Freelancing for The Revelator

The Revelator, the independent environmental news and ideas site published by the Center for Biological Diversity, welcomes pitches from experienced freelance journalists. We currently need stories to run in late June 2021 and beyond.

Our readers tend to be both educated about environmental issues and personally or professionally involved in them, so our stories speak to that experienced, well-versed audience.

A few words on freelancing during a pandemic:

  • While we of course value local color in our stories, we value your safety more. We accept stories conducted over phone, video chat or other technologies.
  • We understand that the pandemic has been especially hard on the freelance community in the United States, so we expect that most of our assignments for the next few months will go to U.S.-based freelancers. This does not preclude international freelancers, but pitches from outside the United States will be harder to sell.

So what are we looking for in our stories? Our priorities for 2021 include:

  • Transitions — how do we change the system when it comes to energy, plastic, conservation or other environmental issues? What’s the roadmap to making it happen — or what’s holding us back?
  • Solutions — stories about proven, repeatable solutions (or even failures from which we can learn important lessons).
  • Emerging threats — who or what are the things we should all be watching?
  • Big picture/trend stories — wrapping up several new studies or things going on around the world (regulation, culture, etc.) to reveal a bigger picture.
  • Environmental justice — profiles of local (U.S.) communities affected by environmental pollution, ideally written by journalist members of those communities, focusing on the need for action or lessons that emerged from frontline actions.
  • Post-Trump — real-world, concrete examples of damage done under the Trump four years, or what’s being done to undo it.
  • The pandemic — how has COVID-19 affected conservation and other environmental projects or issues?
  • Cases and context — looking at one place, situation or event that provides a concrete example of a worldwide issue.

Here are a few things we don’t need:

  • Breaking news (we tend to contract out 4-6 weeks ahead).
  • Stories that have been heavily covered by other publications.
  • Pitches based on a single science study or a press release.
  • Stories tied to a specific date, celebration or event — we like our material to have a long tail.
  • Q&A-style profiles (we do those in-house).
  • Book, movie or TV reviews.
  • Stories about our parent activist organization, the Center for Biological Diversity, or issues in which they have an active involvement.

Payment starts at $300 and goes up to $500, with rates varying by complexity of the assignment. Accepted articles are published under a Creative Commons license, allowing them to be reprinted by other publications.

Possible ways to contribute:

  • Reported stories with multiple sources and photographs ($500)
  • Stories with unique documents, data or analysis ($400-$500)
  • Trend and “big question” stories ($300-$400)
  • Context stories, pulling threads together from previous reporting to show the deeper meaning of something in the news ($300-$400)

Pitches may be sent to editor John Platt at Please provide a few sentences about why you think the story is important, why you think it’s a fit for The Revelator, a list of the people you wish to interview, and an expectation of when you think you could complete the piece. If you haven’t written for us before, please provide links to some of your recent writing and let us know why you’re the best person to write this story. We’ll respond as quickly as possible.

We also accept expert commentaries from people working or otherwise active in environmental fields. Find our guidelines for op-eds and essays here.

Last update: May 24, 2021