Call for pitches: Freelance writing and visual media
The Center for Science in the Public Interest is searching for freelance writers to create short- and long-form articles to highlight and advance CSPI programs and priorities for distribution on cspinet.org.
CSPI is one of the nation’s leading public health advocacy organizations with a 50-year record of fighting for science in the public interest. We’ve led efforts to win passage of many state and local policies to improve school foods, put calories on chain restaurant menus and menu boards, and remove sugary drinks from children’s menus. National policy successes include the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act; Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act; Food Safety Modernization Act; and Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.
We’re searching for independent contractors with the following qualifications:
- Experience as a freelance writer of general audience health, nutrition, public policy, and/or science content.
- Proficiency in communicating complex scientific or legislative concepts to a lay audience.
- Background in nutrition, food policy, food safety, or agriculture preferred but not required.
- General understanding of brand adherence, copyright, and licensing.
What to pitch
All content is subject to review—by CSPI and NutritionAction editors, CSPI policy experts, CSPI’s various scientists, and other CSPI teams as the content requires—to ensure alignment with scientific evidence as well as CSPI’s policy and advocacy positions.
CSPI’s content falls into distinct categories. In your pitch, indicate the category your proposed content would fit.
These are articles of 400-1,000 words that quickly explain the broader points of a health or nutrition concept, relevant legislative process, concerning product, safety regulation, or other matter relevant to CSPI’s policy or advocacy work, written for a non-scientist audience. Think “What is Red 3, and why is it banned in California?” or “Why more Americans are avoiding aspartame.”
These are list articles of 500-1,200 words that offer readers actionable steps toward achievable goals related to health, nutrition, food safety, or other topics encompassed by CSPI’s research, policy, and advocacy work. All advice must include citations to relevant published research . Think “How to eat more fruit and veggies” or “10 steps to drinking enough water.”
These are explainers, but longer and deeper. These longer-form pieces of explanatory reporting contextualize current events related to topics of CSPI’s research, policy, and advocacy work, and often include interviews with relevant experts. A deep dive is usually 1,500 to 2,000 words in length, but may be as long as 3,000 words. Think “Perfect storm: Cronobacter, baby formula, and voluntary reporting,” or “Why 76 US counties don’t have a full-service grocery store.”
A roundup is a short, aggregated article that quickly debriefs readers on ongoing news related to public health, nutrition, food safety, food policy, and other topics encompassed by CSPI’s research, policy, and advocacy work. These are 300-500 words in length and include links to reputable sources. Think “This week in misleading food labels,” or “School meal program news you may have missed.”
Infographics and other visual media
Most visual content for CSPI and NutritionAction is created by our in-house art team. However, we welcome pitches for infographics, infotoons, illustrations, and other visual media that conveys science-based information with reputable source materials. Rates negotiated at time of contract; reprint rates are the same as written content.
What not to pitch
CSPI does not work with agencies or publish content in exchange for payment to our organization. We do not publish freelance restaurant reviews, food reviews, recipes, recipe roundups, promotional materials, interviews without a relevant link to CSPI’s work, or content that could adversely impact the health or safety of readers (i.e., food safety practices that could increase a reader’s risk of foodborne illness). Do not send completed articles or previously published materials.
All accepted pitches will be paid $0.50 per word, with a maximum word count established at the time of contract. Multimedia content, such as infographics, will be negotiated at the time of contract. Occasionally, cspinet.org content may be reprinted in NutritionAction; CSPI pays $200 for each piece of reprinted content (written or visual). All payments are direct deposit through Paylocity.
How to pitch
Please submit one to three pitches in the body of your email to email@example.com. Attachments will not be opened.
For each pitch, provide:
- a working headline as well as two alternate headlines. If your pitch is time-sensitive, indicate this in the email subject line AND pitch title. (Example: “Time sensitive: New celebrity-endorsed sports drink is landing kids in the ER.”)
- a list of sources you expect to reference, including information about potential interviewees; pitches that do not include resource information will not be accepted.
- the category of content your proposed article fits into;
- and as much information as possible about the tone, content, and length of your finished piece as possible. A detailed pitch that fits our content categories and organizational mission is more likely to be accepted.
Please also include a short bio that includes your name, preferred pronouns, and location. (We can only accept work from contributors who live in the US at this time.) Include a link to your portfolio and/or three published articles.
Contributors whose pitches are accepted will be required to create Paylocity accounts for the purpose of receiving compensation.
Pitches will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis.
Posted: Oct. 31, 2023
Updated: Nov. 24, 2023