Writer’s Guidelines/Submissions

Information on Submissions

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Thank you for your interest in contributing to YES! Magazine. We publish four themed print issues a year, and on the web every day. Most YES! readers are participants in creating the world they want to see, and depend on us to show them what other change-makers have achieved. When you write for YES!, you’re working to satisfy that need.

It’s OK if your story discusses an economic, environmental, or political problem. Most of our articles do. But they also go beyond that, and spotlight the most promising ideas, actions, movements, and projects taking us forward toward solutions. They do all this with great storytelling, lovely writing, and a commitment to journalistic accuracy.

What kinds of stories does YES! Magazine publish?

Our stories tend to fall into a few specific beats, which center around the key problems of our time: climate change and environmental degradation; economic inequality; racial injustice; and the erosion of civil liberties. We want to know what solutions are working, as well as what people have learned along the way. We prefer reporting on ideas, actions, movements and projects that are past the planning stages, and have the potential to be replicated or scaled. Bonus points if your story is “intersectional,” and helps to solve more than one problem at once.

We publish reported features (generally 700 to 2,200 words) and commentaries (generally 700 to 1,200 words). We occasionally commission journalism in other formats, such as comics, illustrations, or photo essays.

A couple of story types we tend to stay away from:

  • Stories primarily about philanthropic or charitable organizations
  • Stories that take place outside of the United States or Canada (with some exceptions)
  • Purely speculative stories about what a particular thing that does not exist would do, if it only existed
  • Stories about specific technological solutions
  • Fiction and poetry

How should I propose a story?

Check the YES! website to make sure we have not recently run a piece on the same topic you are proposing.

Send us a pitch—not a finished draft. Usually two or three paragraphs are enough to let us know if your idea is something we want to pursue. The best pitches are packed with specific information, represent your writing style, and indicate the sources of information you intend to use. A working headline helps, and, if your story is timely, give us a news hook.

Include your credentials, including relevant published clips. Email your pitch to submissions [at] yesmagazine.org with the word “PITCH” in the subject line. If you are querying about a time-sensitive news story, please put "timely" in the subject line too.

If you are particularly interested in writing for the themed print magazine, you’ll need to pitch a story that fits within the theme. Look for the most recent “Call for Submissions” posted on our website for instructions and a deadline.

What happens next?

We cannot respond personally to every pitch we are sent. You will receive an email saying we have your pitch. If you don’t hear from us again within four weeks, you can assume that we have decided not to use your idea.

If your pitch gets our interest, we’ll follow up with some thoughts and suggestions. Once the assignment is settled, we’ll negotiate a deadline, a word count, and a rate. Rates are typically between 25 and 50 cents a word, depending on your experience and the amount of reporting required. When we’re ready to make an assignment, we will send a contract. Please do not begin working on your story until you have received, read, and signed a contract.