How to Pitch Study Hall

WHO WE ARE


Study Hall is a digital publication and online community by and for media workers. While “media workers” is a broad category and so is our scope, we maintain a foundational focus on freelance journalists (although our readers include staff writers, editors, journalism students, etc).

We usually publish stories about media work and journalism, specifically ones that treat workers as central to the story rather than an afterthought. Our service content debunks common myths about the media industry and provides writers with a baseline for starting their freelance practice.

We also host panels, talks, seminars, and workshops featuring speakers who present on topics ranging from contract negotiation, branded content, landing an agent, and investigative reporting. In sum, our events explore how collective approaches to education, labor organizing, and knowledge sharing can upturn the otherwise exploitative media industry.

WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR


We publish, broadly, writing and reporting on media work. We’re also open to writing and multimedia projects that don’t necessarily center the industry as such but instead topics of interest to very online, increasingly jaded media workers: digital culture, making a living in the death throes of late capitalism, the influencer economy and its intellectual detractors, structural inequity in creative communities, Slack microaggressions, what your parents think you do for work.

We also believe that media workers, even (or especially) those without glamorous columnist positions or prestigious staff jobs, are uniquely positioned to assess what’s going on with regard to the industry as a whole. We welcome analysis and reporting on industry shifts, deep dives into the events, systems and people that have brought us to our current moment, and perspective on what’s next.

We want to know how media workers make and understand money, how they value and conceptualize their labor, what makes them stay in an unstable and sometimes hostile industry, and what, if anything, the media industry can teach us about the developing labor crisis.

We like voicey and original writing so long as it’s not gimmicky, and we’re open to ideas that we haven’t thought of yet or aren’t included here. We aren’t formal or hung up on convention, but remain hung up on quality of reporting and analysis. We like sharp thinkers with a point of view who are open to exploring new ways of conveying information.

Some of our (service) content is paywalled for subscribers only; the majority of our content is not. We pay on time (JustWorks or PayPal) and endeavor to respond to every pitch, although sometimes that isn’t possible. Accepted pitches usually go through at least one round of edits, very often more.

Types of Study Hall Stories


Blogs

Generally between 800 and 1000 words, blog posts are informal writing often based in personal experience. They flesh out an aspect of media work or the larger media infrastructure. Wry observations from the content mines, reflections on what you’ve learned from experience, or subjective musings on digital workplaces that don’t fit anywhere else all go here. Blogs generally pay between $300-350. Send pitches to pitches@studyhall.xyz.

Essays

Essays are longer, more structured and more formal in their inquiry than blogs, although a conversational tone is fine; roughly up to 2000 words. Personal essays reflecting on lived experience related to media work are great, as is cultural criticism exploring a broader phenomenon through a writer’s personal lens, likely including research but not reporting. Essays pay generally up to $500. Send pitches to pitches@studyhall.xyz.

Q&As

A brief (~1000 words), well-informed conversation with a person of note whose work in the broader media ecosystem would make them interesting to readers – questions should be well researched and specific to that person, not general “what does a day in your life look like?” discussions, and of interest even to readers that don’t already know who they are. Pitches should include why the person you’re proposing to interview is cool and what angle/topic your questions will explore; Q&As pay $250. Send pitches to pitches@studyhall.xyz.

Reports

Researched and reported pieces between 800 and 1600 words that examine a discrete and singular phenomenon in detail: an investigation into an ongoing labor issue impacting media workers, tracking down the facts of a digital media urban legend, a profile of a particularly interesting publication or project, or analysis of an industry anomaly that speaks to a larger phenomenon. Reports pay between $400-600. Send pitches to pitches@studyhall.xyz.

Features

Features are longform pieces (2000+ words) that either explore a singular issue very deeply with significant research, reporting and generally an overarching thesis, OR tie together several themes or experiences for a well-structured and complex text in which the final whole is more than the sum of its parts. Features pay up to $1200, and we don’t run them all that often because that’s a lot of our budget and we have to be pretty selective with it. Send pitches to pitches@studyhall.xyz.

