“A publisher of ‘best-in-class journalism about hidden places, incredible history, scientific marvels and gastronomical wonders,’ Atlas Obscura spotlights the weird and wonderful from around the globe.” July/August 2018, Writer’s Digest.
There are two main sections on Atlas Obscura: the Places database (a.k.a. “The Atlas”) and Stories, which is the home for reported articles.
If you are pitching us a write-up of a place that you have visited or heard about, it is probably most suited to be an entry in the Places database. These are crowd-sourced submissions that go through an editorial process before being published. You can read more on how to submit a Place entry here. We generally do not pay for place submissions.
For the Stories section, we are seeking original journalism. Stories that will surprise us and article ideas that would never have occurred to us but that we won’t be able to stop thinking and talking about. We pay for stories, at rates competitive with other online-only publications.
Our stories generally have at least two of the following three components:
A sense of place
An element of the hidden
A sense of wonder
Commissioned stories for Atlas Obscura are carefully researched, well-reported, and told from an original perspective. In general, the subjects we cover are history, science, culture, and exploration. But we are hungry for stories of all kinds, particularly from voices and places that are underrepresented. Currently we are especially seeking articles reported from China, Africa, and Central and Southeast Asia.
In addition, we have a handful of planned “theme weeks” for 2018, for which we’re currently soliciting pitches from outside writers. Stories published during these theme weeks will play off of the selected topic, in a variety of creative ways:
July 2018: Landmarks Week
October 2018: In Disguise Week
Things we can rarely use:
Pitches based on an unanswered question. If you’re going to make a question the basis of a story, we need to know you have the answer.
Articles that focus on supernatural events
Things we can never use:
“I’ll be in X location next week, what would you like me to cover?” (Please send specific story ideas!)
We are actively looking for and assigning articles now. Rates vary based on the assignment. The most successful pitches will include a sketch of the story, the characters, your access, and the big questions/surprising ideas you think the story offers. We will carefully read every pitch, and, if our curiosity is piqued, we’ll reach out to you.
Pitches consisting of a few paragraphs with basic info about the story idea, how you would execute it, and the sources you would use—no Wikipedia, please—should be emailed to pitches – at – atlasobscura.com
Plus: Special Focus on Food
Our food & drink vertical launched in November 2017. We are actively looking for and assigning articles aimed at Gastro Obscura. Rates vary based on the assignment.
Pitches—a few paragraphs, with basic info about the story idea and how you would execute it—should be emailed to gastro-pitches – at – atlasobscura.com. Please also include links to two articles that you have written and that you are proud of. They don’t have to be about food. And if you have a plan to take/find pictures and images for the article, let us know in your pitch. That makes it easier to say yes.