PITCH GUIDE FOR FREELANCE WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS
National Wildlife® magazine is published by the National Wildlife Federation, the largest private conservation group in the United States. It is quarterly, has an average circulation per issue of more than 450,000 and focuses on storytelling related to wildlife and habitat conservation, environmental justice, climate change, public lands, conservation science, nature photography, wildlife gardening, connecting people with nature and much more. We focus primarily within North America, occasionally elsewhere around the globe. Freelance journalists write most of our articles, working with staff editors. We welcome a diversity of voices and perspectives.
A Word about Inclusion: In Carolyn Finney’s powerful book Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors, she writes that many of the scores of Black people she interviewed “reiterated the importance of [environmental] media and how the lack of stories and images of African Americans constitute a ‘not reaching out’ by environmental organizations. When you don’t see yourself, the message is, ‘you’re not invited.’”
The National Wildlife Federation strives to center equity in every aspect of its work. As part of that mission, National Wildlife magazine wants to tell the stories relevant to all people. We invite writers and photographers who are Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, LGBTQ+ or from any background to help us tell these stories and to share your perspectives and voices. Together, we can help build an environmental movement that’s truly inclusive and welcoming to all.
Frequency: Quarterly (4 issues per year)
Circulation: Average of 450,000 per issue
Text Pay Rates: For print, starting at $1.30 per word. For web, negotiated per article and typically starting at $250.
Licensing Rates for Photography: For print, ranges from $100 for the smallest size to $1000 for the cover. For web-use only, $50 per image.
Payment: For print, on completion of editing the story draft. For web, on publication.
Text Kill Fee: 25%
Rights Purchased: The magazine buys all rights to text, plus reprint and promotion rights for the National Wildlife Federation. Pictures and text submitted together may be purchased as a package or licensed separately.
Payment for the use of photographs is based on one-time rights with limited promotional use. Rates are based on size and placement and are competitive with other national magazines. We keep a hi-res scan of all published images for consideration by NWF for other uses. Any such uses will only be with the photographers’ permission and payment.
We’re looking for compelling stories about wildlife, nature and environmental justice that will engage our readers and inspire them to act on behalf of conservation. The writing should be thoroughly reported and grounded in science but conversational in tone to appeal to a broad, general audience. When sending a pitch:
Features: These articles vary in length from 1,000 to 2,000 words and cover a wide range of issues related to wildlife and habitat conservation and environmental justice. Among the topics we explore:
Departments: These are short pieces in the front of the book ranging in length from 350 to 900 words. Many offer practical how-to tips people can put into practice in their own lives. Among the topics we cover:
Once we make an assignment, the staff editor assigned to the piece will talk with the writer to brainstorm ideas about approach, scope and potential sources. Writers will generally have two months or more to produce feature articles. We expect thorough, original reporting that relies on background research and in-depth interviews with sources to capture their expertise and voices. Writers should use original quotes from these interviews rather than rely on websites or email exchanges. Cite science where necessary, and use specific data and examples to illustrate general points. Ledes should grab readers with vivid writing that entices them into the article. Up high, convey what the story is about and why it matters. Write with a solid structure that uses logical transitions to flow from one main idea or section to the next. End the piece with a memorable kick. For more information, visit our GUIDE FOR WRITERS.
After a writer submits an article, the editor will provide feedback and will likely have questions or ask for revisions. On occasion, there may be two rounds of revisions required. The editor will fit the text to the layout and ask for annotations and links to research cited. Articles will be reviewed by the National Wildlife Federation’s chief scientist and by other sources. Writers are responsible for the accuracy of their articles.
The editors of National Wildlife magazine rely on high-quality images of wildlife from both professional and outstanding amateur photographers. We seek images obtained in the wild under natural conditions and in an ethical manner. If you are interested in having your photos considered for publication, you can submit samples of your work. For more information, see our GUIDE FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS.
We also consider photo-story portfolios from photographers who cover wildlife, nature, conservation and environmental justice. Photographers can submit samples of their coverage with an explanation of the story and why it’s relevant to our audience. Staff editors can assign a writer, or, if the photographer also wants to write the text to accompany images, we can negotiate either a package price or separate price for text and images.
Nature’s Witness: National Wildlife magazine has a department called “Nature’s Witness,” which is a two-page spread featuring one powerful photograph and a caption about the photographer and his or her work. We use this space to spotlight conservation photographers who devote themselves to telling stories about nature and to raise awareness about conservation. If you have a photograph you’d like us to consider for Nature’s Witness, write to email@example.com and put “Nature’s Witness” in the subject line.
We know that writers and photographers pour their time, talent and emotional energy into telling stories that have impact, and we greatly respect that effort. To honor your work, we will promote it through our social media networks and publish it online, including links to your bios and websites so readers and others can learn more about what you do. We hope to move beyond the transaction of an assignment to build relationships that can be fruitful and meaningful for both you and the magazine.
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