Please read the following guidelines carefully before pitching us

Journalists and writers are encouraged to pitch original news stories and analyses to Shadowproof. We seek fact-based reporting that involves original source materials and the perspectives of impacted people.

Our goal is to support freelancers in a tough economy where media jobs are in decline and working conditions are poor. We will do our best to give a platform to those who are struggling and underrepresented.

Shadowproof is especially interested in working with journalists who are skilled at obtaining public documents through open records laws at the state and federal level. We will be happy to discuss reimbursing you for production costs for documents (in addition to paying you for your story).

How To Pitch Shadowproof

Please send pitches only—not finished drafts—to Alternatively, you may pitch us by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.

Incarcerated journalists can pitch us via an outside supporter or loved one, or by writing to us directly at:

FDL Media Group
PO Box 117
Cumberland Center, ME 04021-0117

Your pitch should include:

  • Subject line beginning with: “PITCH:”
  • 1-2 paragraph summary of the story
  • Any relevant details about your experience as a journalist and why you are reporting or covering this story
  • If possible, a few sentences about the style of the story, how long you expect the story to be, and whether you plan to incorporate any original media (photos, infographics, video, etc.)
  • What kind of work you plan to put into creating the piece (interviews, research, document requests, etc.)
  • A writing sample if you haven’t been previously published by Shadowproof.
  • How much money you’d like to be paid for your piece. Shadowproof does not have a standard rate and we do not base compensation on word count. Instead, we would like to know what you think is fair compensation for the story and the reporting you put into it.

Editorial Preferences

If you’re wondering whether your story might be right for Shadowproof, we encourage you to browse some of the reporting we’ve published from other writers.

Our coverage is generally focused on the United States, where we are based.

With limited exceptions, we do not publish personal essays, editorials, or first-person narratives.

We are a movement-focused publication, and we are looking for stories that center the voices of people directly impacted by the issue at hand. As a result, we expect pitches to include information on the voices you plan to feature within the piece.

In addition to who you plan to interview, we want to hear about the work you plan to put in the piece. What research do you need to do? Are you requesting documents or attending a demonstration? Share your plans with us.

We publish reporting on a wide range of subjects, including (but not limited to):

  • Policing, incarceration, and criminalization
  • Labor activism
  • Harm reduction
  • Climate change
  • Environmental justice movement

  • Immigration
  • Health care and the social safety net
  • Corporate corruption/crime
  • Income Inequality
  • Money in politics

What happens after I pitch a story?

Shadowproof attempts to respond to every pitch we receive with a clear decision. However, sometimes we fall short of this goal. Unless the story is extremely time-sensitive, we encourage you to follow up with us if you haven’t received a response within a week of pitching.

A Shadowproof editor will consider your pitch. If your pitch is approved, we’ll share information on our process, our style guidelines, and work with you to establish a deadline.

Shadowproof has a collaborative editorial process in which we encourage your active participation. We’re here to help you at every stage along the way, and you will have the opportunity to review, discuss, and approve our edits before publication.

Shadowproof supports all paid contributions by featuring them prominently on our homepage and sharing them widely on social media. Occasionally, we’ll also invite authors to participate in community activities with us, like Q&A’s.

Unless all parties involved have made an agreement stating otherwise, we pay writers on the day of publication.

If we reject your pitch, we encourage you to revisit our guidelines and review the reporting we have published in the past, and try again. We’re open to brainstorming ideas with you as well.

    Pitch us a story

    All fields are required.


    Email address

    1-2 paragraph summary of your pitch

    Please include links to recent writing samples.

    When do you expect to turn in a first draft?

    Do you plan to incorporate any original media?

    Photos, infographics, video, etc.

    How much do you want to be paid?

    Prove you're a human

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