Frequently Asked Questions for Contributors

Q: I’m interested in writing for Civil Eats. How do I get started?

1) Start by spending some time reading the articles on our site. You might want to consider subscribing to our weekly newsletter to make it easy to stay on top of what we publish.

2) Write up a one-to-two paragraph pitch describing your story idea, noting where you intend to get your information, and why it might be a good fit for Civil Eats.

3) Include a few lines about why you are the best person to write the story. Include links to other posts and stories you’ve written when applicable.

4) Email everything to pitches(at)civileats.com.

Q: What kinds of stories do you publish?

A: Civil Eats covers issues that span the U.S. food system, so almost anything that involves food, farming, and the people behind them could be of interest. More specifically, we are particularly interested in stories from diverse voices and featuring people whose stories don’t often make it into the news.

For the general types of articles we publish, see our list below:

News stories

These tend to be shorter pieces, reporting on new food or farm policy developments, noteworthy scientific studies, and other timely developments within the world of food. Our goal is to report news in the context of larger questions about how to make our food system more just, sustainable, humane, etc. The most important thing to know is we require a lot of linking out and citing in all of our stories.

Features

These are more in-depth pieces larger issues or questions related to food production, sustainability, food safety, animal welfare, or any of the other topics we regularly cover. These require multiple sources and some in-depth research. Ideally, our features take on some core challenge, tension, or conflict about food production, distribution, etc. The best feature stories have a clear and engaging lede, a clear nut graf, and include more than one perspective.

Profiles of innovators

These are shorter pieces (great for first-time contributors) about a group or individual working to address a problem with our food system. While we’re not opposed to covering people and projects who have received prior media coverage, we tend to privilege stories we haven’t heard before when possible. We’re always looking for signs of success and stories from far afield. While we have significant audiences on the coasts, for instance, we also want to hear about the work being done in remote rural areas, smaller cities, and everywhere in between. These can range from 600-900 words, depending on the story being told.

First-person commentary

Have something provocative or counter-intuitive to say about food production or the food movement? We want to hear it. And if it the idea is strong enough, we’ll be glad to help you strengthen your argument. Note: While we’re happy to look at pre-written op-eds, we will often have edits and require our commentators to work within our editorial standards. We rarely publish anything wholesale.

Interviews

We run occasional Q & As with food and farming leaders and authors of new books on the food system. Let us know who should be on our radar and we’ll share their stories.

Listicles

It’s true, we like a good list as much as the next person (and audiences seems to really like them), but we only want to create lists when there’s some deep content behind it, and not for the sake of creating click bait. Here are a few good examples of what has worked for us.

Videos, infographics, and photo essays

We always love the chance to make Civil Eats a more visual place and we’d love to work with more contributors on these types of pieces. Photos, charts, maps, you name it, we’d love to see it!

Crossposts from other blogs/sites

Have you written something you want to reach a wider audience? We’re always glad to take a look.

Q: Do you pay for original stories?

A: Yes. The amount depends on the type of piece assigned and the level of work involved. Contact us for more info.

Q: Anything you don’t publish?

A: Product reviews, general culinary food trends, or straight up advocacy. We only occasionally publish international stories, and when we do they tend to have a pretty clear tie to the U.S.

Q: Do I need to disclose conflicts of interest?

A: Yes, please. Let us know if you have in any way worked with the company or entity you have written about. In some scenarios this might be a deal breaker, but in other cases we’d simply prefer to disclose the affiliation.

Q: How do I work with the editors?

A: Our editorial process is very hands-on and we may get involved on the story, structure, or sentence-level, depending on what’s needed. But that doesn’t mean we take credit, it just means we have high editorial standards and we hope to help make your work shine!