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How to Pitch to The Tyee

Have a brilliant story idea? Here’s how to pitch us.

The Tyee is an online magazine that tells stories about politics, culture, climate change, the environment and life in the British Columbia region. And we’re always looking for more.

The Tyee’s readership has steadily grown since 2003 and averages about one million page views per month. Whether you’re a writer, illustrator, designer or photographer — if you have a story to tell, we want you to hit us up.

The best way for someone to get involved with The Tyee is to submit a pitch. We accept pitches for original reporting, personal essays, photo essays, analysis and opinion pieces.

We especially encourage story ideas and submissions from people underrepresented in media, including but not limited to women, Indigenous people, Black people, people of colour, people of various gender identities, LGBTQ2S+ people and people with disabilities.

And don’t assume we just want more of what you see on The Tyee. We’re interested in all sorts of subjects. Pitch us your fresh ideas!

Here’s how to do it.

Where to send pitches

You can send your specific beat-related pitches to our editors. Here’s what they specialize in and are looking for, but we’re open to any story idea you have that’s relevant to our B.C. audience.

  • David Beers, editor-in-chief (Vancouver, B.C.): dbeers[at]thetyee[dot]ca. David specializes in major investigations and solutions-focused projects. His advice to would-be contributors: Don't assume The Tyee is only interested in the topics you see regularly on the site. Our mandate is to cover B.C. broadly.
  • andrea bennett, managing editor (Powell River, B.C.): abennett[at]thetyee[dot]ca. andrea (they/them; Mx.) specializes in features and personal essays. They are looking for more LGBTQ2S+ stories, and more stories about food and farming, and small-town and rural issues.
  • Paul Willcocks, senior editor (Victoria, B.C.): pwillcocks[at]thetyee[dot]ca. Paul focuses on news and analysis. He’s looking for stories on the public policy issues that are critical to readers’ lives, from workers’ rights to the environment to inequality to housing to health.
  • Jackie Wong, senior editor (Vancouver, B.C.): jwong[at]thetyee[dot]ca. Jackie specializes in features, cultural commentary and analysis. She’s interested in social policy, racial equity, urban issues, health justice, pop culture and comedy: if you can bring a few of these together in one story, even better.

Story tips, press releases, corrections, complaints, praise, scorn and general coverage — and pitches where you’re unsure which editor is the best fit — should all be sent to editor[at]thetyee[dot]ca.

Please know that the editors take care to read all pitches, but we can’t guarantee a response to each one. If you don’t receive a response after two weeks, it’s not likely that we can move forward with your proposal.

What we want to see

A strong pitch will include:

  • A one-line pitch or headline: One of the most common things in pitch emails is pitching a topic instead of an angle. As in, “I want to write about greenhouse gas emissions in Vancouver.” A story pitch will have an angle to it, which might look more like: “A Stronger Electricity Grid Is Crucial to Cutting Carbon. Does that Make It Green?” Thinking of a recommended headline will help you clarify what your angle is. And we appreciate clear subject lines, such as: “[PITCH]: Headline here.”
  • A scene or two, and quotes if appropriate: Convey experiences and voices you will share with the reader. Putting us there and letting us hear the words of those interviewed helps us better imagine the reader’s experience. It also demonstrates you’ve gained access to people and situations and have done some reporting. The same applies to reported features, reported essays or, possibly, analysis pieces.
  • A clear and fresh hook: Whatever your story is about, it should be an angle that hasn’t been done before — or has a new angle specific to British Columbians. Why should our readers care? How does the issue impact them?
  • Some sources you plan to speak to if any: If you’re planning on speaking to an expert or a resident of a neighbourhood you want to report on, include their name, who they are and what you hope your story will gain from speaking to them.
  • Why it belongs in The Tyee and which section: There’s a million media outlets out there. Tell us why you’re choosing The Tyee specifically for your story.
  • Why you’re the best person to tell this story: Letting us know why you’re interested in writing this story — whether it’s because you have a personal stake in the issue or you have a ton of experience reporting on it — helps us understand what your reporting will look like.
  • What colour is your pitch? If it helps, think about how time-sensitive your pitch is in terms of these colour labels and indicate which label is best. (Think "alert level"):

    • Green: Timeless, evergreen content
    • Yellow: Time sensitive, but not urgent
    • Orange: Urgent (relevant to an event tomorrow)
    • Red: Very urgent (should be reviewed today)

There are three common kinds of stories The Tyee publishes:

  1. Reported coverage: Consisting of interviews, research and objective reporting of events. Here’s a pitch example, and here’s the resulting published piece.
  2. Analysis: Consisting of interviews and/or research and a particular argument. Here’s a pitch example from the Open Notebook pitch database.
  3. First-person: Can consist of interviews and research to support any argument, but mainly based on the writer’s experience. First-person essays should help our readers inhabit the experiences of others. Here’s a pitch example, and here’s the resulting published piece.

If you need more pitching inspiration, check out more examples from the very helpful Open Notebook pitch database or the Nieman Lab’s Storyboard.

How we’ll work together

Your pitch doesn’t have to be perfect. What we want is someone who has a clear story idea, and we’re happy to work together from there to workshop it if we see potential. Our editors are open to phone conversations to talk out angles and support you in the reporting process if need be.

Visuals

It always helps our editors if you have an idea of a suitable image to accompany your story. We run horizontal images for featured images, and can run additional body images of any ratio and orientation.

Payment

We pay our freelancers a day rate of $250. When we accept a pitch, we work with a freelancer to determine whether the story is a one-day, two-day, or three-day story. It is less common for us to assign stories above the three-day rate.