VICE Canada takes pitches! We’re always looking for new talent, original stories, deep dives into subcultures, and funny/interesting takes that are ideally Canadian, but not exclusively.
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 blog post or a feature. But 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 Canada is devoted to original reporting from within our borders and how it intersects with an increasingly borderless world. Our audience wants to learn something, gain a new perspective, and read angles that speak to them. While our audience is mostly Canadian, we aim to bring Canada to the rest of the world (e.g. I Have Found Canada’s Number One Hoser and An Oral History of 'Degrassi: The Next Generation').
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; 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 also 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 are talking about (e.g. Toronto Woman Hospitalized After Eating Dairy at Popular Vegan Restaurant). We are also interested in topical explainers (What You Need to Know About a Liberal-NDP Coalition).
Tell us something we don’t know, or that you’re extremely passionate about. VICE Canada’s most successful stories delve into individual communities (Inside a Porno Bootcamp for Amateur Studs) 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?
In addition to one-off stories, we also have a few series that freelancers are welcome to pitch to.
Tipping Point: 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 email@example.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.
The Worst Bar in Town has a simple premise: A writer visits what they think is the worst bar in their city, asks that bar’s patrons what they think is the worst bar, and then heads to that bar next. Rinse and repeat that all night until the writer can’t take it anymore. This isn’t a review of bad bars—the true purpose of a ‘Worst Bar in Town’ is to tell the story of a city through a cross-section of its bars and the people who love them. It also allows for a narrative—fun, dark, personal—to be woven throughout. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your pitch.
How do I pitch VICE Canada?
Email us a tentative headline, a couple of sentences about the story and who you plan to talk to, a proposed word count, and a deadline.
A pitch should look like this:
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
Read VICE. 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 think about how your story will take it further. Also, 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.
We welcome personal essays. But 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.
Pitch us at:
Editorial Director: email@example.com
Deputy Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
West Coast - email@example.com
Toronto - firstname.lastname@example.org
Motherboard (Tech) - email@example.com