We love to receive pitches, but here are some things you need to know first:
1. We are, above all, ethical in the way we approach and report stories. That means we avoid conflicts of interest, we’re fair and strive always for accuracy, and we don’t accept gifts or freebies from the people and institutions about whom we’re writing. We fact-check stories exhaustively, so writers should be prepared to submit a list of sources and source material with their stories.
2. Writers should be familiar with Atlanta magazine and the kinds of stories we do. The best way to do that is to read recent issues. We are interested primarily in stories that focus on Atlanta and the metro region. However, story ideas from around the state will be considered if they’re compelling enough. If you’re pitching a subject that is out-of-state, be sure it’s travel-related. We’re not interested, for example, in a murder story out of Chattanooga.
3. First-time contributors to Atlanta magazine have their best shot at being published by pitching something short for the front of the magazine. What kind of pitch has the best shot at being accepted? To answer that question, look at the past few issues of the magazine. The best stories will be fresh, surprising, and provocative, and will leave our readers saying, “Wow, I had no idea!” If it’s a subject about which readers are familiar, the story should reveal new information in a compelling way.
4. When it comes to feature stories, the bar is high: Writers should be prepared to show us long-form non-fiction stories they’ve done in the past. Pitches should be detailed, explaining what the story is, what the central conflict is, who the sources are, what the narrative approach will be, and why our readers will find it impossible to ignore. We like stories that surprise, amuse, enrage, and illuminate. Boring and predictable are the enemies of excellence. Feature stories in Atlanta magazine can be as few as 1,500 words and as many as 10,000, though the majority are around 4,000.
5. We like pitches that take into account photographs and graphics. Not every great story is just words. Pitches that offer novel suggestions on how to tell a story incorporating more than just words will be especially appreciated.
6. We do not reprint press releases. We do not, as a rule, run one-source stories (especially if it’s a longer feature). Only in exceptional circumstances, and with an editor’s approval, will we run a story with unnamed sources.
7. Payment is agreed to in the assignment phase. We have kill fees, meaning if we can’t/won’t/don’t run the story, for any reason, the writer will receive no more than 25 percent of the initial assignment fee.
8. Pitches should be directed to the editor, Betsy Riley.