Writer's Guidelines for The ASHA Leader

General Guidelines

  1. Your story should be lively, entertaining and engaging, while providing practical, easy-to-follow advice or information readers can act on. The ASHA Leader is a newsmagazine serving a broader base of professional readers—including students—than scholarly journals. If you have written your submission like an article for a scholarly journal, the Leader isn't the right home for your work.
  2. As a newsmagazine, we place a great emphasis on the readability of what we publish. To that end, please:
    • Write in the active voice, which helps to engage readers.
    • Strive for a conversational tone. Be concise, avoid complex words, technical terms and jargon, and limit the use of acronyms.
    • Give your story a title that's pithy, short and attention-grabbing. We reserve the right to change the title to one that better fits the Leader's style.
    • Remember that we will edit your accepted manuscript for Leader style (we use the current edition of the "Associated Press Stylebook") and review the content. The accuracy of information presented in the article is the author's responsibility. 
    • Limit writers to four; we prefer only one. Below, we explain some common pitfalls of multiple-writer features and how to avoid them.
  3. We do not accept simultaneous submissions. If your work is under consideration by another publisher, please do not send it to us.

Writing Clinical Features

  1. Start with a hook—an anecdote, a case study, or an interesting fact related to the premise of the feature. It's all right to be provocative with your hook, if the rest of your story backs it up.
  2. Now that you've captured readers' attention, you can introduce them to the main focus of your feature. (Read some examples of hooks and main focuses from previous issues of The Leader.)
  3. After the reader is hooked and understands what the feature is about, then you can provide all sorts of information, such as:
    • Findings from recent studies (yours or others').
    • Description of the program or idea.
    • Background about the topic or clinical issue.
    • Other supporting—or even opposing—material and information.
  4. Now that readers understand the issue, they need to know what to do with all this wonderful information. You want to give them a take-away message:
    • Treatment strategies based on the information.
    • How to replicate the program or concept.
    • Resources for more specific information.
    • How to use the information in daily academic or clinical responsibilities.

Writing a Column

Writing a column is a little different from writing a clinical feature or news story. Our columns must be very tightly focused, because they're limited to 650 words.

It's even more important to maintain a conversational tone in a column than in other article types, because in a column the writer "speaks" directly to the reader.

A column should present the writer's point of view on a timely subject of interest to ASHA members, or provide a short primer or tips on how to do something: for example, how to file an insurance claim, keep young clients' attention during treatment sessions or navigate a workplace ethical dilemma.


For clinical features—and some other article types—we ask that you submit a list of sources (i.e., references). Please format your sources in APA style. Access an overview tutorial on APA style.

But as a newsmagazine, The ASHA Leader does not publish sources or parenthetical citations in the print magazine. We provide a full list of sources online for all our clinical features.

When reporting news, it isn't necessary to back up commonly known or well-supported assertions with a citation. For most statements, it's sufficient for the source to be available online. But if a study, article, book or other source is important enough to warrant a direct reference, you can note it in the text: 

  • "According to a 2004 study by Dunham and colleagues..." 
  • "As Law mentions in her 2008 exposé of speech and hearing practices..." 
  • "The results of Polovoy's landmark 1992 study suggest..." 
  • "According to a 2012 report on ABC News..."

Multiple-Writer Submissions

Collaboration is common when writing about research or clinical practice for scholarly publications. But given the accelerated schedule for publishing a newsmagazine, multiple-writer submissions can produce complications and delays. Potential pitfalls include:

  1. Missed deadlines. A firm schedule is difficult to maintain when multiple writers work on a manuscript.
  2. Lack of a consistent style and voice. Multiple writers working on one manuscript display varied writing styles and perspectives. Without careful editing and blending, this can make a narrative jarring and difficult to read.
  3. Communication breakdowns. If multiple writers are working on a single submission and contacting an editor independently of one another, then there's great potential for a breakdown in communication and coordination between the writers and the newsmagazine.

    For these reasons, we prefer single-writer submissions. But if you're working with multiple authors, please appoint one writer as chief coordinator and contact for the project. The writing coordinator/contact is responsible for:
    • Deadlines. Enforcing the writing schedule and meeting the agreed-upon deadline.
    • Blending. Coordinating, reviewing, and blending the separate writings into a coherent story.
    • Communications. All communications with the newsmagazine.

Submit an Item for the "People" Column

The Leader's "People" column recognizes achievements and milestones in the lives of ASHA members. We've expanded our coverage to include the following categories:

Career Moves: Have you been promoted, moved to a different university or practice setting, or established a private practice? We want to know!

Honors and Awards: If you've received an award, we'd be honored to publicize it. Please include a link to any online information about the award.

In the News: If you've been interviewed for a newspaper article, radio or TV show, podcast, or other news outlet, let us know so we can help spread the word.

Obituaries: Please link to an obituary online, or provide the person's age; date, place and cause of death; immediate survivors; and professional accomplishments.

Publications: Have you published a mass-market book on speech, language or hearing? A novel, poetry collection or children's book? Are you launching a new blog or website related to the professions? If so, we'll note it in "People." (Note: Due to space limitations, we cannot accept submissions related to textbooks, treatment manuals, publications in scholarly journals, letters to the editor, etc.)

Retirements: It's important to The Leader that a lifetime of service in the professions be properly highlighted. Include all your career milestones and achievements.

Please include your name as you'd like it to appear in print, your job title, any Internet link(s) to further information, and a high-resolution digital headshot (a .jpg, at least 4" x 6" at 300 dpi, or 1200 x 1800 pixels). Submissions to "People" may be may be edited for length and content.

Submit your notice by e-mail to leader@asha.org.