Writers’ Guidelines

This Magazine welcomes queries. A good This Magazine article offers background and context to ongoing national issues, a challenge to the mainstream media perspective, or an important story that hasn’t been told elsewhere. Subject matter includes politics, culture, the arts, social issues, labour, feminism, indigenous issues, and sexuality, with a focus on quality writing and in-depth reportage.

Before you submit anything to the magazine, be sure you are familiar with its approach. Pay particular attention to writing style and content. Articles for This Magazine should have a journalistic approach, and be written in language simple enough to be comprehensible to a high school student, with enough research and insight to be interesting to a PhD. Assume that you’re talking to knowledgeable readers (because you are). We encourage writers to grapple with big ideas, but they must be conveyed with wit and style, avoiding artistic, journalistic, or academic jargon.

Things to note:

  • We do not accept submissions of previously published work or queries that are currently being considered by other publications.
  • We do not accept unsolicited completed manuscripts. We consider it important to be involved in shaping an article early in the editorial process, and so completed articles will be deleted unread. (This measure protects writers against leaving their completed work open to copyright infringement, and protects us against accusations of the same.)
  • We receive a high volume of article queries, and regret that we cannot guarantee a response in every case.
  • Our bimonthly publishing schedule means issues are planned months in advance. For instance, the January-February issue is in the planning stages throughout September and October, sometimes earlier; issue lineups are often finalized up to two months before the issue date. Please consider this when pitching stories tied to particular events or dates.

Features

A good This Magazine article offers background and context to ongoing Canadian issues, a challenge to the mainstream media perspective or an important story that hasn’t been told elsewhere. Our readership is Canada-wide, so local issues are only covered when they have national interest or implications. International stories must have a strong Canadian angle.

We love printing stories like:

  • Hard-hitting, investigative reports exposing government cover-ups, corporate malfeasance, scientific myopia, or institutional fraud or hypocrisy.
  • Thoughtful, provocative articles that challenge conventional wisdom concerning issues of national importance.
  • Timely, people-oriented stories on issues such as the environment, education, labour, feminism, native affairs, the media, health care and cultural trends.
  • Provocative satire exposing blinkered thinking on the left or right; revealing media blind-spots, skewering trends in pop culture, business culture etc.
  • In-depth, service-driven pieces offering practical information not generally available in the mainstream media.
  • Literary journalism, in which strong narrative, unique voice and compelling subject matter are paramount.

Generally, we are likely to favour stories that stake out strong positions, feature compelling characters, tell an untold story (or tell a well-known story from a novel perspective), and propose concrete solutions to pressing problems.

Send pitches and questions to editor at this dot org

This & That

Our front section provides readers with political inspiration and ammunition. Writing is sharp, stylish and alive with wit. Topics include: Canadian party politics/legislation, legal issues, labour, the environment, native affairs, social services, public policy, education, health care, foreign policy, defence, race/racism, youth, media, science, queer issues, feminism. To get a better sense of the type of stories we run in the This & That section, please check out our archives.

Keep in mind that our audience is national. Stories should be so important that they deserve support from progressives across the country; emblematic of struggles going on from coast to coast; evidence of a significant systemic problem; or demonstrate something that progressives across the country can learn from.

Word counts for This & That pieces are generally 300-400 words.

Story pitches should include or link to at least one writing sample and should detail which of the following departments the story should appear in:

  • Easily Missed: Know of an important Canadian news event/trend that’s being underreported or ignored by the mainstream press? Then give it some national exposure here.
  • Spotlight: Think of this space as a mini-profile on a particular cause, organization or idea.
  • This Issue We Have Strong Feelings On…: This department will highlight two people, organizations or causes; one we love and one we aren’t the least bit impressed with.
  • Progressive Detective: The return of the department that “investigates the politics behind everyday things” has readers submitting questions of a politically curious nature and us answering them.
  • Greenwashed: The place to find out if that new product is as earth-friendly as it claims to be.
  • List: From questionable legal loopholes to products you thought were good for you but aren’t, use this space for your thematic list of little-known facts.
  • Calculator: Have an idea that’s numbers-heavy? Then work out the math in this department.
  • Remember When….?: A look back at a particular promise made by a politician or company and how that promise was (or wasn’t) kept.
  • Whatever Happened To…?: From acid rain to brain drain, this department investigates the current status of a phenomenon we once heard a lot about but no longer do.
  • Graphic: Have an idea that lends itself best to a combination of images and text? Then is department is for you. Don’t worry, illustration skills are not required.

Send pitches and questions to news at this dot org

Arts & Ideas

This Magazine’s arts section covers Canadian independent artists and cultural issues overlooked by the mainstream press. The section provides readers with cultural inspiration and showcases the individuals who make independent culture happen in Canada. Writing is sharp, stylish and alive with wit. It should be interesting to art practitioners and enthusiasts, but accessible to the merely curious.

Subjects/topics covered include: independent and underground film, video, books, music, zines, websites, e-zines, dance, art, photography, performance art, theatre. Is it art? If you have to ask, it probably is. We like work that has a political edge, a cheeky sense of humour—or both. Keep in mind that our audience is national and stories and issues covered in the section should be timely.

Story pitches should include or link to at least one writing sample and should detail which of the following departments the story should appear in:

  • In Profile: A tiny polished gem of a profile of a working artist and their work, with an emphasis on the political and social message or context of what they do. Although the word count is short, In Profile gets a two-page spread, with a big visual, so the reader gets a close-up look at the artwork itself. (500 words)
  • Spotlight: The main arts feature in the magazine. (750 words)
  • Capsules: Shorter arts and culture articles. (300-400 words)
  • Read This: Reviews of independent and small-press novels, short-story collections, and poetry. (Lengths vary)

Send pitches and questions to arts at this dot org

Fiction & poetry

This Magazine now accepts submissions of poetry and fiction. Send no more than six poems or one story (maximum length: 2,000 words) at one time. We do receive a high volume of submissions. Please wait at least 12 weeks before e-mailing to check the status of your submission.

Send pitches and questions to to lit at this dot org.

Other things we don’t publish

This Magazine does not publish celebrity profiles, product reviews, crossword puzzles, word games, trivia quizzes, humour columns, horoscopes, academic theses, or predictable rants. These submissions will be discarded without reply. Nothing personal! We’re sure you’re all lovely people, but we just don’t publish that stuff.