Before writing for African Arguments, we strongly encourage you to read the following guidance.
- 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?
- Do you have a word limit?
- Should I pitch an idea or submit a draft?
- How should I contact you?
- When will I hear back?
- 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?
Can I write for you?
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!
What issues do you cover?
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 .
What kinds of articles do you publish?
We publish a wide range of formats, including: news analysis, oped, features, essays, investigations, long reads, interviews, listicles, photo essays, and more.
Who is your audience?
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.
What do you look for in an article?
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:
- 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.
Do you have a word limit?
The average length of our articles is approximately 1,000 words. However, we are open to longer word counts if articles are exceptionally well-written, engaging, and original.
Should I pitch an idea or submit a draft?
We are happy to receive both. Each approach has its pros and cons, but ultimately it’s up to you.
How should I contact you?
If your pitch is related to climate change, please email Managing & Climate Editor James Wan at [email protected]. For other topics, contact Politics & Society Editor Parselelo Kantai at [email protected]. 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?
When will I hear back?
We endeavour to respond promptly to emails, but due to the large numbers of pitches and submissions we receive daily, we are unfortunately unable to respond to every proposal. If you do not hear back from us after a week, please assume that your pitch/submission is not suitable for us at this time.
How long does the process take?
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).
Do you pay?
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.
Do you only publish exclusives?
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.
Can other outlets republish my published article?
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(s).
- 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.
Can I write for the Debating Ideas sub-section?
This sub-section is separately run. To submit to it or for more information, contact Raga Makawi at: debateideas@