The truism ‘write what you know’ could have been talking about writing for city and regional magazines and publications. After all, who knows more about where you live and work than you do?
When you write what you know and pitch story ideas for publications focused on a specific city or region, it’s a a great way to break into magazine writing.
City and regional publications not only pay well, but also offer stability. Once you’re in and wow them with your writing, you could become a regular contributor.
Many choose to work with writers they’ve established a relationship with and know well. But they’re also looking for fresh perspectives and voices.
Write what you know. What if you could do that and make money writing? You can.
Pitch story ideas about where you live for these 19 city and regional magazines.
How to become a city or regional magazine writer
If you want to write for a city or regional magazine, you’ll need to pitch a great story idea with a query letter.
Here are three things that will help you land your next assignment..
- Strong Location Connection. City and regional magazines generally have a large readership, and one who knows their subject well. Your story idea needs a strong local connection.
- Study the magazine and its guidelines before pitching to make sure your story is a good fit. This can’t be repeated enough. Some magazines have short, basic guidelines for pitching while others have detailed guidelines down to the font and spacing required. Know before you send.
- Relevant Writing Samples. Not all magazines require this, but many do. Short on samples? Write what you know, and make a case for your journalism skills and knowledge of the city or region as part of your pitch.
TIP: Check your spelling. Make sure you’ve spelled the name of the magazine correctly as well as the editor’s name. You don’t want your email or pitch to go unread or declined because of a typo.
Founded in 2013, Belt Magazine aims to tell deeper stories of those who live and work in the Rust Belt and the Greater Midwest. Its founder’s hope is to make Belt Magazine an antidote to distorted representations of the area.
Accepts submissions and queries for:
- First-person essays
- Photo essays related to immigration/migration; arts and culture, housing and urban development; poverty and inequality; and industrial and post-industrial economies.
Tip: If you’re pitching a long form feature article, include “STORY PITCH” in the subject line, and if it’s a personal essay, write “ESSAY SUBMISSION”. Though poetry and photo essays are accepted, we’ll focus on articles here.
For feature story pitches include 2-3 clips along with your pitch which should include a strong sense of voice, major narratives it will address, and why it matters to Belt readers.
For first-person essays include a cover letter with a summary of your piece, a bit about yourself, and your connection to the subject in your email.
Contact: Send pitches or completed essays to Senior Editors Martha Bayne, email@example.com
Rate: Pay varies but is $100 – $200 for essays and $300 – $1,000 for features. They also pay for poetry $25 – $50 and photo essays $250+.
DeSoto Magazine is a monthly lifestyle publication focused on the five states of the Mid-South (primarily Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas).
Articles typically cover:
- Southern culture
- Human interest
Tip: Email an outline of your story pitch, completed essay, or sample of photo essay, including a source list, if any and 2-3 clips or links to your work along with a short bio.
Contact: Email Managing Editor Chere’ Coen firstname.lastname@example.org
Rates: Pay varies based on type of story and section and ranges from $50 – $240.
Down East is a monthly magazine for Mainers and anyone who has a Maine state of mind. Their aim is to showcase what makes Maine from its landscapes and traditions to its way of life.
Tip: The best way to break in is to write for their MY MAINE personal essay section.
This is the only section where it’s better to send in a completed manuscript. For other story ideas, pitch with a query letter.
Contact: Email Senior Editor Will Grunewald email@example.com
Rate: Pay varies but is typically $.60 and $.75 per word. My Maine essays are $400 flat.
Durango magazine is a bi-annual magazine for those who love and live in Durango, Colo.
- Area attractions
- Culture of the city and region.
Tip: If you’re looking to break into magazine writing and have your finger on the pulse of Durango, this may give you a solid start in the industry as most of their articles are freelance driven. Remember: Write what you know.
Contact: Email Editor Marianne Hoover firstname.lastname@example.org, attention: Editor.
Rate: $.50 word for established writers. New writers for the magazine are asked to write on spec.
High Country News is a monthly magazine focused on the twelve states in the West from Alaska to New Mexico as well as the tribal nations within the region.
Story ideas should connect with readers in showcasing the link between the people and the landscape of the region, whether it’s a first-person narrative or a reported piece.
