So you’re thinking about pitching to The Tyee.
Today, I’m pleased to share The Tyee’s new submissions page, launched with the support of The Tyee’s diversity committee.
This guide breaks down the anatomy of a pitch, the kinds of stories that The Tyee is looking for, and the editors to get in touch with based on what you’re interested in writing about. Our hope is that it will make the story pitching and submission process more accessible to anyone interested in being published here.
Every publication that invites freelance submissions has its own criteria for what makes a successful pitch and payment approach. Here’s ours.
We pay our freelancers in day rates
The Tyee doesn’t pay by the word. Instead we pay by the day. This means when making an assignment, the editor and writer will agree on an estimate of how many days the pitched story will require, and that will determine the fee.
We decided to go this route because, in our experience, paying by the word may not reflect the actual work required. An investigative piece that runs 900 words might take a week to report and write. A personal essay of 1,500 words might take two days.
We believe paying by the word is a practice left over from the era when print media dominated. Editors knew exactly how many words they had room to run and budgeted by such.
The internet is infinite. But your time is not. So, in order to be fair, we try and arrive at a consensus with the writer regarding the scope of the job and pay accordingly.
If, once the writer gets going on the piece, the writer and editor agree its scope or time requirement is larger than originally assumed, the number of days can be renegotiated.
The Tyee pays a day rate of $250, or just over $33 dollars an hour for a 7.5-hour day. That won’t make anyone rich. Still, if you were to freelance every day for The Tyee at this rate, it would add up to a full-time, competitive and livable salary.
We ensure ethical access to sources and journalists
What is it that makes an editor love a story? One word important to decision-making here is “access.”
A great pitch will provide Tyee readers access to a political secret, a brilliant thinker, a personal experience, a vibrant subculture, a myth-busting set of facts.
At the same time, as this industry reckons with the way it has historically chosen to cover marginalized communities, we’re mindful that people writing for The Tyee must practice journalism ethically. We will closely examine pitches for signals the journalist is aware of power imbalances and a community’s historical relations with media.
The Tyee team actively works to ensure our pages reflect a wide range of voices. We’re currently tracking the diversity of bylines; in the past we’ve also tracked people featured in our stories, photos and illustrations.
Recently, The Tyee surveyed our current pool of freelancers to learn about which communities we could cover more and better, and how to make doing so a better experience for freelancers of all backgrounds and identities.
We're also continually having conversations internally around the language we use in our Tyee style guide, kept up to date by our style lead Tara Campbell, because the language we use adapts alongside the lenses we learn from.
We are grateful to members of The Tyee’s staff who participate in the important work of our diversity committee. As a committee, our mission is to, on an ongoing basis:
- maintain a diverse and inclusive environment;
- preserve a positive environment for those who work for the publication;
- highlight equity gaps in policy and practice;
- add to our style guide to decolonize our language; and more.
We care about freelancers
The Tyee has a deep appreciation for the role freelancers play in journalism and, by extension, our democratic conversation. And as the internet exploded existing models for doing, publishing and paying for stories, the big question here has been, as David Beers told Story Board in 2014: “Are we part of the solution or are we part of the problem?”
“We’re determined to pay our writers and formalize as many arrangements as we can rather than just make them endlessly pitch and wait for us to respond or not.”
If you are a freelancer trying to thrive in today’s digital journalism landscape, please visit our new submissions page and consider whether our approach to assigning, paying and working with journalists is a fit for you.