How to Pitch Story Ideas to Arlington Magazine
Arlington Magazine is a local magazine covering people, places, lifestyle and community/civic issues in Arlington, Falls Church and McLean, Virginia. Got a story idea you’d like to propose? Interested in writing for us? Here are a few pointers.
Do you use freelance writers?
Yes. In fact, the majority of our stories are written by writers or subject experts who live in (or adjacent to) our coverage area. Knowing the local landscape is key. We bring the editorial standards of a national magazine to journalism at the community level. Writers and contributors who know the territory play an integral role in reinforcing our credibility and authenticity.
Who are your readers?
Arlington Magazine readers are affluent, educated and engaged citizens who take pride in the place they call home. The average subscriber has a median household income of $233,000. Nearly two-thirds (63%) have a graduate or professional degree.
What do you cover?
Our readers look to us for information on a broad range of topics—food and restaurants, health and fitness, parenting, education, real estate, home design, arts, shopping, cultural trends, interesting people, community issues—but we explore all of those topics through a local lens. For profiles and human interest pieces, we look for interesting people who live, work and/or grew up here. For issue-oriented stories (like school crowding, neighborhood redevelopment, the local economy) we rely on area residents and local experts as sources. For example, a service piece on home entertaining might include tips from a local caterer, stylist or bartender. A feature on childhood anxiety would likely quote child psychologists, physicians, school counselors and parents who live and/or work in Arlington, Falls Church or McLean.
What makes a good story for Arlington Magazine?
Again, it’s all about the local hook, although we won’t be interested in people, places or businesses just because they fall within our geographic parameters. A unique or interesting angle is still the price of admission. Beyond that we look for thorough research, accurate and balanced reporting, insightful analysis and all of the elements of great storytelling: characters, scenes, dialog, pacing and details that paint a picture.
What’s your lead time?
For print stories, it’s long. Magazine stories are assigned anywhere from 3 to 12 months in advance of the publication date—so if you’re pitching a winter holiday story in November, you’re too late. Lead times for magazine pieces will vary depending on the length of the story, the depth of the topic, how much reporting is required and whether or not the article has a seasonal tie-in. Stories that are written exclusively for our website run on a much tighter cycle and are typically assigned anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks out.
What’s the best way to pitch?
Email is preferred. Send a few sentences summarizing your idea, its relevance to our readers and what kinds of sources you plan to seek out. Be specific about the local angle. Tell us where in the magazine (which section) you think your story might fit. Make it clear that your pitch isn’t generic and that you know what we’re all about. To save yourself some time, check our website first to see if we’ve already done a story on the person or topic you are proposing. If you’ve never written for us before, please include a bit about your background, which publications you’ve written for and a few writing samples. You needn’t have a ton of experience to write for us; you just need to be a good writer or an expert in your subject area. Send magazine pitches to editor Jenny Sullivan, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. Send web story pitches to digital editor Bette Canter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When will I get a response?
Due to the abundance of queries we receive and the limited size of our staff, we cannot respond to every pitch, but we do our best. If we’re interested in your idea we will usually respond within a week (sometimes a little longer if we’re on deadline).
We are based in Arlington, Virginia—not Arlington, Texas or Arlington, Massachusetts. You’d be amazed how many people get that wrong. We know the tourist stops in our backyard and the fun facts that you discover when you Google “Arlington fun facts.” And yes, we know that Sandra Bullock grew up in Arlington. Tell us something we don’t know and you’re more likely to land an assignment!
Thanks for your interest and happy pitching …