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How to Pitch Vulture

Photo: Lionsgate

If you’re reading this, it’s because you sought out information on how to pitch Vulture or an editor directed you here. We know that pitching outlets such as ourselves can be vexing, and while we can’t eliminate all the vexation from the process, this guide will hopefully keep it to a minimum.

In This Article

General Guidelines

Know Vulture: If you’re going to write a good Vulture story, you first need to understand what we consider a good Vulture story. The surest way to achieve that is by reading us regularly to internalize the tone and perspectives typical of our articles. You’ll notice common traits: Our stories come from a place of familiarity and understanding. They’re thoughtful and measured — we don’t trade in outrage or knee-jerk reactions. When appropriate, the language is playful; in all cases, it’s lively. And the observations, questions, and assertions in our articles are varying degrees of surprising, insightful, and amusing. The best pitches have an unmistakable Vulture quality and would be hard to imagine getting published by anyone else.

Make sure the story hasn’t already been done: When you have an idea that feels right for us, the first step is to see if we’ve already published a similar article. Then see if our competitors have already published one.

Photo: Netflix

Keep your pitch short: Lead with the headline and get to the central idea quickly and succinctly. Convey what’s interesting about the subject and why we should care and give a sense of your voice as a writer and the tone you hope to strike with the piece. Be sure to include the key takeaway or a single grabby observation, insight, or reveal that will hook your audience.

Be mindful of pegs: We do our best to elevate great stories at timely moments in pop culture. When considering what makes something “timely,” we encourage you to think beyond the obvious pegs of theatrical calendars and anniversaries and look for other reasons (like a streaming release, a death, or an instance of history repeating itself) why a pitch might be of interest at a given moment.

Quality, not quantity: Pitches should be timely, unique, and well-considered. You should not be able to swap out a show or talent name and be able to recycle the pitch. And if you pitch us more stories in a given timeframe than you would be able to realistically deliver, it’s a sign you may be throwing too much at the wall.

Show us you can handle the pitch: Linking to examples of past work that has a style, tone, or format that’s similar to what you’ve pitched can help inspire confidence that you are capable of executing on your idea. Be sure to share any experience, expertise, or insight you have that makes your point of view unique and valuable. Finally, if you’re pitching an interview-based story, show us you’ve thought through a strategy for securing access to your desired subjects.

What We Don’t Want

Sometimes it’s easier to explain what we want by explaining what we don’t want, which includes:

Reviews: We have staff and trusted freelance critics to handle reviews of new releases. If you want to write criticism, you should pitch us a more focused angle that emphasizes a specific aspect of the work or that considers a group of thematically related works together.

Basic Q&As/press-junket coverage: “I have X person for Y minutes ahead of Z project” is not a pitch we’ll green-light. We have plenty of formats for interviews (see below) and encourage you to pitch within that criteria.

Song/music-video/playlist premieres: To the extent that we even do these, our staff handles them.

Profile of A-list talent: Meaty, insightful profiles are a big part of what we do, but we have a roster of staff writers who generally take them on. If you haven’t written for us before (or recently), we aren’t likely to accept a profile pitch that doesn’t fall into one of the specific formats detailed below.

Satire/fiction: Not us.

Pre-written/spec articles: If it wasn’t pitched to us as an idea, that means it wasn’t written with us in mind, and we’re not going to want it.

Pitches that involve any of the following phrasings (because nine times out of ten these ideas are either too broad or too esoteric to be interesting):

“The problem with X is Y.”

“Why now is a perfect time to watch/listen to/read/attend X.”

“X is good/the best/bad, and I am going to tell you why.”

“I want to write about X because it is more relevant now than ever.

“Can I rank X’s body of work, just because?”

“I’d like to round up [insert identity-based grouping] comedians/actors/authors you should know.”

What We Do Want

Vulture is organized in large part by subject, with editors in charge of each coverage area who handle freelance assigning for that beat. Further down you’ll find details on what each specific subject editor wants from pitches. But first we want to walk through the formats we regularly use across all subjects. We encourage you to be familiar with these Vulture staples and pitch within them when it makes sense.

Across Sections

Chat Rooms: Short, timely Q&As with exciting talent, especially someone who had a breakout role or an interesting storyline to discuss. These should be focused on a specific episode/arc/song/narrative element, rather than a generalized conversation or a simple press junket. We cannot emphasize it enough: There should be a clear, concise angle to the interview. Specificity is key, and the more unexpected the interview topic, the better.