Digest Blurb

Longtime listeners will know that we publish a weekly subscriber-only newsletter of major news stories in the media world along with a link roundup and bulletin of career comings & goings; although the Digest is written by an SH staffer, we will occasionally publish a freelancer in it as well if they come to us with a timely media story we think our readers will care about but isn’t quite robust enough to be a report, something in the 200-500 word range. Send pitches to pitches@studyhall.xyz.

Service Content


How-tos

A how-to piece is a concrete, detailed set of instructions toward a task or skill related to journalism or media work. They should be brief (500-1200 words) and specific such that they’re informed by lived experience in the field and not something someone can find in an SEO-driven blog post. “How to pitch” is not a good how-to topic; “how to successfully pitch culture editors when you don’t have a portfolio yet” is better. Generally it is assumed you’d be writing these from personal experience, but interviewing others is ok too. How-tos pay $350. Send pitches to pitches@studyhall.xyz.

Guides

Guides are overarching where how-tos are very specific; they aim to cover all the most important information someone (especially a new freelancer) might need to know about a topic, such that they can leave the guide feeling reasonably confident about navigating it. Good topics might include “contracts,” “bookkeeping for freelancers,” or “relationships with editors.” You should be grounding the guide in experience but research and/or interviewing will likely make sense too. Guides pay $800-1200. Send pitches to pitches@studyhall.xyz.

Events


Panels and Talks

Panels are a great way to temperature check an idea or see how other experts are tackling the same issue. We use them to meet and organize with other laborers, suss out who else is invested in a topic we’re reporting on or considering exploring, and to build consensus around controversial topics. Our rates change depending on the number of people involved and the collateral developed alongside your presentation. Our floor is around $200 per participant for an hour-long talk. Pitches should be sent to evan@studyhall.xyz.

Workshops

We’re seeking expert educators who can translate their skills and expertise into workshops that make journalism school look antiquated and expensive. Our workshops tend to be at least two hours long and presenters are expected to submit their presentation materials to participants in advance of their workshop. We’re currently looking for educators who are interested in long-term relationships and the opportunity to develop Study Hall-branded courses. Workshop rates start at $800 for a two-hour workshop. Pitches and proposals should be sent to evan@studyhall.xyz.

Seminars

Seminars are where we invite experts to conduct thought experiments about their secret media theses and obsessions. We invite proposals that make damning claims about media institutions or introduce our audience to unusual approaches to age-old problems. Explain to us how your ghostwriting gig led you to start your own newsletter business, how starting a podcast changed your life. Think of it as advanced show and tell or giving your own artist lecture. We’ll pay a premium for these experiments, and you’ll be expected to produce archive-ready collateral alongside your presentation. Proposals should be about 500 words and sent to evan@studyhall.xyz.

AMAs

We regularly invite guest speakers to pop into our Slack forums and answer questions about their work, business, and interests. These informal “ask me anything” chats bring respected writers, journalists, content strategists, lawyers, researchers, and media startup founders into our community and allow our subscribers to pick their brain. We pay $200 for the hour and you get access to Study Hall’s Slack indefinitely. Pitches and proposals should be sent to evan@studyhall.xyz.

GENERAL PITCH GUIDELINES


Editorial at Study Hall is collectively, so all of our staff participate in editorial decision-making. Questions about editorial content can be sent to pitches@studyhall.xyz. All pitches and proposals related to events and programming should be sent to Development Director Evan Kleekamp (evan@studyhall.xyz).

Useful info to include in a pitch:

  • who you are, your background/experience and any relevant clips
  • brief summary of your story or event idea and any reasons it’s relevant to SH’s audience if not self-explanatory
  • what category of SH content you see the piece as if you know, expected length and scope for your piece, roughly expected timeline, and rate you’re looking for
  • any reporting or material you already have on the subject, and/or sources you hope to speak to for it
  • for events or seminars, any previous presentations or preexisting materials you have on the subject
  • if a broad or popular topic, what’s specific about your angle

Thanks! Talk to you soon.