New Lines Magazine publishes essays and reportage on a wide range of subjects that focus broadly on the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. We also cover politics, culture and controversies in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Russia and Central Asia, and conduct deep-dive investigative journalism based on open-source intelligence and leaked data.
In short, New Lines will consider submissions on virtually anything, provided the story is compelling, well written and accurate. Before pitching, please familiarize yourself with our content and read on to maximize the relevance of your pitch for our magazine.
We publish five distinct sections summarized as follows:
- Reportage: This is the closest format we have to classical news feature reporting, but it also incorporates elements of first observation and is generally deeper and more nuanced than traditional news coverage of events. We seek original reporting from an area or country of interest, which could be anywhere. This includes investigations like longform exposés of timely and newsworthy subjects including cases of financial or political corruption, intelligence operations, war and cultural trends.
- Arguments: This is not a section of op-eds, which we don’t publish. Instead, our Arguments section presents provocative editorials that aim to undercut conventional wisdom on a topic by presenting something completely new to the public discourse or recasting a key historical event in a new light. In short, this section aims to stoke new debate about a longstanding issue or present a new issue altogether.
- Anchored in History: Here we run narrative essays that are anchored in historic events that continue to shape society today. This section takes a misunderstood or undercovered episode in history and recasts it with an eye toward understanding modern conflicts and trends. (See below for more information on our newly launched history project, which aims to bolster these essays.)
- First Person: Essays of a highly personal nature that tell a story bigger than the writer alone, touching upon universal themes like war, love, grief and hope.
- Review: Thoughtful review essays that articulate important ideas and themes, drawing on works of art such as books, films, television series or music.
Our newly launched History Project leans into our Anchored in History section and builds upon it. For this project we seek essays that illuminate the present by resurrecting the past. For us, these new historical essays are a chance to shine a light on underreported ideas, events and personalities from the past that reflect on the present. Big ideas, anchored in history, engagingly written.
Please take the time to read this essay, which explains the series and offers examples of appropriate pitches.
We consider modified (or unmodified) book excerpts, academic paper reviews or revised versions written for a general audience as well as an original, well-researched take on an otherwise settled story.
Pitches and submissions should be sent electronically to: [email protected]
Anatomy of a Pitch
When pitching us cold, please follow these best practices and try to keep it under 300 words.
The Story: Start with the lead that you envision your story will have. (The lead may evolve as you develop the story, but tell us how you see it at this stage.)
Add one or two short and succinct paragraphs to flesh it out further, so we know exactly what you’re pitching. Try to keep it under 300 words or so.
Brief Lit Review: Keep this section short but informative. Tell us whether this story has been covered elsewhere in the media and, if so, where and when. Tell us how yours will be different.
Your Bio: Introduce yourself with a short bio and tell us if you have unusual access to the story and/or why you may be the right person to write it. If you have special expertise or experience on the topic, this is the place to mention that.
Length and Deadline: Last but not least, tell us how many words you envision this story will require and when you can file it to us.
For writers unaccustomed to addressing a general audience, we recommend you follow these guidelines:
- Avoid jargon, academic or otherwise.
- Avoid pitching a topic. Pitch a story instead. For example: “This article explores Middle East culinary heritage” is a topic, whereas “This article talks about vanishing Middle East cuisine and the young New York chefs fighting to keep it alive” is a story. Show us the narrative and character(s) you want to bring to life. Be specific and lead with the tension. (Please do not pitch an academic abstract.)
- Come up with a catchy title for your pitch, and put it in the email subject line.
- Be original. Tell us what’s been said about your topic. Don’t do a full literature review; remember you’re writing for non-specialists. Simply explain why your angle is fresh or show how it has been under-reported outside the walls of academia, for example.
- If you’re submitting something on spec, say so in the email subject line, attach your full story as a Word document and still include a pitch that meets the above guidelines. We do not guarantee that we will read the on spec story, so the pitch has to catch our eye first.
- Please pay attention to our style, which follows AP Style Guidelines. Also, we generally do not use hyperlinks and we never use footnotes.
A Word About Our Editing Process:
We encourage writers from all professional backgrounds to approach us with pitches, which means that we receive a wide range of writing styles that our team of editors work hard to polish and bring to the high standard of the magazine. This often involves at least one round of extensive edits, sometimes more. Once you are commissioned, your assigned editor will guide you through this process.