When pitching, explain in two paragraphs:
- What you’ll be reporting or writing about
- Your access to sources
- What gives your story meaning
- Include “query” in the subject line and email to the appropriate editor below.
For front of book reportage, news, and analysis send pitches to the following desks:
Rate: Pay varies but is typically between $.25 and $1.50 per word. Essays are $400 flat.
Journey is AAA Washington and northern Idaho’s magazine for members. Articles may appear not only in the print magazine but also on the website.
They’re looking for writing that educates, entertains, and equips their readers with travel tips and guidance to choose and plan travel destinations in the area.
Though travel is the focus, they’ll also accept articles on technology, traffic, safety, and insurance.
Contact: Content Editor Victor Whitman at VictorWhitman@aaawa.com
Rate: Individually negotiated. New writers may be asked to write on spec.
Midwest Living is a bi-monthly lifestyle magazine focusing on:
This magazine can be found as far as Pennsylvania, but defines the Midwest as Minnesota to Michigan, and includes Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.
Pitches should include:
- An introduction about yourself and your writing background
- Your social media profiles such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.
- If you can include photos with your article
- Two to three ideas explained in a few sentences.
Tip: If you’re a new writer to the magazine begin with smaller pieces of interest such as a restaurant off-the-beaten path.
Contact: Email Staff Editor Jeff Hoffert at email@example.com
Rate: Pay varies. New writers can generally expect $150 for a short website article.
This monthly magazine covers all things Milwaukee. Their editors are looking for well-researched stories focused on:
- Current issues, personalities
- Urban life
Milwaukee Magazine covers all things Milwaukee. Write what you know, or talk to people who do. If your story doesn’t have a Milwaukee connection, don’t pitch it.
In your pitch:
- Explain what makes your idea different and interesting
- Include samples of relevant work
- Write a brief pitch explaining why your idea is different, newsworthy, and interesting for readers.
Rates: Pay is per-word and varies based on experience and skill.
Nebraska Life Magazine is a general-interest magazine focused on all things Nebraska. It’s focus is the cultures and communities who call Nebraska home.
Nebraska Life is looking for stories about:
- Issues, and
…that have had a profound effect on the state as told through the lens of photography, art, literature, photo essays, poetry, and more.
Send well-developed queries:
- In one-page or less with specific hooks
- Provide details about the story angle, the season
- Identify sources you’ll interview
Tip: if you’re trying to break in, introduce yourself including your background and clips or credentials along with your query.
Contact: Email Christopher Amundson, publisher.
Rate: $.20 per word for articles 400 – 3,000 words.
Oklahoma Today is a regional bimonthly magazine focused on the best of Oklahoma.
If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of Oklahoma from its art and culture, architecture, and business to its country stars, food, travel, and more, pitch a story idea or send in your manuscript.
Tip: The best way to break into this magazine is to write a completed story and send it in on spec. Though queries are accepted, too.
Contact: Email Karlie Ybarra, Managing Editor.
Rate: $.25 per word
Oregon Coast Magazine is a bimonthly magazine covering the Oregon coast, its attractions, sites, and travel adventures for the family.
Articles typically cover topics such as:
- First-person adventures
- Backroads and byways
- Beachcombing adventures
- Profiles of coastal residents
- Historical events or sites
- One-day driving tours
- Restaurant features
- Walking tours, and more.
Tip: Be clear, specific, informative, and vivid in your writing, and walk readers through the particulars of how to get to a featured destination, opening and closing times, and other nearby areas of interest.
If you’re trying to break in, include writing samples. If the editors like what they see, they’ll ask for the completed piece on spec.
Contact: Email Managing Editor Emily Kolkemo firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rate: Pays up to $650 depending on assignment.
Established in 1933, this magazine focuses on the state of North Carolina and the people, places, culture, and history that define it.
Write what you know. If you love the Tar Heel state, whether you’re from there or just love to visit, they’re always looking for articles to connect with visitors and locals.
Tip: Send your story query to the editor in 1-2 paragraphs. If it’s your first time writing for Our State, include writing samples.
Contact: Email Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Hudson at email@example.com
Rate: Pay varies and is paid upon publication. Fees agreed when the story is assigned.
Ruralite is a monthly general-interest publication from the rural electric cooperatives in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, California and Montana.
