Before writing for African Arguments, we strongly encourage you to read the following guidance. If you have any further questions, please contact James Wan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Can I write for you?
- What issues do you cover?
- What kinds of articles do you publish?
- Who is your audience?
- What do you look for in an article?
- Should I pitch an idea or submit a draft?
- How should I contact you?
- How long does the process take?
- Do you pay?
- Do you only publish exclusives?
- Can other outlets republish my published article?
- Can I write for the Debating Ideas sub-section?
We prioritise writers of African descent based on the continent, but we are open to articles from anyone so long as they meet our high editorial standards!
We cover all kinds of topics including politics, social issues, economics, development, gender, the environment and culture. However, we’re not interested in articles just generally about a topic. We want original angles into interesting subject matters, stories, arguments, though-provoking analysis .
We don’t tend to publish straight-up news or typical reviews. We mostly publish news analysis, opinion pieces, features and essays. We also publish investigations, interviews, listicles, photo essays and some other formats.
The majority of our readers are based in Africa, but we also have hundreds of thousands of readers in the Americas and Europe. Our audience is pan-African, diverse and intelligent but non-specialist.
The Internet is full of articles so you must make yours worth the reader’s time and attention. We look to publish articles that go deep, make an original argument or explore under-reported angles. We like pieces that find ways to shine a new light on familiar topics or that take a news story but go further by asking who, what, where and why.
Among other things, your article should be:
- 800-1,000 words long (very occasionally exceptions are made)
- Engagingly written: Your piece must draw the reader in and keep their attention. Storytelling and quotes can help bring a story alive.
- Clear and accessible: Avoid technical language or jargon; avoid repetition; put yourself in the reader’s shoes and make sure it is easy to read and understand.
- Accurate and evidenced: Check, double-check and triple-check your facts. Include hyperlinks to other sources. Speak to people to verify things or draw on their expertise.
- Interesting and relevant: No story is inherently interesting or relevant. You must make it so, such as by bringing the issue alive through characters and stories that make the reader care, or by explaining the bigger picture and implications of the issues for the reader.
We are happy to receive both (though we won’t be able to read drafts longer than 1,500 words). Each approach has its pros and cons, but ultimately it’s up to you.
Please email James Wan at email@example.com. Whether pitching or submitting, make sure you tell us:
- Who you are: Are you a journalist, a researcher, an insider with a scoop? Have you published before (in which case please send a couple of examples)? Where are you based and who are you in relation to the story?
- Why your pitch/submission is interesting and relevant: What’s the topic? Who will be interested? Why now?
- How your particular approach adds value to existing coverage: What is different or better about your approach? Why will people read your piece rather than someone else’s? What’s the shape of the article? Who have you interviewed? What research have you done?
- Why you are the best person to write it: Of all the journalists, experts and writers out there, why are you best placed to write this piece?
It varies depending on a range of factors. We’ve published timely pieces that fulfil our requirements within hours of receiving them. And we’ve worked with writers on essays or investigations that require more reflection and exploration over several weeks.
On average, it takes 1-2 weeks to go from first draft to publication but this varies depending on the timeliness of the subject matter. We aim to respond to emails within 2-4 working days (and tend to reply quicker to contributors who are open, responsive and follow the guidance).
We have a limited budget. As such, we prioritise our funds to commission African journalists based in Africa, though we can also offer a fee to many other writers. We are hugely grateful to writers who can contribute voluntarily (for example because they don’t rely on their writing to making a living, have permanent paid positions, their work has already been funded by other sources, etc).
For paid articles, fees vary based on the kind of article and time/resources it will take to complete.
The vast majority of our articles are exclusively written for us. We work closely with our writers and think producing original content is the best use of our limited time and resources.
We occasionally co-publish pieces with other outlets. We very occasionally re-publish articles if we think they are particularly brilliant and that we will be bringing them to a completely new audience.
We publish on a Creative Commons licence that allows others to republish our articles on the conditions that they:
- Include a clear attribution to the author.
- Include a clear attribution to African Arguments with a link to the original (“This article was originally published on African Arguments [link to original]”).
- It is published for non-commercial reasons.
- The text is not changed.
- The article is free to read.
This sub-section is separately run. To submit to it or for more information, contact Raga Makawi at: debateideas@