How to pitch stories to Polygon

Polygon accepts pitches for original reporting, essays, op-eds, reviews, and features.

What we’re not looking for

  • Video scripts or ideas.
  • Academic papers.
  • Q&A interviews without a specific, newsworthy angle in mind.
  • Unsolicited film, television, or book reviews.
  • Contrarian takes that lack compelling evidence.
  • E.g., “actually, thing you like is bad,” or “actually, bad thing is good”
  • Essays about personal experiences or responses to media that don’t communicate new insights on that media to a broader audience.
  • Articles or reports targeting a non-consumer or industry audience.

Where to send pitches

How to pitch

We encourage everyone to read the following general tips before pitching our publication.

What’s your headline? The single most common reason for a pitch to be rejected is because it’s a variant on “I’d like to write an essay exploring the relationship between X and Y.” Start with your conclusion: How would you sum up your big idea in a headline? What’s the takeaway, the single grabby observation or insight or reveal that will hook your audience? Let us know you’ve already thought through the question, and aren’t hoping you’ll find a conclusion in the writing process.

The best pitches include both a setup and a follow-through. To quote our sister site Eater:

Across the board, we’re looking for pitches that give a clear, concise summary of the subject, angle, or thesis of the proposed piece, and your anticipated story structure. We’re looking for pitches that contain answers, not questions. (Or, if you don’t have answers yet, an explanation of why you don’t — and the reason shouldn’t be “I haven’t started the reporting.”)

Why are you the best person to tell this story? What experience, expertise, or insight do you have that makes your point of view unique and valuable?

Sell us on your idea! A great pitch has an attention-grabbing thesis or an airtight elevator pitch. And remember, you don’t have to be serious to be taken seriously. It’s entertainment. It’s OK to have fun. We’re not looking for academic papers.

Your pitch should frame the story within the world. What news is it building upon? What conversation are you starting?

Tell us why your story will attract an audience. Try to pitch the story to a friend or family member, and tell them to react honestly. Or, detach yourself from the pitch and ask yourself if you’d read this story if it appeared in front of you. Be honest.

Please keep pitches concise. A paragraph or two is typically a good length. The pitch should cover the high points of your story, but shouldn’t be the story in its entirety. Think of a great movie trailer: It establishes the film within its genre or franchise, sets the stakes, gives a concrete summary of how the story will transpire, then leaves the viewer wanting more. And it does all this in a couple of minutes.

Seriously, length does not equal quality. We publish freelance stories between 500 words and 5,000 words, but every piece must earn its word count. We always prefer a purposeful short piece over a rambling long piece.

For feature pitches, please answer the following questions: In one sentence, what is your idea? What makes this story interesting to someone who has never heard of the people or products involved? What research or access do you have or intend to get that will move the story forward beyond what’s already out there on this topic?

Please do not pitch a story you have already written, and please do not attach a fully written story to your email. These pitches will not be accepted.

Always include related stories that you have published, along with a link to your portfolio if you have one.

How we’ll work together

We appreciate all pitches, but are not able to respond to every pitch. We do often receive pitches that are similar to each other or to our existing assignments.

All accepted stories go through a collaborative editorial process, and all are paid at competitive rates, which are based on the amount and type of work. If we’re interested in your pitch, we’ll discuss rates, deadlines, scope, kill fees (if applicable), and other expectations with you upfront. We’ll also discuss potential expenses, travel, or risks, and provide press credentials when necessary.

If we decide to work with you, you’ll receive an agreement with key terms clearly defined. We typically use a freelance management platform called Shortlist, where you’ll find your agreement. It will also generate an invoice for you and show you payment status.

We believe that clear, thoughtful communication is both our responsibility and yours. We expect you to follow our Vox Media Values, which include collaborating well, and giving and receiving feedback respectfully. We follow those standards, too: If you experience a problem in working with us, we encourage you to discuss it with your editor or our legal team. We also offer a hotline for reporting concerns about conduct anonymously.

We’ll provide an edited draft before publication. We’ll appropriately credit you and other contributors. You can also add a short bio and social media links to your author page. After publication, we will pay in a timely manner as specified in your agreement (typically within 30 days via direct deposit through our Shortlist platform), including reimbursement for any pre-approved expenses.

By submitting a pitch to Vox Media, you acknowledge that your pitch may be similar or identical to content submitted by others, or to materials developed by or on behalf of Vox Media and that it shall have the right to use such other content or materials without any obligation to you. Neither the submission of your pitch nor Vox Media’s review of it constitutes or creates an implied contract or other financial or confidential relationship between you and Vox Media. You shall have no right to compensation or reimbursement of any kind by Vox Media in connection with the submission of your pitch. If and when Vox Media elects to proceed and assign work to you based on your pitch, the terms of any such assignment shall be subject to a separate agreement between you and Vox Media. Vox Media has no obligation to review, keep, or return any materials you submit.

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