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Writer Guidelines

Notebook with some writing on a wood tableWho we are

Our mission is to help communities talk and work together to create communities that work for everyone. We work with local communities and national partners, providing advice and training and flexible how-to resources.

 

Topics of interest

We are interested in stories and examples of how people in communities are using our core principles in bringing people together to solve community problems and build democratic capacity. Because our engagement process can be used to address any issue a community is facing, our audience is interested in a wide variety of topics. Our most popular issue areas are community-police relations, racial equity, poverty, education, and youth engagement. Other topics we have resources for are diversity, immigration, neighborhoods, early childhood development, and mental health. Stories about civic engagement and community engagement are also featured on our website.

Commentaries related to non-political current events or timely topics directly related to the issues we address (for example, Martin Luther King Day or the anniversary of the March on Washington) are also encouraged.

It is important to note that no matter what issue communities address, we help them pay particular attention to how structural racism and other structural inequalities affect the issue. Any story highlighting a topic other than racial equity should address how racial or other structural inequalities affect the issue.

 

Format

We do not have a strict word count, but we have found that 1,200-1,800 for a commentary-style article and 800-1200 words for a list or piece of advice allows enough space for writers to go into enough depth on a particular topic.

The most widely shared commentary-style pieces on our website start with a personal connection to the issue/topic, followed by an explanation of the issue or problem, and ending with a call to action. Keep this format in mind when pitching a story.

These are a couple examples of stories that follow this format:

We also feature articles that give examples or specific advice such as:

Submissions in this format will need to be closely related to civic engagement and/or ways communities can work together to address a common issue.

You can check out more commentaries here and more tips here.

 

The process

We accept submissions that have previously been published as well as pitches for original pieces. If we decide to post a previously published piece, we will provide a link back to the original source. For original pieces, we will pay a flat rate based on the article type.

Our lead time for new stories is usually 3-6 months. Keep this in mind when you’re submitting an idea for a piece that's connected to a season or holiday. For example, an article for Martin Luther King Day should be submitted around July-September. For commentaries on timely current events, we can have a piece published within 10 days.

If we think your topic might be a good fit for our organization, we will have an initial phone conversation to get more details about the direction of the piece. If we decide to move forward with the piece, there will be up to three rounds of editing. Everyday Democracy and the writer will hold joint ownership of the piece. If you choose to republish the piece elsewhere, we ask that you link to the original post on our site and that you wait at least two weeks before republishing it.

 

Submitting a pitch

Writing submissions are accepted year-round. Send one or more ideas via email to Rebecca Reyes, Communications Manager, at rreyes@everyday-democracy.org. Also include at least 2 writing samples with your submission, preferably related to the topic or in the style you’re proposing. Please allow at least one month for our team to review and respond to your submission. Both new and seasoned writers are encouraged to send in submissions.

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Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and we believe that our tools, advice, and resources will help foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, the dialogue to change program can help community members take action and make their voice heard.