Pitch to: Depends which section the piece is for. Sue Matthias (deputy editor) or Barbara Gunnell (associate editor) for current affairs and general features. Rachel Aspden is books editor, Alice O’Keeffe arts editor. Daniel Trilling (deputy arts and books editor) looks after the culture section, which includes travel and ideas. email@example.com.
Type of articles: We have a political editor, a US correspondent and regular columnists and critics; otherwise almost everything is commissioned and could come from freelances. The Observations section contains pithy articles (550-700 words) on everything from politics to youth culture.
Topics: Politics, currents affairs, books, arts and culture. Potential contributors should be aware of what appears in our pages. As a weekly magazine, timing and a thorough knowledge of media is essential.
How to pitch: Email appropriate editor, outlining your idea. Explain why you are well-placed to write the story. You should be able to sum up your idea in one sentence. Send just one idea per email and put the topic in the subject field. If you haven’t written for the NS before, we will almost certainly ask you to write on spec, rather than commissioning.
Post-pitch: If you haven’t heard after a few days send a brief follow-up email. The best time to pitch current affairs stories is the second half of the week after NS has gone to the printer. The reverse is true for the arts and books’ pages which have a different production schedule.
What will impress: A succinct pitch with strong topicality. A story may appear in the papers several days before we can cover it, so the best pitches have a different angle and original, thorough research. Ask yourself, has this been published in the mainstream media? If it has, don’t bother.
What won’t impress: Long, unfocused pitches, stories without a clear news peg. Whole features sent unsolicited.
Rate: Depends on length and type of piece. We do not have a word rate.