MIT Technology Review publishes a wide range of stories, from breaking news to long-term investigations. They want stories about technology itself, but they’re particularly excited about those areas where technology and humans collide—where technology meets the real world.
Their stories should feel like must-reads for people who want to stay up to date with how technology is changing our world.
How to pitch MIT Technology Review
- MIT Technology Review welcomes pitches from freelance writers across a broad range of topics. They encourage writers of all skill levels, and from all backgrounds, to pitch the commissioning editor of the MIT Technology Review.
- They are especially interested in hearing from writers with backgrounds that are traditionally under-represented in technology and science journalism, and from outside the United States.
- Most of the stories that MIT Technology Review commissions come from pitches. They also issue a bi-monthly call for pitches for the print magazine.
- MIT review commissions news stories (generally 800-1,000 words), analysis pieces (800-1,000 words), and features (2,500-4,000 words) from freelancers for the website.
- The print magazine offers other potential formats for stories in addition to news and features, including infographicsand data spreads, essays, short profiles, and book reviews.
- A pitch does not need to be long, but it should contain enough information to give the commissioning editor a good sense of what the end product would look like. A good pitch will tell us why our readers should care about your idea and why they should be reading about it now. It should also show how you (the writer) will make the story an enjoyable read.
- In general, there has to be a sense of urgency and a clear top line. Pitching to write about a topic isn’t enough: What is the story you’re going to tell them? What kind of take-away should readers have? One way to do this is to think about what the headline might be. You can look at MIT Review to get a sense of how we write our headlines (for example, we generally avoid formulating headlines as questions).
- Please check to see if they have published similar stories recently. If it is an idea that hasn’t been covered by them but has been covered well by other outlets, explain how your story would stand apart.
- And if you have not written for MIT Technology Review before, be sure to introduce yourself and include links to a few relevant clips if you have them.
- News and analysis stories: If you’re pitching a news story about a scientific or technological development, be sure to make clear why this advance (if it is an advance) is important and not just incremental. It can’t be significant only to researchers in the field: it has to be important to people in general. They should be able to read the story and instantly get a sense as to why it’s a big deal.
- In addition to straight news stories, they sometimes commission analysis piecesfrom freelance writers that look at the news of the day through a new lens, adding context, insight, or new information to take the story forward.
- We’d want a quick pitch (and a quick turnaround) for such analysis pieces. Summing up what is already out there isn’t enough; you need to tell us what the new thing is you’re bringing to the story. What do people not know? What are the consequences of the event that many of our readers will be unaware of—but would be fascinated to learn about?
- Features and essays: Features can take a wide range of possible approaches, including fairly straightforward reports, profiles, narrative features, and deep investigations. Ultimately, readers should enjoy reading them. So your pitch should not only explain what the story is and why it is important but show how you’d tell it in a compelling way.
- Feature pitches should have a specific story to tell—it is not enough to pitch an interesting topic. You must explain what kind of approach you’d take, what kind of ride you’ll take readers on. Who are the main characters? What obstacles or challenges will they meet on the way? How might your story resolve? What is the nut graf? We don’t expect you to have everything worked out in advance of reporting and writing the story, but the pitch should be able to give a sense of where the story will go.
- Similarly, pitches for essays need a clear argument. Explain what you want to say about the topic in hand, why you’re qualified to write about it, what take-aways you hope to give readers, and the evidence you will marshal to make your case.
Rates range from $1 to $2 per word, depending on the experience level of the reporter, the story, and the publication route. Deeply reported features pay more than shorter news pieces.
If you have any questions or if you are ready to send a pitch, please reach out to commissioning editor Rachel Courtland ([email protected]). Please be sure to include “PITCH” in the subject line of your email.