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Thank you for your interest in contributing to Immersion Travel Magazine. There are thousands of destinations and activities yet to be discovered and we are excited to see what you have to bring to the table. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with our magazine’s personality and content (so as not to duplicate previous material) before submitting a query.

Who are Our Readers?

Immersion Travel’s readers are active and inquisitive citizens of the world. They are college educated individuals between the ages of 25 and 60 with moderate to high incomes. They are travelers, not tourists, who aren’t interested in chlorinated pools and fully-stocked bars. They are seeking memorable experiences that are meaningful and enriching. They want to connect with locals, explore protected habitats in a safe and educational way, help preserve communities, restore natural landscapes, and have fun while doing it. Some readers will be new to traveling and will want to know everything there is about sustainable travel options while others will be familiar with eco-travel and will expect thorough accounts of destinations. Other readers will be content with daydreaming about locations instead of planning itineraries and will want to be able to picture each destination in vivid detail.

We don’t leave anything out. If there are thousands of mosquitos, long lines, bouts of food poisoning, and giant spiders, we say so; all with the mindset that “perfect” travel experiences are few and far between, but the rewards of traveling are always worth the annoyances.

Our Style

Immersion Travel’s content is focused on sustainable travel; however, the word “ecotourism” is rarely mentioned in the magazine. This is because the term “ecotourism” has become a popular phrase used to describe things that aren’t culturally sensitive, economically stable or environmentally conscious. Each destination we feature follows the basic principles of Sustainable Tourism defined by Megan Epler Wood: “Sustainable tourism creates a better place for people to live, work and visit by providing long-term economic benefits to local people, protecting the environment and biodiversity, and preserving the cultural heritage, traditional values and character of destinations worldwide.” Using a checklist from our Sustainable Tourism Guidelines, our team thoroughly investigates promising travel operations to make sure they are doing everything they say they are. We ask that you, as a contributor, do everything you can to verify that your featured destination is ethical and headed in a sustainable direction. Feel free to use our Sustainable Tourism Guidelines Checklist when investigating destinations and tour companies. Each issue focuses on one region (Southern Ghana, Western Mongolia, Eastern Colombia, San Francisco and the Bay Area, etc.) covering several ventures, tours, lodges, and activities available in that region. Each issue will also have smaller sections that may feature activities and businesses outside of the main region (Road trips, self-sustaining lodges, upcoming cultural celebrations, local organic restaurants, etc.) Immersion Travel has a strict policy against accepting compensations and gifts from businesses (please see our ethics code. Please travel anonymously and experience each destination as though you are one of our readers.

Our Voice

Immersion Travel’s voice and personality mirrors that of an avid traveler who is interested in learning as much as possible about the world. We not only have to be a tour guide for our readers, someone who knows the terrain and local people like the inside of his or her backpack, but we also have to be responsible visitors, who are inquisitive, humble, and always ready for an adventure. We strive to create content that is fun, engaging, accurate, transparent, and personable. Within the first paragraph, readers should be willing to follow us through the unfamiliar depths of an exotic location; by the end of the article, they should be excited to go on another trip with us.

Departments

Features: 1,000 to 5,000 words (longer stories are considered). Features cover the best destinations and tours in a specific region as well as investigative pieces about the area. These are often accompanied by short videos and several photographs. While most features published in the magazine are written by our staff writers, we welcome freelance pieces as well. Many freelance articles are featured on Immersion Travel’s website.
Short features: 500 to 1,500 words. Short features focus on other great destinations, tours and investigative stories but aren’t as prominent as the larger feature pieces. Photographs should accompany these stories.
Profiles: 200 to 2,500 words. Some profiles will be added as sidebars to larger stories. Interviews with business owners, travelers, prominent people in the local communities, and conservation specialists are just a few examples of the kinds of individuals highlighted. Larger profiles of famous people, places, or items that are making positive differences in the travel world are also part of this department. Photographs and/or video should accompany these stories.

All photos must have captions that accurately provide information about the photo for our viewers. The same guidelines outlined for writers are expected to be followed for captions as well.

When editing, remember that transparency and truth is expected. When manipulation is needed for the image, it will only be used to make the image appear more like what was originally seen when the picture was taken (such things as correcting white balance, exposure, and full frame color tinting, as well as cropping and controlling contrast are acceptable upon approval from the Creative Director and the rest of the team).

