Freelance Writer Guidelines

While much of our content comes from staff writers and freelancers with whom we’ve had long-standing relationships, Mother Jones magazine and will consider solidly reported, hard-hitting, groundbreaking news stories. We’re also open to thought-provoking, timely opinion and analysis pieces on important current issues.

We’re interested in just about anything that will raise our readers’ eyebrows, but we focus especially on these areas: national politics, environmental issues, corporate wrongdoing, human rights, and political influence in all spheres.

Our readership is nationwide, so please, no local issues unless they have national interest or implications. At the same time, anything that has already been covered extensively in the major national media will probably not work for us, unless you have some new unique angle. We will look at cultural essays, but not travel pieces. Save yourself and us time and effort by taking a good look at our site and/or the magazine before you send a query.

Best bet is to query us by email. (Editors’ contact information and areas of interest can be found on our staff page.) Tell us in no more than a few paragraphs what you plan to cover, why it’s important and interesting, and how you will report it. The query should convey your approach, tone, and style, and should answer the following: What are your specific qualifications for writing on this topic? What ins do you have with your sources? If other major stories have been done on this topic, how will yours be different—and better?

Please also include a line or two about your background and two or three of your most relevant clips (links are fine).

Web pieces are generally fewer than 1,500 words. Because we have staff reporters it is extremely rare that we will pay for a piece whose timeliness or other qualities work for the web only. Magazine pieces can range up to 5,000 words. There is at least a two-month lead time.

No phone calls, please.