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Thanks for your interest in working with STAT. Here’s our guide to pitching us a story idea.

What sorts of stories does STAT assign freelancers? And what types of stories are you not looking for?

By and large, we’re looking for ideas that check the boxes of a great STAT story: smart, compelling, original reporting that takes readers inside the world of health, medicine, and scientific discovery. That can translate to all sorts of stories: pieces that bring readers inside research labs, hospitals, and biotech companies; that scrutinize new findings or industry business strategies; that chronicle patient experiences or shed light on disparities; or that dive deep into ideas or individuals that are changing the way we think about science and medicine.

You can find examples of recent freelance features here, here, here, and here.

We’re especially interested in features, trend stories, and in-depth analysis that would be of interest to readers of STAT+, our premium subscription service focused squarely on the news and analysis of the industries we cover, including pharma, biotech, health tech, and hospitals, as well as regulatory and legislative policy relevant to those industries.

You can find examples of these types of STAT+ stories here, here, here, and here.

What we’re not looking for:

  • Consumer health, wellness, or service-oriented stories (Think “The best masks to stay safe in the grocery store” or “Why coffee is actually good for heart health”)
  • Coverage of breaking news
  • Stories about scientific studies under embargo, unless the study is newsworthy and you have exclusive access
  • Stories that will be written widely by other outlets

What specifics is STAT looking for in a pitch?

A pitch needs to give enough detail to catch our attention and draw us in, but doesn’t need to be fully reported. It should give us a sense of what’s exciting and new about your idea, the context that fleshes it out, why it’s timely, who you’ll talk to report it, and why STAT’s audience would be interested. It should also tell us a little bit about you, and why you’re poised to report it.

It’s always a good rule of thumb to check STAT’s recent coverage to see whether we have covered the topic your pitch touches on, and if it does, explain in your pitch how your idea would advance our coverage. A typical successful pitch might be anywhere between 300-600 words, depending on the amount of detail needed to describe the idea.

We much prefer pitches to already-written articles submitted for consideration, because pitches give us a chance to work with you on the idea and reporting plans.

Does STAT accept multimedia pitches?

STAT accepts a limited number of photo and video pitches compelling visual stories to tell about health care, patients, and other topics. Your pitch should include examples of your past work and needs to explain why this story is best told through a visual media format, what your access is, and whether the story would require collaboration with a text reporter. We occasionally take photo stories that have already been completed if they have not been published elsewhere.

We are always happy to offer feedback on pitches and consider photographers and videographers for future STAT assignments. Illustrators are also welcome to send portfolios for consideration for assignments.

Who should I pitch?

All of STAT’s editors field freelance pitches and, when appropriate, will pass a pitch along to the editor who handles a certain area of coverage. Please put “Freelance pitch” at the start of your subject line. STAT receives a high volume of pitches, and this is the best way to ensure the editor you’re pitching sees your idea. The contact information for STAT’s editors are as follows:

Text pitches

Multimedia pitches

How much do you pay?

Rates start at $550 and go up from there. In general, they are based on word count of the published story, as follows.

  • 600-800 words: $550
  • 800-1000 words: $700
  • 1000-1200 words: $850
  • 1200-1500 words: $1,000
  • 1500-2000 words: $1,400

We might pay more for a story in certain circumstances, such as if a piece requires an unusually extensive amount of reporting.

What happens if my pitch is accepted?

The editor who accepts your pitch will work with you to set a deadline for an initial draft of your story. Once you’ve filed, you’ll work with the editor on any big-picture and line edits. Your editor will also coordinate the visual assets for your story. Each reporter is responsible for fact-checking their own piece, but every story receives a copy edit before it runs. Once the edits are finalized, you can submit an invoice for payment.

How do I pitch an essay for First Opinion, STAT’s platform for opinion and perspective pieces?

To submit an article or pitch for First Opinion, please email it to [email protected].