What We’re Looking For…
As with any potential job, prospective writers should do their homework. Pick up a few issues of the magazine and identify our style, as well as the kinds of stories we typically publish. First and foremost, we seek profile stories (1,500 to 1,800 words) with interviews of the region’s most prominent or notable figures. Immediate attention will be paid to queries aiming to spotlight these individuals in a way that is both current and relevant to the region. Do not come to us with a story “idea” without the resources to execute it. If you want to write a profile on Mr. Prominent CEO in the region, you need to have access to Mr. CEO. Contributors who are unable or unwilling to conduct interviews in person are not considered.
Other types of stories we seek are:
• Getaways – exploring rarely chartered regional ground
• Medical – highlighting the work and/or advancements of regional hospitals and physicians
• Fashion/Style – spotlighting the region’s designers & trends in fashion and home decor.
• Education – pertinent topics and trends in higher learning and within the Northern Virginia public and private school sectors.
• Arts – news and discoveries in fine and performing arts within the region.
• Business – analysis and news on business trends, closures and openings in the region, as well as business-owner spotlights.
Feature stories (2,000 to 2,500 words) most likely to get our attention will present new information on topics making headlines or a story yet to be published anywhere else in the Metro DC area. An article worthy of publication will almost always ask the question: “Why should Northern Virginians care?”
We uphold journalistic integrity. Research, thorough reporting and ethical presentation are always expected from each of our writers.
Depending on the subject matter, we expect narrative treatment for most feature and profile stories over 1,000 words. Imaginative lede sentences, story progression, lush detail and character development and description are expected. Stories should be as entertaining as they are thoughtful.
What We Avoid…
We are not a local newspaper. As such, stories about high school plays, church bake sales or citizen spotlights will not get our attention. Additionally, neither will:
• Puff pieces – “isn’t-that-interesting” stories with no particular point.
• First-person narratives or essays – unless a notable regional figure.
How We Work…
Requests for “freelance opportunities” will be denied. We have a loyal freelance writer base to whom we first turn with story availability. Interested writers who would like to contribute to Northern Virginia Magazine should come to us with a formal query detailing: story direction, research entailed, relevance to the time and region, and potential sources you would use. If we accept your query and publish your story, you will be added to our distribution list. From that point, if we have a story available that we believe suits your particular writing style, we will contact you.
Because of our relatively small staff size, we work approximately three and a half months in advance of the issue month. Writers get two- to three-month deadlines depending on story length and complexity. Deadline extensions, therefore, are granted only with great and careful consideration.
We purchase exclusive rights of work submitted and exclusive worldwide electronic rights to cover posting on our website and inclusion in electronic archives and databases.
What We Pay…
Freelance contributors may receive anywhere from $50 to $1,000 for a story, depending on length, research, newsworthiness and complexity. We do not reimburse expenses, travel or otherwise. We pay half the fee upon submission of the story and the invoice, and half upon publication. For this reason, we do not distribute kill fees.
How to Submit…
Submit queries, along with three samples of previous work as Word attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org.