Submissions Guidelines

The Open Notebook is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides tools and resources to help science, environmental, and health journalists at all experience levels sharpen their skills. We do this through story-behind-the-story interviews, reported features on craft, annotations, profiles, an advice column, a database of successful news and feature pitches, and more. Learn more about TON here.

Our capacity for assigning stories is limited, but we welcome pitches for story-behind-the-story interviews and reported features. We are committed to paying fair and competitive rates to all our contributors. We currently pay the following rates:

  • $750 for interviews (assigned at 1,500-2,000 words)
  • $1,000 for reported features (assigned at 1,500-2,000 words)


What We’re Especially Looking For

At present, we are working to build up a deeper inventory of articles that offer resources on the following topics:

  • Writing/editing science news stories
  • Investigative science reporting
  • Visual storytelling and multimedia in science journalism
  • Editing 

In addition, we are looking to build more comprehensive guidance for the following communities:

  • Journalists and editors who do not consider science to be their primary beat
  • Scientists who are making a transition to science journalism
  • Freelancers
  • Editors


Pitching The Open Notebook

Send a brief (no more than 500 words) query letter describing your idea, what makes it right for The Open Notebook, and how you plan to approach the story. Your pitch should explain why you think this story is important and how it goes beyond what has already been done on the subject, at TON or elsewhere. It should also describe the proposed story’s angle and key elements that the piece is likely to include, as well as sources that you may interview. Note that TON stories typically include a heavy focus on science journalism craft, so we expect writers to offer strategies and tools that people can take away and apply to their own work. Please also briefly describe your background/credentials and include links to a few pieces of your published work. If you’re pitching a story-behind-the-story Q&A interview, please provide some indication of why you think the story is noteworthy and what kinds of questions you’d like to raise with the writer. If your story lends itself to visual or multimedia treatments, describe what those are and whether you are able to provide them.

Please include your pitch in the body of your email (not as an attachment) and email it to

If you don’t receive a reply to your query after 10 days, please contact us by email to make sure we received the pitch.

We pay promptly upon acceptance of the final draft.


Last updated August 12, 2019