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Information for freelance writers
The Twin Cities Daily Planet accepts stories from freelance writers in several different ways. The list below describes the most common ways that we get stories from freelance writers or audio and video producers. We only pay for stories that are assigned by a Daily Planet editor, by e-mail, with focus and length and payment specified ahead of time. Anyone can propose (pitch) a story. Our priorities for assigned stories at this time are articles about education and education policy, environment, immigration and immigrant communities, and health care policies.
Contact an editor at editor [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net (Mary Turck, for stories not primarily concerning the arts) or jay [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net (Jay Gabler, for stories primarily concerning the arts).
We value the contributions of citizen journalists, and their commitment to helping to cover important community news. If you would like to gain experience in reporting and writing, we will suggest possible topics and offer editorial guidance and mentoring. We encourage all prospective writers to join us at one of our regular Newsroom Cafe meetings, where we can meet in person and talk about the many ways you can get involved with the Daily Planet. See our classes page for a complete schedule of upcoming Newsroom Cafe meetings.
Unsolicited (unpaid) - Anyone can submit a story on any topic, and we choose whether or not to publish it. The story may be published anywhere: for example, in the Free Speech Zone or a neighborhood page, a section page (e.g. food and restaurants), or as a blog post.
Unsolicited stories may be reporting or opinion articles. We do not pay for unsolicited stories (except for Neighborhood Notes). Examples might include reporting on a special event in your neighborhood, a review of your favorite restaurant, or a story about a project that your neighborhood association sponsors.
Neighborhood Notes - Neighborhood Notes are updates about what's happening in Twin Cities neighborhoods, submitted by our volunteer neighborhood correspondents (and neighborhood residents), and not edited by the TC Daily Planet. You can read examples of Neighborhood Notes here. Neighborhood Notes are paid at the rate of $10, for notes that have original writing about events in the community. For full description, see Neighborhood Correspondents description.
Arts reviews - We value citizen journalists' opinionated (but fair and accurate) reflections on plays, concerts, books, and other artistic productions of local relevance. We are able to pay $10 for a 400-word review of a play, book, or art exhibit, and we are often able to secure free admission to events or free press copies of books or recordings for reviewers. We are also pleased to publish reviews and photos of music concerts, though at this time our budget does not allow us to pay for that content. We only pay for reviews that are assigned by the editor, in writing, with focus and length and payment specified ahead of time.
Short assignments - These are assignments made by the editor. Payment is generally $20-50 for a 200-400 word story. Our expectation is that the writer will gather information from one or two sources, including press releases and telephone interviews. We only pay for stories that are assigned by the editor, in writing, with focus and length and payment specified ahead of time.
Feature assignments - These are longer assignments, made by the editor, for stories based on significant original reporting (site visit, interviews, research, etc). Payment is generally $100 for an 800-word story. We only pay for stories that are assigned by the editor, in writing, with focus and length and payment specified ahead of time. Generally, feature assignments will be made to writers whose work and ability to meet deadlines is known to the editor.
Enterprise and investigative reporting: These are more complex stories that will require substantial research. Payment will be negotiated at the time of assignment. The Empowerment Zone series is an example of this kind of story.
Minnesota Voices: Minnesota Voices is a TC Daily Planet feature that highlights individuals from many different places in our community. They are not just the usual voices who are quoted in news stories and appear on editorial pages (though those people may appear from time to time), but artists, business owners, community organizers, teachers, and more. For more information on writing a Minnesota Voices article, click here.
PHOTOS: We treat photos the same way we treat writing: we value all contributors and will consider all submissions of photos relevant to Twin Cities communities. We sometimes assign photo coverage as standalone reporting or to accompany written reporting; payment for assigned photo shoots will be negotiated at time of assignment.
- Every writer must register with TC Daily Planet and include a brief bio note. We strongly encourage writers to include a photo and email address in their user profile. The user profile generates a writer page, with the author's photo, bio, and list of stories published. All contributors must use their actual names: we do not publish writing or photographs under pseudonyms.
- All stories should preferably feature an image and/or, where appropriate, multimedia.
- All stories should include a complete list of sources and contact information. If information has come from Web sites, include the URLs.
COPYRIGHT: When the TC Daily Planet accepts a story for publication, we also may send it to our community media partners for their use, without further payment to the author. EXCEPT FOR THIS SHARING WITH COMMUNITY MEDIA PARTNERS, the copyright remains with the author. Any other (non-media partner) requests for republication permission are referred to the author.
PAYMENT FOR ASSIGNED STORIES:
- Before writing an assigned story, complete the writer's agreement and a W-9 form (available on-line www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf) and return to TC Daily Planet, 2600 E. Franklin, Minneapolis, MN 55406.
- After writing the story, send an invoice by e-mail to editor [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net, using the invoice form.
- Invoices are paid after the15th and 30th of each month. You can expect to receive payment within about a week of the pay date after you have submitted the invoice. If you do not, something has gone wrong, and you should contact us.
Payment for Neighborhood Notes?
Neighborhood Notes are not assigned stories. As a neighborhood correspondent, you can post a note at any time, without checking with the editor. Neighborhood Notes are not edited stories. We are currently paying $10 for each Neighborhood Note. We will continue making payments as long as we have money to do so. The forms and instructions for invoicing and payment are found in this Google doc. All invoices must be sent within 30 days of submitting the Neighborhood Note.