After 20 years of providing what has been praised as a "satisfying good read" to the English-reading customers of our sponsor, All Nippon Airways, the monthly inflight magazine WINGSPAN will undergo a significant change this summer. While we still require original, literate, top-quality writing, the contents will be shorter, more fact-driven and—all in all—"easier to read" in consideration of the growing number of ANA international customers for whom English is not necessarily a strong suit.

The good news is that the new WINGSPAN will open up a plethora—yea, indeed a myriad—of opportunities to writers and photographers to unload "lottsa little things" that otherwise might not fit into a lengthy feature story. Here's a chance for you to weed out your back files and maybe even recycle material (after a THOROUGH rewrite/reedit) that should be, but somehow hasn't yet been, put into print.

As before, the content will be shared between Japan and international. But ANA has decided that the former should outweigh the latter; as a result, we will devote approximately 26 editorial pages to Japan, and 12 to international. In both cases, the focus will be on (or at least related to) ANA destinations in those parts of the world. There will be some exceptions to this, but we'll have to work those out with you on a case-by-case basis.

Gone are the full-blown features—those comfortably lengthy 2,000 to 3,500-word stories and lavish 10~12-page photographic indulgences. Replacing them will be two feature stories (one Japan, one international) of no more than five pages each, including photos (e.g., 1,800 words max. with 4~6 photos), and two "galleries" or photoessays of four pages each (e.g., 3~6 photos with very, very short captions), plus other stuff explained below.

As you might perceive from the following examples, the range of topics is broad and flexible, we believe. Suggestions from you about other topics are entirely welcome and encouraged. But it's important to understand that the topics have been selected for 1) their general "human interest" potential and 2) their ability to be digested quickly, without straining the reader's short attention span, so as to deepen the reader's EXPERIENCE of the target subject. Providing a satisfying "good read" is a bonus!

Specifically, the international "Regional Feature" will comprise three short pieces (each 500 words max.), one each from (or related to) an ANA destination in a region. Take, for example, the topic of castles in Europe. We'd have a piece on one or two specific castles in Great Britain, one or two in France, and one or two in Germany. Each of the three is STAND-ALONE, something like a sidebar, without need for an intro (just a topic sentence or two) or an outro, and no need for transitions. These could come from three different writers; in which case, we'll craft an appropriate introductory blurb in house, and Bob's your uncle. If a single writer takes on the entire piece, the end result will be the same: 2,000 words max. on a given topic. The four-page Regional photo feature (e.g., "Beautiful Europe" or "Beautiful Southeast Asia," etc.) could also comprise three parts—for example, evocative shots of the rivers of New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago, or a make-your-mouth-water mini photoessay on street food in Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Singapore. Better yet, think of something that HASN'T been done to death already—the fresher the better.

When it comes to Japan, something similar is happening—particularly in the idea of short, pithy text and easily digested material. In this case, however, we aim to present a taste of different aspects of "the Japan experience" in each issue. On a rotating basis, one of the four featurettes will be five pages long (as said, 1,800 words max. with 4~6 photos), the other three pages (350~500 words max. with 1~3 photos). The subjects are: "Japan at Leisure" (lifestyle/recreation) "Japan at Work" (business/industry) "Japan Creates" (arts/crafts) and "Japan Celebrates" (customs/special days). Rounding out the other pages will be the four-page "Beautiful Japan" photo feature, the four-page "Japan from A to B" (short travel piece, 750 words max. with 2~4 photos), and some other short things, some of which will be done in house, or supplied by our regular contributors.

Sounds complicated, I know, but it really isn't. In a way, it mimics the Web, with "lottsa little things" of momentary, though not necessarily trivial, interest. As the new system will involve a lot more vetting and back-and-forth than before, it is going to take a little more administrative time on your part, and lots more on our part. But we'll all be better off for it, trust me.

It may be a new way to craft magazine content, and some of you might not like it much. But you're stuck with it, if you so choose. If not, good luck with that 10,000-word piece you're thinking of pitching to The New Yorker.

If you're interested, send an email to with your proposal. You MUST include the words "WINGSPAN PROPOSAL" in the subject line, otherwise it'll be trashed as spam. If we have not published your work before, please include at least a couple of tear sheets and/or your bonafides. Also, all newcomers and old friends alike will be required to verify that they have read and agree to our sometimes quirky GUIDELINES.