The editors are especially interested in:
- Human-interest features. These types of stories are the cornerstone of the magazine. Must be relevant to their membership of rural and small-town residents interested in the people, places, and issues that affect their lives and communities.
Tip: In your query letter, begin with a sample lead and a brief outline for the rest of the story. Give source and photo possibilities.
Contact: Send detailed pitches to Editorial Director Mike Teegarden, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rate: Individually negotiated.
Seven Days is a free independent newsweekly covering the people, places, culture, and more of Vermont.
If you’re new to writing for Seven Days, write an article on spec. Be sure it’s carefully edited, as it’s most likely to be run as-is if accepted. Most articles are assigned to freelancers.
Contact: Email Paula Routly, Editor/Publisher at email@example.com.
Rates: Pay varies but average is $75 – $300+ for assigned stories.
Texas Highways is a lifestyle magazine for Texans who travel or those who are interested in traveling to and through the state.
Articles typically focus on:
- Scenic routes
- Ethnic beauty of the people and places that make up Texas
Tip: Pitch stories ideas about small towns and hidden gems, rather than major cities. Send pitches with a historical focus, strong sense of place, or with a travel angle along with at least three links or clips to your work.
Contact: All pitches should be emailed to Senior Managing Editor Matt Joyce firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rate: $0.50 per word
Texas Monthly is a monthly magazine that covers all things Texas and with a direct Texas connection. Though the focus is Texas, this magazine has a national readership.
The editors are looking for well-researched, well-reported stories about the Lone Star State.
What surprising angle, new perspective or twist does your story have on topics as broad as Texas?
- Arts and culture
- Food and drink
- Travel and outdoors
- News and politics
- Style, and design, and…
- What it means to be Texan.
If you’re trying to break in, pitch shorter pieces of 2,500 words or for the digital version of the magazine. When pitching, include a description of your story, steps you’ll take to report it, and a bit about you.
Rate: $1 per word for print
This quarterly magazine covers southern Vermont and New York and New Hampshire southern border towns.
Think of it as the Vermont and neighboring states’ version of Southern Living. As the only magazine of its kind in the region, it shines a light on sophisticated country living and living “the good life.”
Pitch articles on:
- Innovators and entrepreneurs
- Cultural mavens
- Arts and culture
- Profiles of artists and artist couples
- Farm life
Contact: Please send queries and ideas to Lynn Barrett, 1484 Middle Road, Dummerston Center, VT 05301—or by email to email@example.com.
Rates: Individually negotiated.
Washingtonian is a general interest magazine for the city of Washington, D.C.
Pitch story ideas about:
- True crime
Tip: In your pitch, provide a brief explanation of what you want to write about, its benefit to their readers, and why you’re the writer for the piece.
Yankee covers New England and its surrounding states with articles focused on what’s happening in the region today.
If you’re trying to break in, read The 5 Best, Surefire Ways to Break Into Yankee first.
Personal essays related to the New England experience are accepted, but topics typically include guides, articles, and long-form reporting on home, food, and travel.
Tip: Include “submission” in the subject line along with links to previously published work when pitching.
Contact: Email Editor Mel Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rate: Individually negotiated.
Write what you know: Pitch city & regional publications
While this list should give you a good start, consider the publications you see in your area.
- Is there a daily newspaper or magazine you pick up?
- Is there a magazine found in local hotspots that focus on your area?
These can be great places to get paid to write what you know about an area you love.
Find city and regional publications
Don’t see a city or regional publication for your area on this list?
- Google it. Enter keywords and phrases such as “your city or region” + “submission guidelines” or “write for us”
- Join Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and see if there are requests from your city or regional publications.
- Check social channels. For example, Twitter is another good place as more and more editors are starting to post requests for articles there, but be mindful of the dates.
Before you send a query letter or pitch to a magazine…ask yourself these questions:
- Has this topic been covered before in the last few years?
- What’s a fresh angle?
- What perspective will your knowledge bring?
- Is there a direct connection to the location?
- Why are you the one to write the article?
Write what you know. Get to know your city or region and the people who live there better. And get paid to do it.
Do you write for city or regional magazines? Tell us about it in the comments.
Lisa Street Rogers is a ghostwriter and freelancer based in Cleveland, Ohio.