Writer’s Guidelines

Though much of our content is assigned by editors, we do welcome pitches. Here are a few rules of thumb for pitching CHR:

  1. We cover health and health policy only as it affects the health of disadvantaged communities and vulnerable people, such as low-income communities, people who rely on Medi-Cal for health insurance, people of color, formerly incarcerated people and victims of domestic violence. For a fuller picture of what we cover, please read the site, and familiarize yourself with our publication before pitching.
  2. We cover California, and though our stories are often set in a particular region or city, successful pitches explain why the proposed story will have a statewide interest.
  3. We expect stories to have a news hook or other compelling reason for why we should publish them now.
  4. Pitches should be a few paragraphs long and reflect some pre-reporting. One of the most important aspects of this pre-reporting is finding a person who is willing to share their story about the issue you’re reporting on. We won’t assign a story about a doctor shortage, for instance, if you haven’t already lined up a patient who has had trouble finding a doctor. Please also include the other sources you plan to interview and any data you’ll use in the story.
  5. If we’ve never worked with you, please include some information about your experience as a journalist and links to your work.

Also important to note: we’ll expect your story to follow the assignment we approved, so please be sure that you can deliver the story as described in your pitch, and contact your editor right away if there are any glitches in the reporting process. In cases where the story can’t be completed as assigned because, for instance, a key source fell through, we pay a kill fee of $150.

We also expect people who write for us to meet their deadlines. We grant extensions on a case-by-case basis, but we need to know in advance if your story will be late. Stories turned in past deadline without the editor’s approval may be killed without payment.

We pay .75 cents per assigned word, and most of our stories are assigned at 1,000 words.

Our email for pitches is submissions@calhealthreport.org. We check it every day and read every pitch. We try to reply to all emails, but sometimes we fall short of that goal. If you don’t hear from us in about a week it’s safe to assume your story isn’t right for us.

We look forward to hearing from you.
The Editors

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