The Washington Post Magazine is looking for journalists to contribute to a special issue about the diminished state of local and community news in the United States. Our goal is not to report on the state of local journalism, but to show what the American public misses when thousands of stories are not told. The final result will be a fall 2021 issue of the Magazine that consists solely of stories that have not been reported on, or are underreported, due to decreased resources for local and/or regional news.

We are looking for stories from journalists in areas with limited access to comprehensive news that feeds democracy at grass-roots levels. This often occurs in communities without a local news outlet, or with only one newspaper or news outlet. (Here’s a map of these areas.)

We’re looking for diversity in both story format (a long-form narrative feature; an accountability or investigative piece; a photo essay or video; a profile; a human interest piece; a visual essay; etc.) and tone (from serious and news-forward to lighthearted and comic).

These stories should fall into at least one of the below topics:

●Public safety (including terrorism, the coronavirus pandemic, policing).

●Health (availability and quality of health care).

●Education (state and local school issues, school taxes).

●Infrastructure (digital and physical systems, including mass transit, road and weather conditions).

●Environment (air and water quality, environmental hazards).

●Economic conditions (employment options, economic developments).

●Civic and cultural life (arts and entertainment programs, religion, social services).

●Politics and political life (voter registration, local and regional politics).

To be considered, pitches should include:

●A brief bio and relevant clips (embedded links or attached as PDFs).

●An approximately 300-word synopsis of the story you’d like to report and write, including:

- The issue(s) that your story will explore.

- The community or region affected.

- The potential characters/sources and any news pegs or relevant statistics.

- The format you envision the story taking. Are you pitching an accountability piece, an investigation, a narrative feature, a profile, a human interest piece, a photo essay, illustration(s)?

- Any visual components that might accompany the story.

- Is there any information you need help getting access to (FOIAs, etc.)?

- The amount of time you’d need to report.

- Ideal word count.

- What do you envision as the impact of your story?

Stories will be assigned in a word count range of up to 4,000 words. Journalists will be edited by staff at The Washington Post Magazine and will be compensated at competitive magazine rates. The issue will run sometime toward the end of the year.

Please send the pitch to mag_submissions@washpost.com by Friday, May 21. If your piece is chosen, we’ll get back to you by early June. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to mag_submissions@washpost.com.