Canada

How to Pitch VICE News Canada

VICE World News welcomes your pitches. Here are some guidelines for writing for the Canada desk.
November 7, 2019, 5:23pm
Man taking a photo
Photo by Ray Kacaribu on Unsplash

Updated August 24, 2020

VICE News Canada takes pitches! We’re looking for new talent, original news stories, and features and investigations that have a strong Canadian angle or bring Canada to the rest of the world.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a few guidelines for how to pitch and write for us, whether it’s a 300-word news story, a gripping narrative feature, or a groundbreaking investigation.

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Please keep in mind we are unlikely to accept a feature or project from someone we’ve never worked with before who hasn’t published many articles elsewhere. We prefer to start with more straightforward stories and work our way up from there.

Who are we?

VICE News Canada is devoted to original reporting from within our borders and how Canada intersects with an increasingly borderless world. Our Gen Z and millennial audience wants to learn something, gain a new perspective, and read angles that speak to them. We are part of VICE World News, VICE’s network of reporters across the globe.

What are we looking for?

We are focused on a few core topics: far-right extremism; race, identity, and inequality; climate change and the environment; drug policy; housing and affordability; politics; labour; and science and tech. (Motherboard, VICE's technology and science desk, has its own guidelines on how to pitch. You can read them here.) This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of where our newsroom is at.

We love to cover the news. If you are paying attention to the day's biggest news and headlines, get in touch with an angle or scoop on what people care about (e.g. A Fringe Far-Right Group Keeps Trying to Citizen Arrest Justin Trudeau). We are also interested in topical explainers, both for Canadian and international readers (Canada Wants Low-Income Canadians to Pay Back the $2,000-a-Month COVID-19 Benefit). We are also looking for local reporters available to cover breaking stories that require boots-on-the-ground coverage and local expertise.

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Tell us something we don’t know, or something you have unique knowledge in. Our most successful stories delve into individual communities (Making Money on Onlyfans Is a Lot Harder Than It Looks) or tell us how a local concern has broader implications for all of us (Inside the Allegedly Exploitative Farm Owned by One of Canada’s Richest Families). What are people talking about on your favourite subreddits? How does a local law have implications for the rest of Canada or the world? Additionally, as part of VICE World News, we want to be the first to tell Canadian stories to international audiences. Is there a local story that has an international component, or that can be told with the international reader in mind?

As well as one-off stories, we also have Tipping Point, an environmental justice series that freelancers are welcome to pitch to. Indigenous peoples and people of colour are disproportionately affected by our global climate crisis. But in the mainstream green movement and in the media, they are often forgotten or excluded. Tipping Point covers environmental justice stories about and, where possible, written by people in the communities experiencing the stark reality of our changing planet. Is your town being overrun by those who can afford to escape coastal flooding or extreme heat? Was your school once a contamination site? Email tippingpoint@vice.com and tell us what’s happening in your community. Please also include a line or two about who you are. We are especially looking to hear from people from underserved communities.

How do I pitch VICE Canada?

Email us a tentative headline, a clear, CONCISE, and powerful nut graf that tells us precisely what your story is about and why it matters/why our audience should care, a sentence or two about who you plan to talk to, a proposed word count, and a deadline.

A pitch should (generally) look like this:

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Headline: This Is What It’s Like to Live Through a Climate Emergency

Canada is warming on average at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the world, a government report indicates. Nowhere is this more acutely felt than in Old Crow, the northernmost community in the Yukon. Old Crow officials have recently declared a state of climate emergency. In this story I will talk to locals who tell us what it’s like living in a climate crisis, how Old Crow has changed, what effect calling an emergency has, what they would want it to have. A potential story for Tipping Point.

Word Count: 800

Deadline: 09/23, to coincide with Climate Action week

Other tips

Read VICE World News and specifically the stories we highlight on the VICE Canada homepage. We can talk about what we're looking for all day, but the best way to find out is to read the site. Find out what we’ve done already on the topic and tell us about how your story will be different or take it further. Do a quick Google search to make sure we haven’t done a similar story (or that your story isn’t too similar to another outlet’s story).

Not all stories need to have a news hook, though a timely element can definitely help elevate a pitch. Keep in mind that if something is in the news now, we would like to publish as soon as possible and not when it’s no longer top of mind for our readers. We have an international audience so stories that are too local or narrow in scope are unlikely to be accepted.

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While we still welcome personal essays, culture stories, and opinion pieces, we are primarily accepting news stories. We urge you to carefully consider what makes your story unique and why you are the right person to tell it at this particular time (see I Hadn't Seen My Addict Father in Years—Then I Ran Into Him on the Street).

Provide evidence—photos, hard data, documents, whatever you need to make your case.

Think visually. We are happy to pay photographers, illustrators, and photo agencies, but you should know what images you need to make your writing sing when you pitch.

We’re a small team and we get a lot of pitches, which means we can’t answer all of them. It’s fine to follow up on an unanswered pitch but give us some time—a few days at least.

Pitch us at:

General: caeditor@vice.com

Editorial Director: josh.visser@vice.com

Deputy Editor: natasha.grzincic@vice.com