In June, Helium ran the “World Population Approaches 7 Billion” writing contest, an exciting opportunity for Helium writers to discuss important issues related to population growth.

The contest, which was sponsored by Helium, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reportingand Population Services International (PSI), asked writers to submit magazine-style articles on four titles related to population growth. The four contest titles were:

In July, a panel of judges from the Pulitzer Center and PSI selected Donna Hicks’ article on population grown and gender inequality as the grand prize winner, which meant it would appear in an upcoming issue of the Impact, PSI’s print magazine, and on the Pulitzer Center’s website.

Well, the latest issue just came out, and Donna’s article has now officially been published in print! Check it out on Impact’s website to see how well it turned out.

Again, congratulations to Donna and all the other winners in this contest. Great work!

If you didn’t get a chance to participate in the “World Population Approaches 7 Billion” writing contest, don’t worry. Helium is hoping to do more contests like this, both with the Pulitzer Center and some of our other charity partners, so stay tuned.

To succeed as an Internet writer, it’s important to know how to use AP style properly. These guidelines for journalists help make your writing look more polished and professional.

One topic that comes up often with AP style is how to treat the titles of movies, books, magazines and other works when you refer to them in an article. The answer is relatively straightforward, but the rules are different those used for headlines, which can make the subject a bit confusing.

A few simple rules will sort things out and help you learn the difference.


According to AP style, only the first word and any proper nouns are capitalized in a headline. All other words should be lower case. The same rule applies for titles on Helium.

Examples: Burger King introduces new French toast sandwich; Randy Moss signs with New England Patriots

Composition titles

A slightly different set of rules apply to the titles of books, computer and video games, movies, operas, plays, poems, albums, songs and radio and TV shows, as well as the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art. When referring to these types of titles in an article:

  • Capitalize all the main words of the title, including prepositions and conjunctions that have four or more letters.
  • If an article, such as “a,” “an” or “the,” or a word that has fewer than four letters is the first word or the last word in a title, then you should capitalize it.
  • Put quotation marks around composition titles of these types of works.

Examples: “Gone With the Wind” is a classic novel written by Margaret Mitchell. During its opening weekend, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” topped box office charts. Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote the song “With a Little Help from My Friends.” Jay Leno hosts “The Tonight Show.”


There are several types of publications and other works that are an exception to this rule and should not be put in quotation marks. (The same capitalization rules still apply.) This includes the Bible and books that are used as reference materials such as catalogs, almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks.

Examples: The teacher recommended using Webster’s New World College Dictionary. The 2012 Old Farmer’s Almanac is now available in bookstores.

Software titles, magazines, newspapers and names of websites also should be  capitalized like book titles but should not be put in quotation marks. Blog titles are only put in quotation marks if they have very unusual spellings, such as all lower case.

Examples: The help desk recommended downloading the new version of Google Chrome. Newsweek merged with the Daily Beast. Facebook and Twitter are two social networking websites that can be used to promote your writing. Perez Hilton and “I Can Has Cheezburger?” are both well-known blogs.

Helium is excited to announce the “World Population Approaches 7 Billion” writing contest sponsored in part by Helium and two of our nonprofit partners: Population Services International (PSI) and Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

The contest will begin at 00:00:1 GMT on Wednesday, June 8. It will include four titles and will be open for submissions for a two-week period. The articles must be between 400-500 words and be written in magazine style. The best articles will utilize and cite relevant data and statistics. The submission period will be followed by a one-week rating period.

What you can win

1. The winning article will be published in Impact, PSI’s print magazine as well as on Pulitzer’s website. The winning article will be chosen from the top four ranked articles on each title, by a panel of judges from both of the nonprofit partners.

2.  The top #1 ranked article from each title will be published on PSI’s “Healthy Lives” Blog.

3 & 4. There will be two prizes based on the leaderboard from the Helium contest interface. First prize will be a 16GB Apple® iPad™ with Wi-Fi. Second place prize will be a Velocity Micro 7-inch Cruz Digital Reader, an Android-based tablet.

Titles have been announced!!

How does population growth affect gender inequality?

How should men be involved in family planning?

What are the best ways to engage young people in family planning?

What role should governments play in promoting informed choice for people’s desired family size?

Write to them now!

About our nonprofit partners

PSI is a leading global health organization with programs targeting malaria, child survival, HIV, reproductive health and non-communicable diseases. Working in partnership within the public and private sectors, and harnessing the power of markets, PSI provides life-saving products, clinical services and behavior change communications that empower the world’s most vulnerable populations to lead healthier lives. Follow PSI on Twitter.

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting promotes in-depth engagement with global affairs through its sponsorship of quality international journalism across all media platforms and an innovative program of outreach and education. Follow Pulitzer Center on Twitter.


Have you seen our newly redesigned News home page? If not, take a moment and check it out today.

This page features all news articles written by Helium News Writers.  These writers are people who are passionate about writing current event articles.

Aside from the new (and awesome) layout, we’ve also introduced a “share” link, so readers can share the news story through social networks such as, Twitter, Digg, Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc.

The program is overseen by Helium News Manager Leigh Goessl. Interested in learning more, or joining this community of writers? Please apply today!

Members are part of an exclusive community on Helium and are identified by a News Writer badge on their About Me page.

Helium Channel Managers form the social ribbon that ties Helium’s large writing community together. They work to provide and encourage the highest-quality information for readers, by nurturing a community of writers and subject matter experts who share a passion for the focus of each channel on Helium.

