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.
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. No matter their length, we want stories that haven’t been told before, that help us see the city, the region, and ourselves in new ways. 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 pitching something for the website or a short item (200-800 words) for the front of the magazine. We publish far more stories online than in print. No matter the medium, the best stories will be fresh, surprising, and provocative. We look for a variety of nonfiction formats—humor, infographics, reported essays, news features, Q&As, annotated photos, lists, etc. If it’s a subject familiar to readers, the story should reveal new information in a compelling format.
4. Feature stories are generally assigned only to experienced writers. Be prepared to show us long-form nonfiction stories you’ve done in the past. Pitches should be detailed, explaining what the story is, what the central conflict is, who the sources are, and what the narrative approach will be. We like stories that surprise, amuse, enrage, and illuminate. 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.
6. Expect a thorough editing process. Several rounds of edits are not unusual, even for our veteran contributors. You will also need to provide thorough fact-checking contacts, references, and/or materials. (Guidelines will be provided.)
7. Pitch early. We assign print stories several months in advance.
8. 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.
9. Do not submit completed stories. A quick summary of your idea, along with your suggested sources and approach is preferred.
10. Do not submit large images via email. Please use a service such as WeTransfer.
11. Be patient. Unfortunately, our editors receive dozens of pitches every day and can’t always respond individually. Sometimes we file ideas by subject and revisit them later. Feel free to send a reminder after several weeks (particularly as our spam filter has been known to block emails), though harassing editors for a response is counterproductive.
12. Reach out to the correct editor.
General news (short items): Thomas Wheatley
Lifestyle (education, health, business, travel, real estate): Betsy Riley
Politics: Thomas Wheatley
Arts, culture, & events: Heather Buckner
Food & Dining: Mara Shalhoup
Books: Betsy Riley
Online pitches: Myrydd Wells
Illustrator pitches: Matt Love
Photographer pitches: Caroline Kilgore