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Gothamist Seeks Pitches for Long-Form Journalism

With the growing popularity of tweets and blog posts and 30-second webisodes, many journalists have lamented the shrinking demand for long-form journalism. You know, those meaty, 8,000-word features that give a reporter the rare to chance to really craft a narrative, immersing the reader in carefully chosen, meticulously researched details.

Well, dear readers, now’s your chance to sink your teeth into a juicy assignment.

Now through Monday, October 31, Gothamist is accepting pitches for long-form, nonfiction features that will run between 5,000 and 10,000 words. The initial payment for the feature is $3,500, but according to their call for submissions, the profit split is 50/50 once they recoup initial costs. The call for submissions also says they’ll review pitches on any subject, but they believe stories involving crime or other mysteries especially lend themselves to this format.

Gothamist released its first feature as an ebook last month, a 13,000-word insider’s account of a rape trial written by juror Patrick Kirkland. Kirkland’s feature, Confessions of a “Rape Cop” Juror, is $1.99 and available for download in several platforms: Kindle, iBooks, ePub, and PDF.

Kirkland says he was fortunate that the timing of Gothamist’s first call for submissions coincided with the completion of the controversial trial. “I had a story sitting in my hands and I already knew I wanted to tell it and that I could probably do it in an interesting way,” he explains. (Kirkland had a full-time copywriting job at the time, so he’d write and research between 5 and 7:30 am each morning.)

Using his memory of the trial (jurors were not allowed to take their notes), the memories other jurors, and courtroom transcripts, Kirkland sliced together what he describes as a three-act story, cutting from the jury room to the courtroom noir-style. “I wanted to pitch it as a story, not somebody trying to clear their conscience,” he adds. That approach apparently worked, and Kirkland believes his pitch was chosen because of his focus on storytelling versus commentary.

Although Kirkland was fortunate to have a front row seat to a compelling courtroom drama, he encourages other writers to pitch stories of their own. “I strongly encourage anybody who thinks they possibly have an interesting story, even if there’s just a nugget, to piece it together and pitch,” he says. “It’s great to get that kind of space for a story. And on top of that, their network is huge. I’ve gotten a lot of conversations that I don’t know if I would have had otherwise.”

For more information, check out Gothamist’s call for submissions.

Image courtesy of graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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