How To Pitch A Story To Refinery29 Canada

Photographed by Jessica Garcia.
So you want to write for Refinery29 Canada? Good news: We accept freelance pitches on a wide-range of subjects. We look to amplify under-represented voices and explore how women, particularly racialized and marginalized individuals, are impacted by policy, represented in pop culture, and are forging their own paths. We also help our audience navigate decisions big and small, from switching up your hairstyle to quitting your job. But before you send us your brilliant idea, here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you’re on the right track. 

First, a bit about us

Refinery29’s mission is to help women see, feel, and claim their power. Our Canadian edition launched in 2018 to shine a spotlight on the Canadian stories and issues that resonate with our Gen-Z and millennial audience. We are inclusive, ahead-of-the-curve, and always represent the unique experiences and perspectives of young Canadian women. We are committed to uplifting the stories and experiences of racialized and marginalized women and gender non-binary people of all abilities, socio-economic statuses, identities, and sizes.

So what kind of stories are we looking for?

We publish everything from personal essays to reported trend pieces to features on race, reproductive rights, and pop culture. Our favourite stories are surprising, illuminate the world around us, and have a strong Canadian angle. That Canadian-ness may come from the nature of the subject (“Canada Abandoned Its Fashion Industry — That May Prove Deadly”) or simply be because the author is a distinct Canadian voice in the media landscape (“The Pandemic Of Black Trauma Will Never End”).
We focus on lifestyle journalism, that is journalism about living. And we are particularly interested in stories from freelancers under the work and money, relationships, wellness, and politics categories.
We aren’t a newsroom, but we do give context behind the headlines, report on how current events impact women, and answer questions not addressed in quick news stories.
We do not accept fiction or poetry.

A few of our favourite types of pieces 

Now here’s how to pitch us

Send us an email that includes a working headline, an outline of your story that includes your central idea, and a proposed word count. A pitch should be one extremely well-written paragraph that summarizes what the story is, who you plan to speak to, and why it matters. If there’s anything specific to you that makes you the right person to write the piece, let us know. 

Other things to keep in mind

Our rates vary based on the type of story and the amount of work required. They are not based on word count. We typically pay $150 for short market roundups and $350 for a thorough news explainer with interviews. Personal essays and shorter reported articles start at $350 and increase from there, depending on the piece.
Not a regular Refinery29 reader? Time to change that. The most successful freelancers know exactly what kinds of stories a given publication is likely to tackle by nature of being familiar with the outlet. Because we publish a mix of Canadian stories and pieces from our international editions, the best way to see what we assign for the Canadian edition is to follow our Instagram account.  
Do a quick Google search before pitching to make sure your idea hasn’t been covered by us recently. Remember: The best stories are surprising, challenging, entertaining, or help readers navigate the world around them. That means pitches should address why this story matters right now (which might be a solid news hook, but not necessarily), and what the larger takeaway is for the reader. 
Diversity in interview sources matters, even if the story is not about race, identity, or inclusion. We don’t want stories with sources who are all white and entirely from the Greater Toronto Area. 
We don’t assign many product roundups outside of our regular roster of contributors. However, if you are pitching one, make it original and SEO-friendly. Know that we are committed to the 15 Percent Pledge in Canada, which means that at least 15% of the companies we feature in our market product roundups are from BIPOC-owned businesses.
If we get one pitch about how yoga changed one woman’s life, we will scream. Also: A little bit of humour goes a long way.

Where to send your pitches

Executive Editor: Carley Fortune
Deputy Editor: Carli Whitwell 

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