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Pitch a Story

We are always looking to collaborate with freelancers on visual stories they are excited to tell. Each quarter, we commission a couple of essays (compensation details below), but we accept story pitches year-round.

What Makes a Good Story?

  • The idea is worthy of public discourse. Would people debate the premise of the idea for 20 minutes? What assumptions does it challenge?
  • There’s a deeper truth What does the story reveal (even if it’s buried deep in the essay)? Does the reader leave the essay feeling differently?
  • You’re showing, not telling. Visuals make your argument more accessible and less complex than a thousand-word essay.

What to Send Us

If you have a story in mind that you're excited about and that meets our criteria, we would encourage you to complete this worksheet and send it to us at As a bare minimum, an email without the worksheet should include the following information:

  • Headline The hook, describes the point you’re making with this story in just a few words
  • Summary The elevator pitch, a few sentences explaining the idea and why you're excited about it
  • Takeaway The key fact, idea or insight that you want the reader to remember
  • Proof What data is available to help answer your question or tell your story? Have you done any analysis yet? Preliminary data analysis, storyboards, or prototypes are very helpful for us to see.
  • Assistance Where might you need help from us? While some of our freelance contributors are capable of completing a visual story from end-to-end on their own, we often collaborate with our contributors. Would you need help with data analysis, writing, design, front-end code, or some other element to tell this story? No matter the division of labor, The Pudding always assigns an editor to each freelance pitch we take on, so that there is always someone to bounce ideas off of and problem solve with you.
  • Links Do you have a portfolio, blog, or any other relevant work that you'd like to share with us?

We have a standing meeting on Mondays to review submissions and we try to provide feedback, regardless of whether or not we pursue the pitch, within a week.

Want to know more? In this behind-the-scenes blog post, a contributor writes about the journey of turning her idea into a pitch and a published article.

Need some inspiration? Check out our team idea backlog to find story ideas we've kicked around but haven't started yet. Feel free to take them and make them your own.


We pay $7,000 for end-to-end work on an essay. If we collaborate by providing some assistance in a non-editor capacity (e.g., we do the design), we will lower the compensation accordingly.

Time Commitment

This varies greatly from contributor to contributor. Many of the people we collaborate with are working full-time elsewhere and have limited time per week to spend on a story. At that rate, projects often take several months to complete. If a contributor has more time available per week to contribute, we do our best to help move stories along at a faster pace.