By Channing Kennedy Mar 26, 2011

Thanks for your interest in contributing to Colorlines. Although the vast majority of our content is produced by staff writers and contracted contributors, we’re always open to pitches from other reporters, videographers, artists and thinkers for our news and analysis features. We know it’s nerve-wracking to fire off great ideas into the seeming black hole of editors’ in-boxes, so we’ve got a few tips to ease the process at Colorlines.

First, the logistics: Please send your queries in the body of an e-mail, rather than as an attachment, to Include "editorial query" in the subject line. We discourage sending completed manuscripts, as we always have thoughts on how to shape a feature to meet our needs. Please also note that we rarely use previously published submissions.

Now, here’s how to get our attention once we’ve got your e-mail.

Know what we do. Potential contributors should familiarize themselves with our overall coverage. We provide daily news and analysis through a racial justice lens, targeted at a broad audience of news consumers. Brilliant ideas from academia need to be made compelling for readers who aren’t in graduate studies programs.

Keep it timely. We are most interested in reporting or analysis that advances a discussion leading the news in a given week. We welcome ideas on everything from pop culture to economic justice. But whatever the topic, it’s gotta be timely. Note that this also means we often require a fast turnaround on assignments.

Show, don’t tell. In all cases, we are far more interested in pitches driven by original reporting and/or story-telling than by commentary.

Sell it. Describe what you’d like to write or produce in a few paragraphs. Sell us on why your idea is unique, how it advances the discussion you’re engaging and how you’ll substantiate the point. Keep in mind that your e-mail is our best indication of the voice and style you would use in the assigned feature. If you have previously published work, please include links to that as well.

Finally, we are unfortunately unable to respond personally to all the queries we receive. If we’re able to use your idea, an editor will be in touch. If you haven’t heard back within a week, you can assume we’re unable to use it.

Thanks again for your interest, and we eagerly await your great ideas!