s signature and their preferred photo credit stating that they give Focus Mid-South magazine permission to use the photo, free of charge. If the photo does not have this authorization, we cannot use the image. Photo credit will be given adjacent to the photo as per the standard practice.

For commissioned photo contributions, photographers should put photo credit information in the File Info area of the electronic file. Also, please add a caption in this area and identify people and places in your image.

Focus Mid-South considers photos that are commissioned to be work for hire and as such, we reserve the right to manipulate them as we see fit.

Anyone who wishes to use photos that we have commissioned must have the express written consent of both Focus Mid-South magazine and the photographer. We do not charge for use of our images if we give consent, but it is expected that the photographer would be compensated. Arrangements for that would be made directly with the photographer, but only if our consent is given for use outside the magazine.

We guard our story ideas from other media outlets. Sharing stories before they are published puts at risk our ability to offer unique content, and it creates an opportunity for us to get ‘scooped’ (someone hears our story idea and gets it to press faster than we can). Please do not share your story with anyone before the story is published by the magazine. This includes showing it to friends, partners…anyone.

Though not considered professional practice, since most of our contributors are not trained writers, we will allow them to ask the subject of the story to review work. Writers should remind them of our policy: they are not to share even a rough draft or the story idea with anyone. Furthermore, even if the subject ‘approves’ the story, what you submit is subject to our right to edit for the reasons mentioned above.


If you are a contributor to Focus Mid-South magazine or focusmidsouth.com, it is a given that you are
passionate about the Mid-South LGBTQ community: the good, the bad, and the in between. That
being said, Focus Mid-South magazine is in a unique position to influence public opinion; we take that
responsibility very seriously.

Our goal is not to incite conflict, though sometimes, in circumstances where we speak on behalf of a
cause that we support, we may do just that. Our stance as a magazine will always be connected to our
overall vision and mission of social justice.

This responsibility extends to our contributors. We expect our contributors to behave professionally
and with the utmost journalistic integrity across all platforms of communication including personal
social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

We will always encourage you to be actively engaged in conversation about issues that affect the
LGBT community. But as you can imagine, it would be impossible for us to convene a meeting with
each contributor on every topic that is being discussed in the news or on social media to be sure that
what you think and feel are the same things that Focus does. Therefore, we must ask that you refrain
from representing the Focus name or brand during the course of your personal discourse and
disputes, regardless of the subject.

What does this mean for you as a contributor? Simply stated:

1. We reserve the right to maintain the integrity of the Focus Mid-South brand
2. We require that your not use our name or brand when stating your personal opinion
3. We require an abundance of respect for the LGBTQ service organizations that we support:
OUTMemphis, Friends for Life, Tennessee Equality Project and Mid-South Pride

If Focus Mid-South magazine feels that any of its contributors have violated this code of ethics, or
continue to show public disrespect for any of our core groups, that contributor will not be allowed to
submit content until the publisher and editor have had a chance to review the offense, and in his/her
sole discretion feel that the matter has been resolved satisfactorily.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of this information, please send us an email directly
to editor@focusmidsouth.com