A philosopher at a liberal arts college writes:
How different are the standards for publishing in popular venues and trade publications from the standards for publishing in academic journals? For example, are submissions to multiple venues acceptable if the publication doesn’t explicitly prohibit this? Or do the standards vary too widely for this question to be useful?
One reason I ask is that The Chronicle of Higher Education said in October that they would publish a book review I submitted to them. I waited patiently, inquired a few times, and most recently the editor has said that she thinks the moment of the piece has passed (indeed!). This would never happen in an academic journal. I have little experience publishing in such venues…is this normal? (I recognize that you might not know because you don’t send out unsolicited work).
Mass media publications, even fairly specialized ones like CHE, are certainly very sensitive to the timing of pieces. I recently had occasion to send an unsolicited opinion piece about the Supreme Court; I was advised by someone with experience not to do simultaneous submissions. I had the advantage of having, through colleagues, an editorial contact at each publication. The first rejected it (they were deluged with pieces), but did so promptly. The second newspaper took the piece, but is holding it until the Gorsuch hearings are set to begin. That seemed smart to me, since the days after his nomination were awash with pieces, and the content of this piece makes it apt for the start of the hearings. So that is my experience with unsolicited submissions.
But it would be useful to hear from others about their experiences, and their answers to the posed questions.