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Contributor's guidelines

Note: Please inquire about up-to-date Copyright terms


Introduction to Monitor journalism

Copyright and terms of acceptance

Payment and expenses

Targeting your written work

Targeting your images

Copyright information and terms of acceptance

When you file a story with us, it is assumed that the piece is original and exclusive to us for 90 days from the date of publication. We have the right to distribute the story via The Christian Science Monitor News Service, which provides Monitor stories to about 122 client newspapers in the US, and to post it on the Monitor's Web site. Please ask to see the standard contract, which asks you to grant us worldwide rights to your story for the 90-day period. Once you have been given the go-ahead to write, please sign the contract and return it to your assigning editor by fax or mail. We cannot publish your work without it.

Except in unusual circumstances, we accept a new writer's work "on spec" only. That means you give us the opportunity to read your piece before we decide whether to accept it; and our agreeing to look at something on spec implies no financial obligation on our part. We try to render verdicts on pieces quickly, but we are often inundated, and you should feel free to pester us for an answer on a perishable story. Please check the policy set by the editor of the section to which you are pitching a story.

If we ask you for stories, there is a financial obligation on our part. If you file a commissioned piece that fulfills what you pitched to us, we will pay you our basic rate for the piece whether we run it or not. If the commissioned piece you deliver is unsatisfactory, we will ask you to rework it or we will pay a kill fee, usually half the basic rate. We may not pay a fee, however, if the story arrives too late for avoidable reasons.

It's important that freelancer and editor clarify whether we are commissioning a piece or asking to see a story on spec.

Payment and expenses

Our basic rate for a story is $200 to $225. But please be in touch with individual news and section editors (see entries below) about any variation from this rate. Longer stories can pay appreciably more. Short stories or sidebars often pay half the basic rate.

Targeting your written work

International news

Editor: Amelia Newcomb  
Preferred e-mail(s) for inquiries: Appropriate regional editor (see below), with copy to Amelia Newcomb

The Monitor has long been valued for its thoughtful and balanced coverage of world affairs. Stringers make an essential contribution toward that end with the incisive analysis and vivid description that comes with on-the-ground reporting. Writing for us has its challenges: We require lively, concise writing that sets events in context; and we expect you to back up your analysis with the voices of intelligent observers and to enliven your stories with a sense of place.

Best opportunities for freelancers
We are almost always disappointed with a spot-news, day-one account of a news event. Our readers like us because we step back, sum up, and look ahead. Monitor coverage almost always has to read like a day-two analysis. We are interested in a variety of pieces, from short blogs to 500-word news stories to longer news analysis and news feature pieces for our weekly magazine. We want stories to cover the 'who, what, when, where, why' but we expect stories to focus on the 'why.' The goal here is to either explain the broader meaning of an event or to explain what's at stake.

How to pitch and follow up
For international stories that aren't tied to breaking events, we prefer a written pitch. Please e-mail us a brief description of the story, specifying the angle you plan to take and the number of words you think you need and when you could deliver it. E-mail addresses and fax numbers are listed below. Transmitting approved stories: E-mail the story to or phone us if you need to make other arrangements.

Regional contacts (all numbers in area code 1-617)
International News Editor: Amelia Newcomb 450-2440
Asst. Int'l News Editor: Simon Montlake 450-2438
Regional editors
Europe/Baltics/Russia: Arthur Bright 450-3263
Latin America: Whitney Eulich 450-2653
Asia: Chelsea Sheasley 450-2330
Middle East: Ariel Zirulnick 450-2415
Africa: International editors 450-2440
Foreign desk fax:   450-7506

Payment and expenses

In commissioning a piece from you, it is understood that we will pay the costs you incur in discussing the piece with us, before and after filing, and the costs you incur in transmitting the story to us. We do not pay filing and communication costs associated with on-spec pieces unless we accept the story.

All other expenses – travel, long-distance phone costs for your reporting, or anything else – must be approved in advance of expenditure. In other words, you must estimate what these costs will be and receive our approval before you proceed to spend the money. Otherwise we will not reimburse it to you.

We do not accept material produced by journalists receiving benefits (such as free travel) from any entity or person who could be perceived as an interested party to the story in question. So if you are proposing to travel from your place of residence and write stories for us on your trip, we will want to know who is funding your travel.

Please note
Until we commission a story from you, you may not represent yourself to officials, sources, or credentialing authorities (or anyone else, for that matter) as a representative of The Christian Science Monitor. Until we designate you as our stringer in a particular locality, you may not identify yourself as a Monitor writer in researching a prospective piece prior to pitching it to us. And you may not identify yourself as a Monitor writer for the purpose of obtaining a visa or a credential as a resident correspondent from a foreign government without the express written consent of the International News Editor.

Obviously, once we have established a relationship, you have more leeway in identifying yourself as the Monitor's representative. Nonetheless, we ask that you do so judiciously.

Also note

We expect named sources. If a named source can't be found, reporters should include additional means of verification for what information they provide and request an on-the-record reason for concealing a source's identity and should include the reason in the story. All use of anonymous sources must be cleared by the international news editor.

