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Teen Ink FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Teen Ink is an independent digital publication. We are not affiliated with any individual, group, or organization. We receive our income from four sources: Advertisers in the magazine who support our goals and want to reach teenagers with their message; donations people have made to our organization; payment for subscriptions of the print magazine requested by schools for their students; and all royalties from the sale of the Teen Ink books and products.
Teen Ink feels strongly that one of the greatest needs of young people is to preserve their sense of self-worth. Teen Ink's role is to listen to its contributors and provide a forum in which teens can express themselves through poetry, essays, stories, reviews, art, and photography.
Teen Ink, founded in 1989, is a unique and far-reaching reading, communications, and writing experience for teenagers. Teen Ink, the organization's bi-monthly digital magazine, reaches hundreds of thousands of students in public and private high schools and middle schools around the world. Teen Ink also maintains an online version with daily features to allow additional teens an opportunity to be published.
We have no staff writers or artists; all teenagers are encouraged to submit work. We read and review every submission, and though we can't publish every one, the creative process itself is satisfying and rewarding for teens. The letters we receive from students, teachers, parents, and administrators attest to this. If a piece is accepted, the student has the joy of seeing their work published in our digital magazine and/or on the Internet.
We have a team that looks at every single submission and makes collective decisions about what is published. The decision is not up to one person alone. At a high level, here are a few things we look out for as we determine which submissions are the most appropriate for our publication.
• Quality of writing/art. Teen Ink is different than blogs and other social media platforms where teens can post with poor grammar, incomplete sentences, etc. We publish quality writing... and we get thousands of beautifully written submissions each month. Teens become better readers and writers when they explore Teen Ink. Teachers trust that our content can be used in their curriculum as examples of good writing... and students feel incredibly proud to be selected for Teen Ink because their writing does have to meet a certain standard.
• Voice. Our content is created by teens, for teens... so articles and art should appeal to a teen audience. We love publishing diverse teen perspectives. We publish stories and art by teens from the U.S., China, Pakistan, Nepal, Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Australia... just to name a few! It's amazing how diverse these perspectives can be and yet these teens all share something in common: they are figuring out their identities and their place in the world. They are developing resilience as they face the challenges of adolescence, and having a community where teens are able to share these experiences can be a crucial tool in navigating this time in their lives.
• Clarity, Timeliness of topic/issues, and Creativity are also things that factor into our decision-making. Just so you know, you will be notified if your work has been published in our magazine. In the meantime, we hope you feel proud that your work is being showcased on TeenInk.com. Share the good news with friends, teachers, and family... and keep submitting!
Teacher Advisory Board members serve as liaisons and advisors to Teen Ink. They use the magazine in a variety of ways and are available if you have questions or suggestions. See our Teacher Advisory Board list!
George Lucas, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sen. John Glenn, Whoopi Goldberg, Pedro Martinez, Andrew Shue, General Colin Powell, and Hillary Clinton all participated in exclusive interviews by teens for our magazine because they want to encourage as many teenagers as possible to reach out and learn more about the people who affect their lives.
We encourage teens to interview family members, neighbors, business people, and friends to learn about the lives and histories of those close to them. Thousands of students submit interviews, many are published and those with the very best are chosen to do an exclusive interview with a celebrity for Teen Ink.
With budget cuts and other pressures, many schools no longer have a high school paper or literary journal. Some schools have a publication that comes out "whenever possible." In a few cases, schools maintain the tradition of a high school paper but don't accept submissions from large numbers of students. Any teenager can submit to our magazine, not just the few fortunate to be on the staff of their school paper. While school papers are only distributed within the school community, our digital magazine reaches thousands of teenagers, teachers, parents, and librarians from around the world with each issue.
Over 100,000 students submit work for publication each year, and our editors review each individual piece. If approved, the submission is first published on our website. From there, our editors chose the best of the best to include in our bi-monthly digital magazine. Click here to see our submission guidelines and to submit your work.
The magazine celebrated its 31st anniversary in 2020. The Teen Ink book series is a compilation of the very best of the pieces previously published in the magazine, with eight books already available nationwide.