We are always looking for writers and photographers. If you’re interested in contributing to Northword, we’d love to hear from you. Download a copy of our submission guidelines here, or keep reading.Northword is dedicated to the culture, the people, the issues, the lifestyle, and the landscapes of northern BC. We inspire readers to connect more closely with the region, through writing and photography that is both unique and exceptional. It’s our goal to balance journalism that covers important topics—always presenting a well-rounded discussion—with writing that celebrates life and lifestyle. In other words, we want to hear from you whether you’re pitching a story about protest or about climbing a mountain. One thing to note: we favour stories with a regional connection and local insight. That doesn’t mean you have to be local yourself, just be committed to giving readers the inside scoop.
Before you send us a query or imagery, please read through several issues of the magazine, to get a sense of our style. Back issues are available on the website. If you don’t see a similar story or style and you’re still convinced you have something great to share, don’t let that stop you from getting in touch—we promise to read what you have to say.
Ready to pitch? Read through the details below and we look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions, shoot us an email.
Here’s how we roll: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the word “pitch” in the subject line, as well as a few words about your idea. Northword publishes six issues a year. Deadlines for submissions are typically a month or more in advance of the issue’s publication, so think ahead. We tend to focus on seasonally-suitable subjects.
Your email should consist of a few paragraphs that clearly outline your idea. Be sure to give us a sense of your writing style, skills, and voice. Tell us why your story should be published. What sets it apart? Why is your angle or approach to the subject one we should take notice of? And why are you the best person to write it? If you’re contacting us to cover a contentious issue, please give us an idea of who you intend to interview for the piece. In any article about a subject that has opposing opinions, we want to hear from all sides of the argument, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions.
Our readers include a broad range of ages and interests; we want writing that appeals simultaneously to a young student and a retired scientist. In other words, we’re looking for smart, approachable, conversational writing that challenges readers to learn more, without having to reference a dictionary every sentence. Please let us know if you’re sending the idea to anyone else as well—we don’t mind, we just need to know.
Don’t forget to tell us what you’re pitching: is it a feature, a front-of-book piece, or something different? Check out our departments below for word counts and more detail.
Everything we publish in the print magazine is also published online. Payment for your piece covers both and is sent out within 30 days of the issue hitting the streets. Rates vary based on your experience and the difficulty of the piece itself.
If the saying is true, and a photo really is worth 1000 words, what do your photographs convey? We’re looking for crisp, clean, thoughtful imagery with a northern story to tell. We are most interested in photographers who see beyond the usual perspectives, seek out new angles, and look for subjects on the fringes of things. Opportunities for photographers to work with Northword include photo-essays, cover photos, and teaming up with a writer to illustrate an assigned article. Feel free to think outside the box, too; if you have an idea we should hear, we’re all ears.
To pitch, send low-resolution images as email attachments, with descriptive info and some background about yourself.
FirstWords — These are short, informative pieces about people, places, happenings, issues. This is your best way to break into the magazine. Write us a piece we remember in this section, and you’re more likely to have a chance to write an in-depth feature for us down the line. FirstWords pieces are around 250- to 600-words. Stories that are quirky, odd, or relatively unknown will be given preference.
Features — Our features are a pleasure to read. Balancing clean, absorbing prose with solid journalistic technique, a feature takes its readers on a journey. Features have depth, multiple voices, and leave readers with something to think about. Subjects can range from profiles of living legends to investigative reports on current issues to discovering amazing landscapes to fascinating scientific breakthroughs.
Anything goes, really, as long as it’s a captivating, compelling, and well-developed story. Features run from around 1200 to 2500 words, depending on the idea. Tell us what you’re thinking and, if commissioned, we’ll nail down a length together. For features, please also let us know the availability of accompanying images.
NoWords — Photo essays, when done well, are insightful, inspiring, and engaging. For us to commission a photo essay, we need to see your work first. Can you establish a narrative through imagery? Do your photos make people pause, and think? If you’re up to the task, tell us what you want to do, give us some examples of similar work and convince us your story needs to be shared—and that photos are the best way to do it.
BackWords — This is where we highlight some of the cool things happening in our region. Books, art, music, theatre, websites, blogs, etc. If there’s something going on that our readers have to know about, let us know. Pieces here are short, fun, and convey just the right amount of information to hook readers into finding out more. These pieces rarely go over 200 words.
Thanks for your interest in Northword. We look forward to reading your queries. – NW