Southerly publishes two to four stories a month currently, and we’re increasing that as we grow. Our main topics are climate, energy, land, water, culture, and justice in the American South, which we define as West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas. We also cover Eastern Texas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Southerly 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 a diverse group of writers to contribute, and in the stories we want to see women, people of color, and other minorities represented in your characters, experts, and sources. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Our founder and editor-in-chief Lyndsey Gilpin will respond within two to four weeks. If you don’t receive a response within a month, feel free to follow up via email.
We currently pay:
$500 for 700-1000 words
$750 for 1200-1600 words
$1,000 for ~2,000 words
What we’re looking for:
News analysis: Take a timely issue such as the pipeline boom in Appalachia, coal ash pond closures across the Deep South, 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 piece, which published before the midterm elections in November 2018, looked at how Florida’s toxic red tide and hurricane season thrust environmental issues onto center stage for voters and candidates.
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.
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, or series, or multimedia/data-driven pieces that doesn’t fall into one of the above categories but is surprising and urgent to Southerners, let us know.
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.