Write for us. Join our community.
Love what you read on Greater Greater Washington? We want to add YOUR byline to the news and analysis on our site!
Our blog posts come from a diverse community of volunteers, and we’re always looking to bring in new contributors. You don’t need to be a trained expert on a subject to write about it — all you need is the desire to write about the urban places around you, a commitment to accuracy and fairness, and a willingness to collaborate with us as you move from idea to draft to a published post.
What kinds of posts are we looking for?
The Greater Greater Washington news website informs and engages people about urbanism: geographic, economic, political, and social forces affecting the built environment. We publish content from volunteer writers about how varied policy issues interact with topics like transit, housing, bicycling, infrastructure, public spaces, and more.
We also welcome posts on public policy issues like education, social justice, and health, but articles on these topics must have an urbanist link or lens. (For more in-depth guidelines about our parameters for posts, check out our urbanism content philosophy.)
We’re looking for people to write about these topics and others! When evaluating a potential post, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Why does this issue matter to people all over the region? If an issue happening in your neighborhood is an example of a wider trend, point that out so readers around the region will understand why it matters to their lives.
- How does this issue influence, or how is it influenced by, our region’s built environment or the choices people make about where to live? In other words, what makes it urbanist?
- What is the big-picture principle at work here? What’s the main knowledge you want readers to gain by reading?
What’s the best way to write about these topics?
The subjects of our posts represent a range of urbanism-related topics, but the structure of these posts follow a common outline. Ultimately, we’re looking for posts that help readers learn something new. We want to be sure all Greater Greater Washington posts have:
- A conversational tone. The subjects we cover often have a technical side, and for people who know their stuff, it’s easy to get wonky. But since we’re writing for people who are non-experts but curious to learn, we write about things in plain terms.
- A headline and a clear, direct introduction that give readers the most crucial information — your main idea, and enough context to understand it. If someone only reads those two things, they should still come away with new information they could share with someone else.
- Enough background information to give readers the details they need to understand the subject at hand, and after the background, new information. Those are the crucial parts of any post, and once they’re there, more detail, information about an upcoming event related to the subject, or a call to action can be okay — but only after the intro, background, and new information.
What we don’t want
There are a few types of pitches we often get that don’t work for us. Here are some tips to avoid these pitfalls:
- Our foremost goal is to educate people about issues related to urbanism and the growth and development of our region, so it’s rare that we run posts that are rooted in opinion. We always aim to inform before we persuade. News and analysis posts can include about 20% opinion or conclusion, usually at the end, but op-eds should come from elected officials, or others by invitation only. See the table below for more details.
- We strive to apply rigorous journalistic principles to everything we publish, and thus avoid speculating about how infrastructure and the like can be improved (like “fantasy maps”) unless we can cite a study or expert as evidence.
- We also don’t usually run posts specifically about an event, though you’re welcome to write about a news event or big idea that came from one you attended. We do regularly run a post listing events we think Greater Greater Washington readers would be interested in, and you can submit yours here.
Types of posts
Below are some of the types of posts we publish on ggwash.org and our criteria. Since we aim to educate before we persuade, most of the posts we publish fall in the “News & Analysis” category.
|News and Analysis||Opinion||Advocacy||Politics|
|Definition||Straight-up factual news reporting, or reporting with an urbanist "take" on an issue||Someone's opinion, couched primarily as argumentation (op-ed) or GGWash's opinion (editorial)||Inform about an issue and have a call to action, or just ask readers to take action||Endorsing a political candidate|
|Who can write||Everyone||Op-eds are by elected officials, experts, and invitation only. Editorials are written by the Editorial Board or a GGWash Committee.||Staff (excluding editor), volunteer campaign lead, or partner organization||Members of the Elections Committee|
|Limit||No limit; Most published posts fall in this category||Approximately 10% of published posts (1-2/week)||Approximately 10% of published posts (1-2/week)||Approximately 20% of published posts (3-4/week) during elections seasons|
Take the next step; write a pitch!
You’re still reading! Does that mean you’re ready to submit a pitch?
To get started writing for us, email email@example.com with your idea for a post. We'll help you get started from there!
Pitches should include the following:
- Your main idea and relevant background in a few sentences
- Three to five main points you’d like the reader to understand
- Why this is timely/interesting/important/relevant to readers across the region
- Where you’re getting your information from (study, news article, neighborhood listserv, expert, etc.)
If you have a 500-800 word draft ready to go, send it as a google doc, plain text, or MS Word document. Please note that if this is your first time writing for us, it’s best to send an outline for feedback from our editor first, even if you’ve published elsewhere. GGWash has a unique style and lens, so sending a pitch first will likely save you and her time.
If you’ve read all of this and want to know even more, you can also check out this overview of our editorial standards and process.
Can’t think of anything to write about? That’s totally fine!
Our editor can connect new contributors with something to write about, along with the details they need to get started. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you’re interested in writing but need some support getting started.
The legal stuff
We edit all articles to meet our standards for length, style, and clarity, and it can sometimes take a few days or more to review submissions. We'll always give you a chance to review any changes to your post before it goes live, but by submitting, you agree to let us edit and publish it at a convenient time based on our editing and publishing schedule.
If you submit an article or letter, unless we have a prior agreement to the contrary, you agree to grant Greater Greater Washington a perpetual, transferable, worldwide, royalty-free license to reproduce, distribute, publish, display, edit, modify, create derivative works from, and otherwise use your submission in any form and on any media.