If you’re interested in on-the-ground reporting, we often run interviews conducted at entertainment events as Chat Rooms. These quick talks with talent in informal settings can often yield funnystories. Let the appropriate subject editor know if you’d like to be considered for such assignments.

Reported features: These pieces go deep on industry trends, untold stories, shocking narratives, and noteworthy aspects of production including everything from music, costumes, and production design to weird filming situations and unexpected story developments.

Role Call: A series in which Vulture talks to actors about long-ago or under-the-radar performances that the talent may have forgotten about by now but we definitely haven’t.

Anonymous in Hollywood: As-told-to series featuring first-person accounts that touch on sensitive but important topics in Hollywood. These stories are generally only green-lit when pitched with a tip or existing source and a clear story concept.

Below the Line: Onscreen talent aren’t the only ones with stories to share. We want to hear from Hollywood craftspeople and technicians about the work they do. Do you know someone who had to costume an Indian wedding? Pit Chris Evans against Chris Evans? Dragon-wrangle? Tell us!

Oral Histories: We often allow first-person sources to recall the story behind something from our past, with some specific criteria. First, the subject should not have already been covered to death. Second, you should be able to make a convincing case for why it deserves an oral history. What is the cultural footprint this thing has left behind? How has the narrative shifted since its release? And why is now the right time to tell this story?

Remember That Time: Interviews and micro oral histories that explore the making of unforgettable moments from TV and movies.

Close Reads: An essay or unique critical take on an unforgettable scene, moment, or otherwise specificelement of a piece of media. These are granular in nature and hone in on details of, say, a note, a song, or a series of songs that readers might otherwise miss.

Niche mysteries, solved: These stories can take various forms but should always be driven by an essential question: Who is the helicopter influencer with 150 movie credits? How old is Emily (in Paris)? Exactly what is in Ben Affleck’s cup?

Personal Essays: We occasionally publish first-person essays, but the bar for them is veryhigh.

Remembrances: We are respectfully interested in obituary-style critical essays after a cultural figure dies.

By Section

Movies

If you’re looking to pitch a movies story, the best place to start is miles away from the theatrical-release calendar. We’re open to hearing about clever ways to recontextualize the new movie everyone is talking about at a given moment, but a good rule of thumb for pitching a film story is to think beyond what’s premiering this month. We’re looking specifically for:

Reported stories about the ways movies are made, distributed and consumed. They might revolve around the chaos plaguing a particular movie or set, a figure in Hollywood whose growing influence has gone unreported, or even a default TV setting ruining cinema. These pitches should involve strong leads and multiple sources.

Writingaboutmovieendings. The goal here is to provide readers with a service: a definitive or alternative read on (an ideally ambiguous) movie endings past or present. If you have access to the screenwriter or filmmaker behind the movie ending, even better.

Wednesday Night Movie Club pitches. This is a bimonthly column involving a short essay and a live-tweeted “screening” of a film on Vulture’s account. The best WNMC pitches are timely, and provide an unexpected, compelling argument for why that movie should be watched right now.

TV

A show doesn’t need to be wildly popular for you to pitch something about it, but it should have some established audience/fandom (or the potential to achieve one). Assume a high bar for nostalgia pitches about older series — we’re all for exploring television’s oddities and overlooked gems, but your reasoning for writing about one of them should go beyond “this existed and was good!” The more specific/idiosyncratic the angle, the better. We’re looking specifically for:

➼ Researched, explainer-style comparisons of adaptations and their source material, be they adaptations of history, true crime, novels, or comics.

➼ Finale explainers, Lingering Questions, and future-season hypothesizing, especially for series that are adapting material that you can reference.

Character Studies: Reported histories of fan-favoritecharacters and close looks at their evolutions and the elements that make them who they are.

➼ If you want to lead a weekly (or all at once) discussion about a TV show you love, raise your hand to be a recapper.

Music

The proliferation of streaming services, TikTok routines, and volatile Kanye-album rollouts have brought us into a new era of the music industry. Our music department covers it all: surprising critical analysis, behind-the-scenes explainers, palace intrigue among the major players. We’re looking specifically for:

Investigative features that speak to the changing music-industry ecosystem. These can cover everything from how record labels are continuing to grapple with sexual assault, to the streaming services that are reshaping how we listen to music and compensate artists, to the stranglehold our justice system maintains on the hip-hop community.

Encounters with newer artists: Audiences are tuning in to less new music these days, so before you pitch, you should be (a) asking yourself why listeners would want to learn about this artist in the first place, and (b) figuring out a way to translate their story that will interest unfamiliar audiences.