Charlotte joined the team as the Vets & Pet Health Channel Manager two years ago. This spring she took on a second channel Horse Care & Health. A four star writer, she is also a member of Helium’s Editorial Advisory Board as well as the Credentialing Team. She worked as a veterinary nurse for many years as well as in pet stores and for animal charities. Currently she has two cats and a rabbit. She also adopted Malu Pothi, a Bengal Tiger, through the World Wide Fund for Nature and her children have an adopted donkey, Vijay, from the Donkey Sanctuary in Exeter.

Learn more about Charlotte and her experiences on Helium…

Name: Charlotte Howard

Location: Somerset, UK

How long have you been at Helium?: Since January 2007

What is your favorite thing about Helium?: Earning money for doing what I love the most – writing.

What is your favorite article you’ve written on Helium?: I don’t really have one to be honest, but the one I point a lot of people who write for Vets & Pet Health / Horses Care & Health is:

Why do you enjoy writing?: I can express myself, and help provide valuable information to others.

Why did you decide to become a Channel Manager? What do you enjoy about it?: I was asked to join Vets & Pet Health after finding a few articles with incorrect facts and pointing these out on the forums.  I enjoy it because I can help to make sure that readers and raters are only looking at articles that can help them as pet owners.  I also enjoy helping new and old writers finding new sources of information and improving Helium’s standards.

If you could give one bit of advice to new members, what would it be?: Read the help guides! A lot of the questions that get posed on the forums can easily be answered by reading Helium’s guides.  There are also a lot of valuable articles under Writing at Helium that can help you!!

What are your future goals on Helium?: To climb the ladder until I’m no longer a volunteer!

What are three things people are surprised to find out about you?: I’m terrified of chickens and fish, I’m a (god-knows how many)-generation witch (although we now go by the religion of Wicca).  My family tree can be traced back to the peasants revolt and John Ball (my maternal grandmother’s side), and the Danish viking invasion (my maternal grandfather’s side).

What do you do in your spare time?: Spare time?  What’s that?!  I’m a mother of two young children (3 years old and 20 months)! But, I do enjoy kick-boxing, reading and watching movies.

Who are your favorite writers?: On Helium? Angie Pollock, Rachelle De Bretagne and Glory Lennon without a doubt.

What are your favorite books?: I’m reading Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol” at the moment.  But, I love a good murder mystery.  Read all of Tami Hoag’s crime books.

What is your favorite website other than Helium?: Facebook.  I’m addicted to FarmVille.

Anything else you’d like to share?: Don’t give up.  My Mum always tells me that things happen for a reason – and I totally believe that.

GRAND, The Online Magazine for Grandparents, has named Helium’s Grandparenting Channel one of the “Top 12 Websites for Grandparents”. The sites were chosen based on a number of criteria including content, ease of navigation, web traffic and the overall look and appeal.

Helium is honored to receive this award and proud of all our dedicated writers who work to provide the best content on the web. We especially want to congratulate Ann Hinds, Helium’s Grandparenting Channel Manager!

The Top 12 sites will be published in the 7th Year Anniversary Edition of GRAND published on Sept. 1 as part of the site’s National Grandparents Day celebration.

In hopes of raising awareness about the important issue of global maternal health, Helium partnered with the Pulitzer Center to sponsor a writing contest as part of the Global Issues/Citizen Voices Essay Contest asking the question, “Hundreds of thousands of women die each year due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. What are the first steps to making a difference?”

With 41 entries the variety of topics was broad. The winner is Helium writer Alexandra Fielden with her article about the Millennium Development Goal 5 and her experience working on women’s reproductive health in the Maldives. The article was rated fifth on Helium. Congrats Alexandra!

“I think Helium’s partnership with the Pulitzer Center is an absolutely superb way to get people thinking about important issues facing the world today. The medium enables the public to start to form their own opinions, and to question their validity, as opposed to simply reading about what ‘the experts’ think and immediately forgetting about it afterward,” says Fielden. “Personal (sometimes emotional) connections and the public’s interaction with these issues seems to me to be an excellent way of creating an impact by facilitating ‘social e-momentum’ towards positive change. Many thanks to Helium and the Pulitzer Center!”

For more information on this issue read the corresponding coverage at the Pulitzer Gateway Dying for Life page. Or read all the Helium articles now.

We’re excited to announce the latest winners of Helium’s Citizen Journalism Award contests.

Kenneth Boser II won the 1H20 Citizen Journalism Award by writing about the United States’ position on access to clean drinking water as a basic human right and how it compares with the policies of other countries.

Mouhcine Azizoun won the 1H20 Citizen Journalism Award by writing about what is causing Lake Chad and other lakes to shrink.

Be sure to check out more information on these contests and the current winner on the 1h20 website.

Be sure to check out the current Citizen Journalism contests and let your voice be heard.

We’re excited to announce the latest winners of Helium Citizen Journalism Award contests.

Jimmy Nightingale won the 1H20 Citizen Journalism Award by writing about why rivers are straightened and the effect it has on the environment. Be sure to check out more information on this contest and the current winner on the 1h20 website.

Ludmillia Jones won the Center for Responsive Politics/OpenSecrets Citizen Journalism Award by writing about whose voice is being heard the most in the debate on health care reform.

Be sure to check out the current Citizen Journalism contests and let your voice be heard.

Helium is excited to announce our new partnership with R.R. Donnelley, a global provider of integrated communications.

With this relationship, Helium can leverage R.R. Donnelley’s vast business network of publishers, content providers and other partners to bring countless writing and business opportunities to our members. Likewise, R.R. Donnelley can now take advantage of the various products and stable of talented writers in Helium’s knowledge cooperative to increase its content offerings to worldwide partners.

To say that the business potential for everyone involved is huge would be quite an understatement. We can’t wait to bring more writing opportunities to our members, as well as continue to show the world what Helium writers are capable of.

Be sure to read the press release and stay tuned for future freelance assignments through the Helium Marketplace.