Ecology + Justice + Culture in the American South

Pitch us

How to submit a story idea:

Southerly publishes in-depth, thoughtful, accurate journalism about the relationship between people, places, and ecosystems in the American South. Our main topics are climate, energy, land, water, culture, and justice. We define the South geographically as: West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and East Texas. We are also interested in covering Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and how the American South intersects with the Global South.

Our stories are about everything from environmental justice efforts in rural and urban areas to the effects of extreme weather, heat, and flooding on inland and coastal communities; shifting local economies to pollution and public health; how people are interacting with their natural resources to changes in wildlife habitat and biodiversity; agriculture and food systems to outdoor recreation, infrastructure, and more.

Diversity is important to Southerly. We want writers from all races, backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses to contribute. In our stories, we want to see women, nonbinary, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ folks, and other underrepresented groups as sources, and ensure that writers are in community with the people they’re covering.

We consider all pitches, but preference is given to journalists living and working in the American South. We’re excited to hear your story ideas. Email them to pitch at southerlymag.org. If you don’t receive a response within a couple weeks, feel free to follow up via email.  

We currently pay:

$500 for up to 1,000 words

$750 for up to 1,500 words

We will negotiate rates for stories above these word counts.

What we’re looking for:

News analysis: Take a timely issue such as the pipeline boom in Appalachia, coal ash pond closures across the region, or the rise in solar cooperatives in Florida, and tell us what’s at stake. We want stories with broad importance that will interest readers throughout the region and nation. Example: This story on how low-income renters in Eastern Texas are suing the state and federal government over disaster policies following Hurricane Harvey.

Short features: We want character-driven narratives or investigations about how communities and people in the South are interacting with their natural resources and changing environment. Pitch us features ranging from 1,200 to 1,600 words long. Example: This story about how longtime environmental activists in the Deep South refuse to wait for top-down climate policy solutions and are instead organizing on the ground; or this piece on a controversial flood mitigation project being proposed in the Mississippi Delta.

Profiles: We’re looking to publish short profiles of interesting people. We don’t want promo pieces; pitch us stories about unique Southerners who are bucking the typical narrative in their work or life, and why it matters. Example: This profile of a man who hiked the Appalachian Trail and biked the Underground Railroad Trail to raise awareness about the lack of people of color in the outdoor industry.

Photo stories: We want to feature the work of up-and-coming photographers based in the American South who are shedding light on life here and how it is changing as the environment and economy does.

If you have an idea for a longer investigative piece, feature story, series, or multimedia/data-driven pieces that doesn’t fall into one of the above categories but is important for Southern audiences, let us know. We’d love to hear about it!

If you’re a freelancer who has a story and grant funding for travel to help make it happen, but no place to publish it yet, please get in touch.