How to Pitch Motherboard
A brief guide to writing for Motherboard.
Illustration by Che Saitta-Zeltermann.
Updated October 2018
We're constantly looking for new talent, inquisitive minds, engaging features, and in-depth investigations, and stunty, weird ideas. A lot of people tell us they're interested in writing for Motherboard, but very few of them actually follow up with pitches.
With that in mind, we put together a few guidelines for how to pitch and write for us—whether you want to do a 300 word blog post or a feature. (This page is for prospective writers; if you are a source who may have an interesting story to share with us, please check out the guide to contacting Motherboard securely.)
Motherboard cares about how science and technology change the lives of real people. We especially love stories about how science and tech are shaping specific communities around the world and online. Motherboard is focused on a few core topics:
Tech Populism: We cover the fight for access to and democratization of technology including broadband access, ownership and DIY, cryptocurrency, and alternative governance structures. The right to repair battle, deepfakes, hacking, copyright law, and decentralization are all examples of topics that fall into this category.
Far Future: Motherboard is interested in science fiction and speculative fiction, as well as exploring what life will look like for humans on Earth and in space a decade, a century, and a thousand years from now. We are also interested in the things that are happening now that threaten (or could improve) our shared future. A lot of our science coverage falls into this bucket.
Power in Tech: We are interested in inequality in tech, how new technologies are disproportionately used to entrench traditional power structures (i.e. against people who are historically vulnerable and marginalized), and how big tech uses its largesse to entrench power politically and economically. We are particularly interested in stories about companies that are fundamentally changing how we interact with each other and live our daily lives, like Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, and Uber.
The News: Motherboard loves to cover the news. If you are paying attention to the day's biggest news, get in touch with an angle or scoop on what people are talking about. We are also interested in science explainers and news coverage.
Most importantly: Tell us something we don't know, or that you're extremely passionate about. Motherboard's most successful stories are ones that delve deep into individual communities or tell us how some niche concern has broader implications for all of us. What are people talking about on your favorite subreddits or forums? Is there beef in the DIY drone community? How does a local or state law threaten to spread to the rest of the country or world? Have you found DRM somewhere it shouldn't be? Motherboard seeks to amplify the people fighting for a better future and explain how those entrenched in power threaten that future.
How to pitch Motherboard:
Email us a tentative headline, a couple of sentences about the story and who you plan to talk to, a proposed word count, and a deadline. We are also happy to accept pitches via Twitter DM.
A pitch should look like this:
Headline: A Massive Ransomware 'Explosion' Is Hitting Targets All Over the World
In this story I will explain the WannaCry malware that is currently infecting computers all around the world and why it's spreading so quickly. I'll have quotes from Costin Raiu, director of global research and analysis team at Kaspersky, and a representative from one of the affected hospitals.
Word Count : 500
Deadline : Tuesday 5/16
Other tips for pitching:
- Provide evidence—hard data, documents, whatever you need to make your case.
- Think visually. Motherboard is happy to pay photographers, illustrators, and photo agencies, but you should know what images you need to make your writing sing when you pitch.
- Read Motherboard. We can talk about what we're looking for all day, but the best way to find out is to read the site!
- We are unlikely to accept a feature or investigative feature from someone we've never worked with before who also hasn't published many articles elsewhere. We prefer to start with straightforward stories and work our way up from there. We're more likely to accept a quick blog post from a first-time freelancer than a deeply reported feature until we're familiar with your writing and reporting style.
Pitch us at:
Editor-in-Chief: firstname.lastname@example.org (also feel free to pitch via Twitter DM)
Managing Editor: email@example.com
Features Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Projects Editor: email@example.com
Assistant Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canada Editor: email@example.com
Read more on the About Motherboard page.