National news

Editor: Cheryl Sullivan
Preferred e-mail(s) for queries: US News

The asset we value most in freelancers is quality of thought. In every case, the stories that we want are not simply a recounting of events, but rather an insightful look into why something happened and what it means – not only to the people directly involved, but also to people across the country. As a national newspaper, each story must have currency and relevance to readers nationwide.

Best opportunities for freelancers
We're interested in stories of national import from all over the country.

We want to stay on top of what is in the news – and in public thought – as much as possible, but there's also an opportunity for news features with a sense of place. Regardless of the setting or situation, though, we look for history and an eye for detail that show what makes peoples and places the way they are, influencing events.

How to pitch and follow up
Pitch your stories to the e-mail address above. Keep them brief (no more than a paragraph or two) and focus on telling us why your story is important to readers from Maine to Georgia to California.

We always take the first two articles on spec. Starting pay is $200 per article plus up to $50 phone expenses. Any travel or other expenses would have to be cleared by the department beforehand.

All pieces must be original for the Monitor. We cannot accept stories that have been or will be published elsewhere.

Opinion page

Editor: Cricket Fuller 
Preferred e-mail for queries: Op-Ed

The Op-Ed page invites a written version of what you might imagine the conversation would be like at a cozy dinner party with interesting people: serious, funny, broad-ranging discussion on any topic imaginable. The Op-Ed page provides a forum for opinions and commentary on politics, life, family, society, and culture. We aim to provide fodder for the public conversation that's both engaging and enlightening. If it's a subject people care about, and it's well-written, we'd probably be interested in seeing it.

Best opportunities for freelancers
You don't have to be a policy wonk to write for the Op-Ed page, but you should be qualified to speak about your subject. Our contributors include ambassadors writing on foreign affairs, parents and teachers on standardized testing, foreign journalists on the human side of wars. While we like to receive articles of 750 words or less, we are always looking for shorter pieces.

How to pitch and follow up
We prefer to see completed submissions rather than queries. Contributors should e-mail Op-Ed. The Op-Ed editor is Cricket Fuller.

We publish only submissions that are exclusive to The Christian Science Monitor. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished manuscripts. Due to volume, only the occasional query can be answered. If we choose your submission, we will always contact you to verify that it is still available exclusively to us, and you will be included in the editing process. If you haven't heard from us within 48 hours for articles pegged to news events, or within 2 weeks for articles without a news peg, please feel free to submit your piece elsewhere. Due to high volume, do not call us to check on the status of your submission. Any item submitted by e-mail will receive an automated reply as confirmation of receipt.

If we have commissioned you to write a piece, or have accepted a concept on speculation, you may not represent yourself to officials, sources, or credentialing authorities (or anyone else, for that matter) as a representative of The Christian Science Monitor. And you may not identify yourself as a Monitor writer for the purpose of obtaining a conference or event credential, nor may you use a Monitor assignment to obtain visas from a foreign government without the express written consent of the Op-Ed editor.

In most cases, we don't pay for opinion pieces.

Please note
The average size of an Op-Ed is 700 words. While all manuscripts are given attention, the editor will not review dissertation-length papers. Any manuscript of more than 1,200 words risks being disqualified purely out of lack of staff time to edit it to a publishable length.

People Making a Difference features
Editor: Greg Lamb
Preferred e-mail for queries:
What is People Making a Difference?
We're interested in stories about people who are making a positive difference all over the world, working on solutions to problems from hunger and education to the rights of the disabled.
The charitable work of famous individuals such as Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates is well know. But we want to highlight the contributions of ordinary people who do extraordinary things.
These profiles, approximately 1,300 words in length, should include an in-depth interview with the subject as well as quotes from at least two "endorsers" who can vouch for how the person is "making a difference." We'll also want to learn why the individual is so passionate about his or her work as well as gain an understanding of the problem he or she is trying to solve.
To see examples of published People Making a Difference stories visit
How to pitch and follow up
 Pitch your story proposals to the e-mail address above. Keep them brief (no more than a paragraph or two) and focus on telling us why your story will interest readers around the US and the world.
 If you are a first-time contributor we may ask to take your article on spec. We generally pay $300 per article with the possibility of also reimbursing some modest travel or phone expenses. Any travel or other expenses should be agreed upon ahead of time.
All pieces must be original for the Monitor. We cannot accept stories that have been published elsewhere.

The Home Forum

E-mail address for queries and submissions: The Home Forum


The Home Forum is looking for upbeat, personal essays from 400 to 800 words. We also welcome short poems. All material must be original and previously unpublished. For seasonal material, be aware that if you submit something that is about a particular month, holiday, event (back to school, graduation), or season, we need to receive it a minimum of six weeks ahead.

More on essays

These are first-person, nonfiction explorations of how you responded to a place, a person, a situation, an event, or happenings in everyday life. Tell a story; share a funny true tale. The humor should be gentle.

We accept essays on a wide variety of subjects, and encourage timely, newsy topics. However, we don't deal with the topics of death, aging and disease.

