We look for stories that combine compelling narratives from classrooms and campuses with smart, original analyses of national education issues. Stories should consider the research and draw from the knowledge of experts and affected communities. We share many of our stories with our mainstream media partners, so stories must be written for a general interest audience and free of jargon.
We pay $1.50 per word for stories that generally range from 1,000 to 2,000 words and we cover travel expenses on top of the story fee. Our editing process is intense and may take up to a week or more, followed by several rounds of copy editing and fact checking. Our mainstream media partners may also do additional editing.
Find out what we’re working on before you pitch on our Topics page. Pitches may be directed to:
Early education: Christina Samuels
K-12: Caroline Preston
Higher education: Lawrie Mifflin
Think of your pitch as a slightly longer version of the headline. What is the burning question the story will answer? What will make the story irresistible to readers? The pitch should not only allow the editor to easily envision what the longer story will look like, it should demonstrate why we have to do this story now.
At Hechinger, a pitch not only has to win over our editors, it also has to attract one of our media partners. It should include a succinct summary of why the story matters, what’s new and how you will report it.
The beginning of your pitch may read like the beginning of the article you intend to write. It could be anecdotal or straight. If it’s anecdotal, keep it short – two or three sentences maximum. You want to get your reader (the editor) to the point quickly. The rest of the pitch should read more like a nut graf or billboard. This is a pitch, so it’s unlikely you have finished all of your reporting. However, you should have enough reporting done that you can provide answers to the big questions the editor might have.
Why does this story matter? Whose lives does it affect? How is the situation or trend described in the story likely to play out? What are the likely consequences? What are the people in the story doing to change things? Are there any surprising or new statistics or other findings that illustrate the importance of the story? Why is this story new? Who will be the major characters of the story, and why are they the ideal vehicles for telling it? What sort of art should we expect?
Finally, it’s always a good idea to include a synopsis of your reporting plan, which shouldn’t be more than a couple of sentences: How will you report the rest of the story, or what other questions do you plan on addressing once it’s complete? Also, be sure to estimate the number of words you’ll need and include ideas on what publications the story would be appropriate for.