Freelance Correspondents

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Pitch an idea to The Correspondent!


Do you feel like the news feeds us a sensational, depressing, cynicism-breeding picture of the world? Do you have an idea for a story or series about a fundamental development that shapes the world around us? And do you see readers, viewers, and listeners as potential sources of expertise that can help you do that?

Then we might be looking for you!

(If you're interested in a full-time correspondent position, please apply here.)

Dear future colleague,

I'm Rob Wijnberg, founding editor of The Correspondent, a journalism platform for unbreaking news. In December 2018, we set a crowdfunding world record thanks to the support of 45,888 founding members from over 130 countries.

Those members signed up to support in-depth, transnational journalism on the most important developments of our time – from climate change to artificial intelligence, from tax evasion to social inequality. The Correspondent will officially start publishing on September 30, 2019, and we're looking for fulltime and freelance correspondents around the world who will work with our members to uncover the systems and structures that drive these fundamental issues.

In this letter, I want to tell you what we look for in a freelance correspondent, and how to pitch us your story or series idea. (If you're interested in a fulltime position, please apply here.)

Rob Wijnberg

Founding editor of The Correspondent

As a freelance correspondent:

  1. You work on a clearly defined story or series through which you provide insight into a global, systemic phenomenon. Rather than reporting on what happened today, you focus on what happens every day. Metaphorically speaking: you cover the climate, not the weather.
  2. You don't believe in the misleading ideal of journalistic "neutrality" and therefore tell your readers where you're coming from. You understand why it's better to be transparent about your assumptions and convictions than to pretend you don't have any.
  3. You keep a public notebook that provides insight into your journalistic research while you're doing it. You don't see this as “giving away your ideas,” but as sharing your learning curve and improving your reporting. Even though you won't work as a fulltime correspondent, you do have a clear idea on how (often) you'll share your progress and insights with members.
  4. You view readers as potential sources of knowledge and experience and involve them in your research. You believe your job is not to "publish stories," but to engage in a continuous dialogue with the people formerly known as “the audience.”
  5. You speak and write clear, fluent English. You're also able to communicate your journalism through podcasts, videos, and/or on stage.

We're looking for stories or series that...

  • Don't report the same news we see elsewhere, but uncover the context for that news
  • Focus on a development that’s relevant not only today, but every day
  • Contain an original insight and make readers look at the world in a new light
  • Are created and reported in dialogue with our members
  • Not only identify a problem, but also provide possible solutions
  • Express your expertise and enthusiasm, and make clear what you think
  • Bring together multiple disciplines (e.g. the economy and health) or transcend borders
  • Challenge stereotypes, debunk myths, and dispel prejudices
  • Are based on thorough investigation and reliable sources
  • Enrich our platform because they're different from anything we already have.

We're not looking for stories that...

  • Focus on one-off incidents and exceptions
  • Fail to show the bigger picture or why it’s important
  • Appear frequently in other media
  • Contain no clear, original insights
  • Result from parachute reporting, with little knowledge about the place you're in
  • Are written by authors that want to broadcast ideas, and not discuss them with members

What we offer

  • The Correspondent would not exist without members, who enrich our journalism by sharing insightful comments and tips with us. You'll have a unique opportunity to interact with our members from all over the world– for example, by asking for feedback and engaging in the conversations that emerge post-publication. This interaction is an integral part of your work and fee.
  • You'll receive personal guidance and feedback from an experienced group of editors, image directors, our social media team, and a conversation editor, who'll work with you to write, factcheck, visualize, and present your story or series in the best possible way, and make the most of your production.
  • We don't pay by the word, because length alone is not a fair standard for compensation. Instead, we’ll propose a set fee for your story or series. All fees are based on the amount of work we expect it will take to complete the project, the expertise you bring to the table, your experience as a writer, and the quality of your previous work. All fees will be agreed before a project commences.
  • You’ll report directly to our editor in chief and you’ll work with our managing editor to discuss your ideas, determine deadlines, etc.

Write to us!

Please apply here before June 21. We look forward to reading your application!

All the best, on behalf of all of us at The Correspondent,

Rob Wijnberg

Founding editor