Perfect Pitch: Time Out

Time Out
Authoritative views and reviews of everything that’s great in London.
Frequency: Weekly

Pitch to: Front section (before listings) Alan Rutter, associate editor. Previews or reviews to appropriate section head.

Type of article: Short pieces for Big Smoke front section; longer features and occasionally previews or reviews for the different sections of the magazine. As Time Out has a large team of in-house writers who are all experts in their field, the likelihood is we’ll already know about any big upcoming cultural events, and will have them covered.

Topics: Any original and unique ideas for pieces about life in the capital or that have a strong relevance for Londoners are welcome. Steer clear of the obvious.

How to pitch: Email in the first instance, then follow up with a phone call. We’re unlikely to be able to give a yes or no over the phone straight away. A paragraph describing what the story is, plus a few bullet points on what access the writer has and what sources he or she would use. A headline and standfirst helps – that’s what we use to grab a reader’s attention, so it should work on a commissioning editor. Any suggestions for original formats for the piece, or potential visuals, are good. A brief list of publications you’ve written for before helps – but no bulky attachments.

Post-pitch: If it’s a time-sensitive story, you can follow it up as soon as you like with a polite ‘just checking you got my email’ call. Otherwise, at least a couple of days. If I know that a decision is going to be delayed, I’ll always try to let the freelance know when they can expect to hear back.

What will impress: Evidence that a freelance has read the magazine, and isn’t pitching blind. And a fantastic idea that nobody inhouse has thought of.

What won’t impress: The ‘something on’ pitch (such as ‘would you like something on the Notting Hill Carnival?’) Also, phone calls or emails asking if we need any writers, without a pitch attached.

Rate: Word rates vary, depending on what the piece is; the fee will be obviously be agreed beforehand. Images: No. We’ll nearly always commission a photographer, who can accompany the writer if necessary. Digital snaps help to give us an idea of what the visuals might be, in case we need to send the photographer separately. If the freelance is a photojournalist, we’ll discuss that as part of the commission.

Alan Rutter, associate editor

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