Pitching guidelines – The Economist

WHAT IS 1843?
1843 magazine is named for the year The Economist was founded. The aim of 1843 is to provide a complimentary contrast to other parts of The Economist. Where The Economist often analyses topics by looking at implications for decision-makers, 1843 features narrative journalism, telling stories from the ground up, usually with people at the heart.

We tell extraordinary stories from around the world. We’ve published major features from Iran and Indonesia, and are equally interested in fresh ideas from America and Britain. We cover subjects that The Economist rarely writes about, such as family and relationships. We also cover subjects that The Economist writes about a lot, such as politics, conflict, technology, business and science.

We care as much about how our stories look as how they read, so we commission original illustrations or photography for every feature. We give equal weight to beautiful writing, meticulous reporting and intellectual robustness.
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We’re eager to support ambitious journalism that can take months to research and write. Our features tend to run between 3,000 and 6,000 words. We offer resources for reporting and our rates are competitive with the best publications in America and Britain. We spend extensive amounts of time working with you to develop a story. Your work will be promoted to The Economist’s online audience of nearly 60m people around the world.
Please make sure that you pitch us a story and not just a subject. We won’t commission a feature if you simply tell us that you want to write about anxiety or cacao farmers in Nicaragua. When you pitch, you should have an idea of a narrative and character(s) you want to bring to life.
We do not run reviews or opinion pieces. We do not publish news stories or analysis of the sort that might easily run in The Economist. Generally, we do not accept press trips and cannot publish stories that are predicated on them.
We are looking for strong stories populated by compelling characters, with ideas that complement The Economist’s coverage, such as this story about the plight of Britain’s Uyghur community. We are eager for profiles, like these in-depth portraits of James Ellroy, Asma Assad and Avi Loeb. We’re also interested in stories about business: examples include this feature about Uniqlo or this one about the food-delivery industry. We’re interested in features and essays that investigate an area of everyday life that is often overlooked or riddled with unexamined assumptions, such as this one on the calorie.
We like stories that explore our emotional and social lives in unusual and revealing ways, whether it’s a monk’s guide to office life or an insightful personal essay on women and running. We are open to pitches where the writer is a central character, such as this story on the secret life of a private tutor. We sometimes run reported essays, such as this one on perfectionism.
All our features should have an idea at their centre. As a rule of thumb, the more jaw-dropping the narrative, the less structurally prominent the idea needs to be. Think as ambitiously as possible. The beauty of writing for 1843 is that we’re open to pitches on more or less any subject from anywhere in the world.
For features, pitch ideas to Jonathan Beckman ([email protected]), Abigail Fielding-Smith ([email protected]) and Laurie Abraham ([email protected]).
We also commission shorter features that add a human dimension to a news story. These could be pen-portraits, like our stories about a mailman in Arizona ahead of the presidential election, a guerilla from Myanmar or a British lorry driver. Some are more personal, like this one on the writer’s grandmother struggling to cope with the fallout from the Beirut port explosion, or how covid has exposed how middle-class Indians treat their servants. We also publish atmospheric dispatches with a range of voices, like this piece interviewing Protestants in Northern Ireland ahead of the region’s centenary.
As always, we want ideas for stories that can be told through colourful scenes and direct access. When pitching please include an indication of the character(s) through which you will tell the story.
Pitch to Ed McBride ([email protected]), Anna Baddeley ([email protected]) and Josh Spencer ([email protected]).
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Published since September 1843 to take part in “a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.”
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