➼ Unique reporting around a buzzy new song or album — the more granular, the better. Anything from telling the story behind a particular melody, hook, or bridge, to how an eye-popping album cover came to fruition, to why an interlude or song on a new album speaks to a larger trend you’re seeing in music.

Comedy

Comedy stories often intersect with other sections, but what unites them is an obsession with the craft of jokes and a desire to approach the form, as well as the industry that powers it. When pitching a comedy story, avoid knee-jerk Twitter-comedy discourse and think more deeply about stories that might shift a conversation to a new level. We’re more interested in driving discussion than promoting things.We’re looking specifically for:

➼ Quick-turnaround reported pieces or critical reads of comedy news, releases, debates, scenes, and trends no one else has covered.

➼ Insightful close reads and explainers on specific jokes and memes.

➼ Surveys of comedy figures reflecting on a specific question, issue, or theme.

Underrated: A column where we interview funny people about an obscure or underappreciated piece of comedy — a movie, show, sketch, or performer — that they love.

Lists and Recommendations

A good Vulture list can take a lot of shapes: weighty critical interrogations of a director’s filmography; silly roundups of the sweaters on Succession; and, uh, many things in between. We look for lists on all topics: movies, TV, books, games, and so on. But most of all, we look for passion and an interesting point of view. We’re looking specifically for:

➼ Big ranks, either by artist or by genre: Great examples include sprawling looks at Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler, Martin Scorsese, war movies, and the greatest emo songs of all time.

➼ Funny or unexpectedlists:We’re always on the lookout for silly itemizations, such as our recent exploration of Zac Efron’s outfits, our ranking of Succession’s greatest insults, our assessment of the most Game of Thrones-y names on Game of Thrones, and our ranking of all the traffic violations in Taylor Swift’s expansive discography.

➼ Useful and unique guides, such as “16 Upcoming Page-to-Screen Adaptations to Add to Your 2022 Reading List” or “14 Shows and Movies With Euphoria Vibes.”

Streamliner

The goal of our newest section is to help our readers navigate the ever-changing streaming landscape with actionable advice, regularly updated guides, and reported features. We’re looking specifically for:

➼ Explainers and investigations: Why are Netflix’s original shows leaving Netflix? Why is streaming Yellowstone so complicated? How do you pronounce Tudum?

➼ Comprehensive streaming guides tailored to broad categories like gifting, the Oscars, the not-so-Oscars, the love of anime, sports, and more.

➼ Tips for hacking your streaming experience.

➼ Device reviews that go beyond simply listing new features and drawbacks.

➼ One-off recommendations for weird, wonderful, highly specific, or historicallyimportant streaming services, channels, websites, or archives — the more esoteric or undersung, the better.

Podcasts

We don’t assign as much freelance coverage for podcasts as we do in other areas, but if you have a unique story that isn’t being covered (and should be), we want to hear about it. We’re looking specifically for:

➼ Podcast recommendations off the beatenpath.

➼ Worthwhile deep dives or backstories into sensational episodes or series.

Brewingcontroversies that warrant comment or coverage.

➼ Podcast personalities doing something new in the space, or people who would make for an interestingconversation.

Where Do I Send My Pitch?

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by HBO

We don’t have dedicated editors for every subject we cover, so if you don’t see one below, send your pitches to the contact(s) listed for general features. Be aware that we assign far fewer stories and have a generally higher bar for peripheral subject areas.

Movies: Melissa León ([email protected])

TV: Julie Kosin ([email protected]), Genevieve Koski ([email protected])

TV recaps: [email protected]

Music: Alex Suskind ([email protected])

Comedy: Megh Wright ([email protected])

Lists/recommendations: Emily Heller ([email protected]), Ray Rahman ([email protected])

Streamliner: Eric Vilas-Boas ([email protected])

Podcasts: Ray Rahman ([email protected])

Video games: Emily Heller ([email protected])

Internet culture: Dee Lockett ([email protected])

General features: Katherine Brooks ([email protected]), Neil Janowitz ([email protected])

Tip Line

Have an interesting lead you’d like to bring to our attention? Drop us a line at [email protected]!

Managing Expectations

We do our best to respond to pitches, but we can’t possibly reply to them all. Wait at least two days before following up, and please refrain from doing so in excess. The surest way to not hear back is by ignoring the guidelines we provided above.

How to Pitch Vulture