Immersion Travel’s Pledge of Truth in Media

In our publication, you can believe what you see. Our photos depict the reality that our photographers witnessed and experienced. If we pose or “set up” a photo, it will be due to an instructional or illustrative purpose, as when a person is posing for a portrait or objects are arranged to illustrate an article on travel gear, food preparation and the like. Captions will clear up any ambiguity pertaining to posed photographs. Otherwise, if it looks like a photo of an event or a moment that our photographer captured, then that’s exactly what it is.

Once a photo has been taken, it is processed in accordance with long-established photojournalistic rules that guarantee that what you see is what the photographer saw through the viewfinder. We do allow traditional techniques such as cropping (trimming around the edges), correcting color, improving contrast, and the like as long as it doesn’t mislead the viewer in any way. Excluding minor touch-ups of temporary imperfections that are distracting, such as noticeable blemishes or bruises from volley ball games, we do not add, delete, reposition or rearrange people or objects within the frames of our photos.

If we make exceptions to the policy detailed above, we will tell you what we did and why. Legitimate examples might include a photo of a wildlife preserve altered to illustrate how it would look if every visitor planted a tree in the next ten years or an aerial photo shaded to reveal how many communities are positively affected by a nearby ecolodge. Disclosure of any such alteration will be explicitly explained in the caption so it will not be missed. With digital technology, entirely fictional or partially fictional illustrations can be made to look like photographs. We will avoid this technique unless we are sure readers will immediately recognize the images as obviously implausible or a prominent, unambiguous label accompanies the images such as photo illustration or digitally altered photo montage.

We intend for this policy to assist us in our efforts to use new technologies to do a better job to inform, educate and enlighten our audience. This is our pledge of integrity in visual journalism. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

Immersion Travel’s Policy on Photo Alterations

All photo submissions must include the original raw images as well as full disclosure as to the techniques used to take the image (colored filters, staging of scenes, extended exposure time, etc.). Photos that don’t portray the reality of the scene as closely as possible will be thrown out.

Acceptable digital and darkroom manipulations include: color correction, cropping (as long as it doesn’t mislead the audience), dodging and burning, improving contrast, and touching-up temporary imperfections such as noticeable blemishes, embarrassing bodily secretions, bruises from playing volleyball, or other similar instances. These touch-ups are minor and only used to eliminate distraction, as the audience should be focusing on the content. For instance, touching up a noticeable zit on a teenager’s nose is acceptable but smoothing out the rest of the acne on his or her face is not.

While all photos will be edited according to the guidelines above, each one will be treated with individual and critical attention when decisions on alterations need to be made. Photo Illustrations

The only time a photo illustration will be published is if it is obviously implausible to the general audience, instructive, and accompanied with an explicit description in the caption of what it is and why it was created. Even when an illustration is obviously implausible, it will have a disclosure. Immersion Travel’s definition of photo illustration will be included in the masthead if a photo illustration is used in the issue. Our photo illustrations are defined as: images designed to represent specific instructional paradigms and are not authentic depictions of real scenes.

What to consider when editing:
  • Was the photo spontaneous or planned?
  • Did the photographer shoot what they saw upon arriving on the location, or did they pose, place, or rearrange elements?
  • How significant are aspects of the scene or event that were ignored or overlooked by the photographer?
  • If it’s a photo of people, did they know they were being photographed? Did they sign a model release form according to legal regulations?
  • What was the subject’s relationship with the photographer?
  • Did the subjects alter their behavior because of the camera? To what extent?
  • Are they looking at the camera?
  • Might the photographer’s gender, race, or social standing have affected the taking of the photo: conscious or subconscious tastes, philosophies, or agendas?
  • What was the effect of commercial considerations?

With Immersion Travel’s mission and policies in mind, please submit your query with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • A short bio (300 words max) and profile image (400 x 400 pixels) of yourself
  • A link to your portfolio or three relevant articles you have written.
  • A detailed description of the place/activity you want to cover with links to research you have conducted.
  • A thorough answer to the question: What sustainable characteristics does my featured destination/tour have?
  • A thorough answer to the question: Why would travelers be interested in this destination/tour?
  • If the article, photo essay or video has already been created, attach it to the form below. If you are submitting an article, please include any images or video content that may accompany it.


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