We are always on the look out for new contributors and fresh ideas and original voices. We publish on a bi-monthly basis, and set stories for upcoming issues about two months in advance. While we set pitch deadlines for each issue, feel free to submit story ideas at any time.
GUIDELINES FOR WRITERS
(photographers, illustrators and graphic artists, see below)
The following guidelines are meant to help you focus your pitches and help us get a better idea of what kind of article you would like to submit.
In every issue we publish a range of articles is various sections. These include:
Words of Prey
Word count: 250 words
A quick, often funny, look at how a particular word is being misused in the media. Often examines the original root of the word and the difference with how it is used today.
Ant vs Elephant
Word count: 300 words
A look at a group or individual beating the odds. Broken down into a point form comparison of the two opposing sides in a debate, the focus is on success stories of individuals and grassroots groups (ants) over more well-established opponents (elephants).
Word count: 120 words
Newsbriefs are short and to the point pieces that highlight items of interest both from Montreal and internationally.
Word count: 600 to 1200 words
News stories should, as much as possible, be local in nature to Montreal, or carry some relevance to Montreal readers. While all news stories should focus on the who, what, where, when, why and how, a particular emphasis should be put on the why by emphasizing background, context and power dynamics. News stories rely on interviews and research to tell the story, and should not simply be a reflection of the author’s opinion.
Word count: 600 words
Community Focus is a space for first hand accounts from members of various communities across Montreal. An emphasis is placed on compelling narratives that have been ignored or only slightly covered in the mainstream press and speak to issues faced by a broader community. The authors of these pieces often are not journalists or professional writers, but rather people with a story to tell.
Word count: 600 words
Worldviews is an on the ground account of a current issue in a foreign country or region. Priority is placed on journalists living in the specific country or region being covered, or on journalists visiting the area. While opinion pieces are sometimes accepted, preference is given to hard news stories.
Word count: 1800 words
Every issue of Siafu will contain one main feature, which often (but not always) is also the cover story. The feature is not simply a long news piece, but rather must place particular focus on extensive research, interviewing and constructing a captivating narrative that will guide the reader through the piece. Features can also take the form of creative non-fiction.
Word count: 600 words
A service-oriented piece that would inform readers on how-to carry out a certain task or project, whether that be screen-printing t-shirts to overhauling their bikes. Tool Kit can also be point form or with an emphasis on a diagram/illustration.
Word Count: 600 words
Writers would interview a unique individual who has particular insight or is involved with a particular event of interest to a Montreal readership. Q & As, in general, are not profiles, and therefore should not simply focus on an individuals background, etc. Instead, questions should as much as possible on the interviewee’s opinion or knowledge of a certain topic.
Word count: 200-600 words
Siafu is always on the look-out for reviews of books, albums, visual art pieces, performances and films that are of interest to the Montreal community and feature Montreal artists. While we are not interested in after-the-fact reviews of shows (as in, your favourite band played last Tuesday and you want to tell the world about them), we will occasionally print previews of upcoming events that will occur during the distribution period for that particular issue. Reviews, whether positive or negative, should attempt to present informed opinions in an interesting, accessible way.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN PITCHES
As a general rule, writers must send a pitch before submitting actual articles. This saves both our time, by allowing us to get an idea of your article before reading the entire piece, and saves you time by not writing up an entire article for us that we may not run.
Pitches should be written in the body of an e-mail (no attachments, please) and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The following questions are meant as a guideline for what to include; please do not simply send in point form answers. While pitches must be brief (about 300 words) they also serve the role as being our first introduction to your ability to write, and write well! Please pay close attention to grammar, spelling and form.
Questions to keep in mind when writing your pitch:
- What kind of piece would you like to write?
- How long do you expect it to be?
- What will the article be about? (Please be brief, no more than 200 words, and attempt to cover the 5Ws & How)
- What makes it relevant to Siafu’s readership, and why now?
- Please provide a list of potential sources both for interviews and research. Please be specific. (The more sources you provide, and the more extensive research you do, the better the chance for your piece to be printed. Please note that articles will also be fact-checked)
- Do you have previous experience writing for magazines? If yes, please say where and, if possible, provide a clipping or two.
Once we have read your submission, we will let you know if we are interested in your article and send you a letter of assignment which details more specifically what we would expect from your article, the exact word count and due date. A member of our editorial collective will also be assigned to work with you throughout the writing process. And if we don’t take your first idea, please don’t give up! Keep sending them along to us for consideration.
Siafu is always looking for ways to spice up our publication. We will occasionally publish photo essays or stand-alone illustrations. If you are interested, please send along a written description and a low-res example (72 dpi) or link to an online gallery to email@example.com.
If you are interested in illustrating or taking photographs on assignment, please let us know and send low-res examples of your work to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will at times be able to offer monetary compensation for photographs and illustrations, particularly for cover art.
More questions? Contact us.