Write for Us
Pacific Standard publications include a bimonthly print magazine and a daily website—PSmag.com—that put social and behavioral science research into lively, intelligent conversation with the news and the national debate. We are a great home for writers who can tell deeply reported, gripping tales while plumbing the intellectual, theoretical, and empirical context that surrounds them. We have a particular interest in stories covering economics, society and justice, education, and the environment. Our writers should want to make readers think about how society ticks—how individuals, institutions, cultures, families, and the like actually behave—and about why we do the things we do.
We are in search of:
At PSmag.com, we publish a variety of smart, fun stories—reported features, essays, columns, and more—that contain the qualities of the writing outlined below, but are particularly suited for our digital audience. That means we run multiple pieces every weekday that respond in some way to recent news and events and/or are especially shareable on the social Web. These pieces should aim to put us among the lively conversations happening every day online and contribute to our goal of becoming a must-visit daily destination site.
Our features take a number of forms: vividly reported stories or profiles that are deeply informed by interesting research; personal essays that ground sociological or cultural phenomena in lived experience; dispatches from the world of ideas, illuminating some new strand of research that promises to change the world or the way we look at it; or cogent, evidence-driven polemics that gleefully run against the grain of convention. And in whatever form, we love “conceptual scoops”—pieces that muster data, research, and reporting to powerfully reframe the reader’s grasp of an important but misunderstood subject.
These are short, 700- to 800-word, brightly and actively reported pieces that prize immediacy and immersion, either in a scene or an idea. The ideal Prospector deploys cinematic language, well-chosen quotes that impart a character’s voice, and tight narration. This is the place in the magazine where we want to give readers a sense of discovery—of stumbling upon an intimate scene. It’s also the place where we focus more on social and behavioral ideas that are “still in beta,” as tech people say. Subjects can be thinkers who are a little out there, new concepts that are outlandish but promising, or settings that are a little offbeat.
“The Five Studies You Need to Know About If You Want to Understand X:” This column consists of a short introduction, followed by five 150-word blurbs, each describing one salient finding from a piece of research. Together, the five studies should trace out an emerging new understanding of some important, popular subject. Ideally, the subject is timely, the studies are surprising and build on each other, and the writing is fun.
These two standing items in the magazine, each between 1,200 and 2,000 words, are reported essays that cohere around a strong argument or frame. They should give readers a new way to think about an economic topic or a cultural touchstone, and should be buttressed by an understanding of the social science literature that illuminates the subject.
We’re interested in critical essays that put books—one or multiple—in their most lively and relevant context. We aim to examine new works that fit loosely under the social and behavioral sciences rubric, or that can be analyzed from a social or behavioral science standpoint. Books under review can be popular or academic, provided they have value that can be harnessed for a broad lay audience. (Note: The magazine doesn’t publish consumer-oriented book reviews.)
LIFE IN THE DATA
Our back page consists of a short personal narrative essay about the interaction between a big social or behavioral pattern—be it demographic, psychological, economic, geographic, or cultural—and one’s own personal, lived experience. We’re not looking for reporting stunts; we’re looking for introspective autobiography and compressed, gemlike writing. Length: 700 words.
All Pacific Standard and PSmag.com articles should be sophisticated and engaging, should shed light on the new or the innovative, and should wear their erudition lightly. Writers receive careful, thoughtful, collegial, and stringent editing, with the aim of making sophisticated ideas and research accessible to an educated public. Queries are welcome via email; please direct print-specific pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org and Web-specific pitches to email@example.com.
Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy offer a one-year paid editorial fellowship, running from January through December. We are currently accepting applications for 2015.
The ideal Pacific Standard fellow is pursuing journalism as a career, has experience working in a deadline-oriented environment, and has an abiding interest in current affairs, as well as an understanding that academic research is vital to finding solutions for society’s most significant problems.
Our editorial fellow will work closely with several key members of our print and digital teams and gain valuable experience in magazine publishing.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
• Assist the editorial staff with story research, fact checking, and interviews for the bimonthly print, and daily online, magazine.
• Work closely with the digital staff to write well-executed online articles on a variety of research-based subjects.
• Gather materials—graphic, photographic, etc.—to accompany stories.
• Produce and publish articles and other features to the Website.
• Help with general office responsibilities such as print and online story production work, as assigned.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES
• A strong understanding, and willingness to learn, how to deeply research a variety of topics, and be objective when gathering information.
• Experience with various research tools such as Lexis/Nexis.
• Experience reporting and writing articles, either in print or online.
• Willingness to accept direction, and an ability to establish priorities, work independently, and proceed with multiple assigned objectives without close supervision.
Because our fellowship is full-time and one full year in length, it is not appropriate for matriculated students. The position pays a stipend of $400 per week.
Please email a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to strengthen your application with a writing sample and a potential story idea that fits what Pacific Standard is looking for, found here. All application materials should be submitted electronically. We cannot respond to all applicants. Absolutely no phone calls, please.
ABOUT PACIFIC STANDARD
Pacific Standard grapples with the nation’s biggest issues by illuminating what shapes human behavior. We examine the institutions, customs, psychological tendencies, and galvanizing ideas that define modern life, and we look for insights that will unlock a better future. Through our publications and events, we explore the science of society—focusing on economics, justice, education, and the environment—with a broad community of readers, contributors, and thought leaders. We believe in the power of cutting-edge empirical research to shed new light on human affairs. And we believe in the power of great storytelling to make vivid and persuasive what is otherwise abstract.
ABOUT THE MILLER-MCCUNE CENTER
The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Santa Barbara, California. As a private operating foundation, the Miller-McCune Center strives to not just inform, but also to promote meaningful dialogue by reporting, in clear and concise language, the latest and most relevant scientific research and innovations shaping the issues of the day. We satisfy the intellectually curious while arming business leaders, politicians, scientists, and other policymakers with the information and tools they need to work toward solutions to the most pressing issues.