Some examples:

It's raining acorns!
In the basement, we putter and flutter
Thanksgiving for two

We are always looking for essays on travel, parenting (your experiences with children as opposed to advice for someone else), home, family, gardening, neighborhood, and community.

A flying carpet ride of memories
On this trip to Egypt, the beggars were the ones who gave
The language is different; the feeling is universal

More on poetry

Poetry that appears in The Home Forum explores and celebrates life. It provides a respite from the bleakness that appears in so much contemporary verse. We are particularly interested in poetry that has an international flavor or that offers some global or cultural insights. Short poems are more likely to be accepted (because of space constraints) than poems that are more than 18 lines long.

We do not publish work that presents people in helpless or hopeless states. Nor do we print poetry about death, aging, and illness, or anything dark, violent, sensual or overtly religious.

Submissions are now accepted only by e-mail, one poem per e-mail; no more than 5 poems submitted at one time. In order to preserve line breaks and indents, you may want to consider using a Microsoft Word attachment. (We are not able to open any other attachments. If you don't use Word, please paste the text into the e-mail.)

How to pitch and follow up

Personal essays, travel, and poetry: Submit finished work only to The Home Forum. (Please be aware that if your e-mail account has a spam filter that blocks messages from "unauthorized" senders – and you have not added Home Forum to your authorized list – you will not hear from us.)

Thank you for not e-mailing the section's editors directly; that only slows down consideration of your work. Always use The Home Forum. We are not able to respond to individual submissions, but will contact you within three weeks of receiving your essay or poem if we plan to use it.

Please note

Be sure to include your contact information (e-mail address, daytime telephone, mailing address) with your submission. Please include a word count with essay submissions.

We are unable to accept:

Faxed submissions.
Telephone queries.
Simultaneous submissions.
Previously published material.
Articles that result from a press trip, free lodging or meals, etc.

We look forward to working with you.

The Home Forum editors

Daily Article on Christian Science

Editor: Clare Turner
Preferred e-mail(s) for queries: CS Submissions

This is the column where the theology and practice of Christian Science are freely discussed. That perspective is brought to articles that respond to events in the news as well as to those that address more everyday issues such as companionship, comfort, home, work, relationships, and dealing with difficult financial times. The goal is to offer readers from various backgrounds a thoughtful perspective on how God relates to the issues and problems of the day. Authors frequently share how prayer and study of the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy have brought healing to their lives. We look for lively writing that isn't preachy.

Best opportunities for freelancers
Articles need to be consonant with the basic tenets of Christian Science (see "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, page. 497). We strongly suggest that you become familiar with the column before sending a submission.

Word count: 350-750

How to pitch and follow up
If you want to write an article that will respond to the news or a particular event or holiday, please e-mail Clare Turner to see if something is already being planned on that issue or to discuss the approach you'd like to take.

You are welcome to send manuscripts on more timeless topics for consideration with or without prior contact.

Contributors should e-mail CS Submissions or fax (617-450-2707) their submissions and note that they are for the Monitor article on Christian Science.

No payment


Editor: Marjorie Kehe

Book reviews: How to pitch and follow up
Book review pitches should be a paragraph or two at most, and always come as e-mail. Book review queries should go directly to the acting book editor, Marjorie Kehe. Section editor will always answer an e-mail upon receipt with a yes, no, or "tell me more."

The pay for Book Reviews $150.

Books submitted for review
Book being submitted for possible review should be sent to:

Marjorie Kehe
Monitor Books editor
Christian Science Monitor
210 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Targeting your images


Editor (news): Alfredo Sosa
Preferred e-mail(s) for queries: Alfredo Sosa

Most photographs published in the Monitor illustrate a story idea and have strong visual appeal. We favor images that both respect the dignity of the subjects and the family sensibilities of our readers. We are not interested in the graphic portrayal of violence, even for the most serious stories. All photographs are printed in color.

Best opportunities for freelancers
We are interested in developing long-term freelance relationships with skilled professional photojournalists. Since we have staff photographers based in Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., we are most interested in hiring photographers who live and work in other areas. We hire freelance photographers every week, both in the United States and in other countries. The assignments are almost always at our "half day rate" of $175 plus pre-approved expenses.

We are also interested in discussing appropriate photo stories that a photographer has already begun or has completed.

How to pitch a photo idea (or yourself)
Send a brief letter of introduction and resume to Alfredo Sosa, the news photo editor, at Alfredo Sosa. A follow-up phone call to Alfredo Sosa at 617-450-2340 two days later is recommended. We would like to see a portfolio that demonstrates your strengths and experience as a photojournalist. A digital portfolio is preferred, but slides are acceptable. Do not send originals.

Illustrations and cartoons

Contact: John Kehe (Print Design Director)
Preferred e-mail for queries: John Kehe

Freelance artists should be familiar with the many art styles used in current newspapers, books, and magazines. Artists should be proficient in Adobe Illustrator and/or conversant in Adobe Photoshop.

How to pitch and follow up
Artists should send samples of their work either electronically and/or by regular mail to John Kehe (John Kehe), Graphics Designer, The Christian Science Monitor.

In case we need to contact you, please send current address: street number, state, country, e-mail, fax number, pager number, and phone number.

Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

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