Except in very unusual cases, we can no longer issue ANA air tickets to our contributors (travel within Japan might be the exception). But we do have a modest amount of expense money to dole out, when appropriate. Per-word and per-photo rates will be the same as before, if not a bit better. Also as before, we will accept ONLY original, unpublished material on a first-use basis, with fair-use rights for electronic use included; the copyright for subsequent uses remains with you. Normally, we pay on publication, but as some of this stuff is needed URGENTLY and IMMEDIATELY, we might be able to stockpile a few things and pay you at least something up front upon acceptance.

Thanks, and spread the word: WINGSPAN is buying!

Malcolm B. Davis
Editor-in-Chief, WINGSPAN
Creative Director, McDavis Associates, Inc.


JAPAN AT LEISURE (5p feature or 3p profile)
  • Spectator Sports
  • Participant Sports
  • Karaoke
  • Gaming
  • Mah Jong
  • Theater
  • Movies/TV
  • Concerts
  • Hobbies
JAPAN AT WORK (5p feature or 3p profile)
  • Electronics
  • Automobiles
  • Clothing
  • Cameras
  • Banking
  • Stocks/Securities
  • Economic / Labor Organizations
  • Rice
  • Fruit
  • Fishing
  • Forestry
  • Meat / Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Wholesale / Retail
  • Transport
  • Professional Sports (as business)
JAPAN CELEBRATES (5p feature or 3p profile)
  • Wedding
  • Birthday
  • Funeral
  • School Event
  • Shogatsu
  • Obon
  • Shichigosan
JAPAN CREATES (5p feature or 3p profile)
  • Arts
  • Crafts
  • Galleries
  • Workshops
  • Hands On
BEAUTIFUL JAPAN (4p "gallery" or photoessay)
  • Minimal Captions
  • ANA Destination (within 1 day away)
  • No snapshots, please!
  • Seasonal / Timely
JAPAN FROM A TO B (4p daytrip travel, 750 words max.)
  • Quality "Armchair Travel"
  • Anywhere in Japan
  • Seasonal/Timely

NOTE: These MUST be from an "I was there" personal point of view, not just a rewrite out of some guidebook. (Some time ago, I received a piece on Nikko that sounded awfully familiar; I checked and found that it was lifted, almost word for word, from a Nikko guide I had written some 30 years before!) So watch it!

GLOBAL VILLAGE (2p, mostly done in house)
  • Japanese Always
  • Real (Interesting) People!
  • Working Anywhere
  • Making a Global Impact
DELICIOUS JAPAN (1p, mostly done in house)
  • Signature Dish from ANA Destination
  • History
  • Ingredients
  • Technique
WHEN IN JAPAN (1p, mostly done in house)
    350 words max + several fast fact bullets. A "how to" synopsis, light, informative and, hopefully, amusing.
  • Currency
  • Telephone
  • Train
  • Address system
  • Ofuro
  • Kimono
  • Table Manners
  • Shopping
  • Touring


BEAUTIFUL WORLD (4p "gallery" or photoessay)
  • Minimal Captions
  • ANA Destination (or within 1 day's travel)
  • No snapshots, please
  • Seasonal / Timely
    500 words each from 3 ANA destinations (cities or countries) within:
  • Europe (London, Paris, Frankfurt)
  • Southeast Asia/Asia (Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Singapore, Guam, Mumbai)
  • U.S. (New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, L.A., San Francisco, Honolulu)
  • China (Beijing, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Xiamen, Shenyang)
  • Asia Special (Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore) (This would be a good one on the topic of antiques, for example.)

  • FOOD/DRINK (e.g., Cheese, Egg Dishes, Spices, Beer, Tea + ∂)
  • OBJECTS (e.g., Dolls, Jewelry, Antiques + ∂)
  • PLACES/SIGHTS (e.g., Cathedrals, Street Markets, Museums + ∂)
  • EVENT/ACTIVITY (e.g., Trekking, Sports, Festivals + ∂)
  • ENTERTAINMENT (e.g., Concerts, Theatre, Film Festival + ∂)

Also we will consider 500~700 words on a "green" subject (new energy technologies, cutting-edge environmental protection/restoration projects, eco-related educational outreach, etc. Be careful: this can be a touchy subject.

And if you know of an off-beat event happening a few months down the road in or near an ANA international destination, send us 100 words or so for our new "ANARAMA" page and we'll remember you kindly. We once saw, for example, a "race" among restaurant and hotel waiters in Frankfurt. A riot! Other examples might be an "all the bangers you can eat" contest in England, or a backwards downhill ski race in Germany, or a solar-powered boat contest in Bangkok's klongs, or whatever.