Thanks for your interest in writing for JTA! Here’s a guide to what we’re looking for in reported stories. (If you want to submit an op-ed, here’s how.)
Explain yourself clearly: Take a couple of paragraphs to guide us through the significance of your idea, and don’t assume we know all about the organizations, key players and news developments included in it. One line or a link to a press release isn’t enough. If your pitch is crisp, specific and well-written, that will add to your chances of having it accepted!
Please don’t wait until you’ve completed a story to reach out. We want to connect with you in the ideas stage so we can give feedback to help you serve our audience.
Emphasize the Jewish angle: Our mission is to cover issues of Jewish concern around the world. So your pitch should make clear why your story would appeal to Jewish readers or add to knowledge of the Jewish world. Could your pitch work just as well for a general-audience outlet as for us? If so, you probably want to flesh the Jewish angle out a bit more.
Indicate a time peg: Most successful pitches will have some connection to news events or trends. Please indicate any time peg for your story clearly in your pitch, and give us as much advance notice as possible for stories with hard time pegs. If your idea is tied to an event or development that can be planned for, it’s best to pitch at least a few weeks in advance.
Don’t scoop yourself: We want to tell fresh stories, so we aren’t looking to rerun pieces that have run elsewhere. We also want a chance to make a decision about your pitch without having to worry that editors at another news organization are considering it as well. So wait for a reply from us before sending it elsewhere. (We’re a small team, so if we don’t respond right away, that doesn’t mean we’re not interested. If you feel like you need a response, gentle nudges are allowed!)
What we’re especially interested in right now
International and local U.S. coverage: We’re especially interested in feature stories that offer a window into specific, local Jewish communities, tailored to an audience that may be completely unfamiliar with those places.
We’re looking for writers based in locations we rarely or never cover who can regularly pitch articles on the communities in their areas and stay on top of local Jewish news. Start with one story, but if the experience goes well, we’ll want to continue to work with you.
Some examples of great local reporting we’ve run:
- As a gunman loomed outside their synagogue, Jews in Halle kept praying
- In repressive Myanmar, a tiny Jewish community hangs on to the past
- Novelty socks, HD cameras, an online film fest: How Toronto Jews are keeping traditions going during the pandemic
Arts and culture: We are interested in smart, original takes on pop culture topics and articles that capture specific cultural trends. We’re most interested in arts and culture angles that haven’t appeared elsewhere, and the most successful pitches are strengthened with original reporting.
We do have a limited capacity for arts and cultures stories though, and we aren’t looking for traditional reviews of any kind, for books, movies, museum exhibits, etc. There is also a high bar for profiles of individual artists.
Here are a few good examples:
- ‘Keeping the Faith’ is 20 years old. Rabbis and priests look back at the interfaith romcom that was ahead of its time.
- Is the ‘Veep’ character Sherman Tanz an anti-Semitic caricature?
- Roma, the Mexico City setting of Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar frontrunner, used to be a Jewish neighborhood
How to contact us
Email your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org, with a specific (but still scannable) subject line.