A Smart, Catholic Take on Faith and Culture
America Media is the leading provider of news and analysis for thinking Catholics and those who want to know what Catholics are thinking. We are known across the Catholic world for our unique brand of excellent, relevant and accessible coverage. From theology and spirituality to politics, international relations, arts and letters, and the economy and social justice, our coverage spans the globe. America, our flagship print magazine has been published continuously since 1909. America Media is sponsored by the Jesuit Conference of the United States and Canada.
What is America looking for?
- Pitches for feature-length reported pieces, essays and analysis. Feature-length pieces should be approved as a pitch and discussed with editors before a full manuscript is prepared and submitted.
- “Faith in Focus” essays starting from personal faith experience
- "Faith & Reason" essays, more scholarly treatments of theological or philosophical topics.
- “Short Take” opinion essays
- Short poems of forty or fewer lines
Scroll to the category links below for more details.
Guidelines for All Submissions
America Media accepts select unsolicited, unpublished content for dissemination in print, web and/or other digital formats. All submissions must be made through this web site. America Media does not accept submissions by U.S.P.S. or email, nor do we consider content submitted simultaneously to other publications or media. America Media is solely responsible for the manner, platform (digital, print, etc.) and timing of publication/production.
Content Areas: America Media's location at the intersection of the church and the world informs our content decisions. We seek to examine ideas and events at the crossroads, where insight from religious belief casts new light on an issue of the day, or where events in the world make the challenges of the Gospel more evident.
Our coverage includes:
- Ideas and events within the secular world but of universal interest to the Catholic conscience or imagination. (i.e. war and peace; economic and social justice issues; migration and immigration; social ethics; artistic/cultural phenomena).
- Ideas and events at the intersection of the church and the world. (i.e. the church's role in a conflict; an episcopal pronouncement on public policy; a Catholic response to a political or social problem or movement; a historical, cultural or artistic event that speaks to the relationship between faith and politics/culture).
- Ideas and events within the church but of universal interest to Catholics. (i.e. theology and spirituality; marriage and family life; church governance; liturgical change; Catholic education; vocations; magisterial teaching; catechesis; religious life and formation).
Audience: Most but not all of our audience is Catholic. More than two-thirds of them are laypeople, not clergy. Almost all of them have a college degree, and two-thirds have graduate degrees. Most of our audience members, however, are not specialists.
Content Standards: Successful submissions demonstrate rigor, order and discipline of thought, as well as honesty and sympathy. The style, prose and analysis should also demonstrate originality, intelligence and imagination. Even when the opposing viewpoint is not explicitly accounted for in the text, contributors should sincerely consider it. Polemics, ideologically-driven arguments, partisan political considerations and facile logic must be avoided. Above all, the submission should say something new.
Original Content/Conflicts of Interest: All submissions to America Media must be the original, unpublished/unproduced work of the author/artist. An author/artist must also disclose any possible conflict of interest—for example, if he or she has received compensation from a third party for writing an article, or if the author is acting as an agent (lawyer, press agent, public relations agent, consultant, etc.) for any person or institution mentioned in the article.
Length of Submissions: Length of submissions varies depending on the platform and department. See individual departments below for specific guidelines.
Payment:Competitive rates, paid on acceptance.
Short Takes are smart, informed essays of 800 to 1000 words by experts on matters affecting the church or civil society. Essays should have a clear point of view and be supported by data or professional experience. They may address topics in the news but should still be relevant a few weeks after they are submitted. Authors should follow the magazine’s “Our Take,” “Short Take” and “Last Take” departments to avoid duplication. Authors should also provide a short description (70 words) of the professional credentials or life experience that informs their approach to the topic. Find examples of Short Takes here: http://www.americamagazine.org/section/short-take.
An America feature article is a smart, Catholic take on a news event or historical/cultural trend, one that is of universal interest to the educated Catholic conscience or imagination. An America feature article is characterized by its general excellence, topicality, balance and originality.
Articles normally incorporate a Catholic perspective but need not do so directly. We eschew stories that are, on the one hand, overly “churchy,” (e.g. pious “chicken soup for the soul” approaches) and, on the other, entirely devoid of religious insight. While a story need not always be explicitly Catholic or Christian in language, it should address issues in which the religious imagination is engaged and further that engagement.
America is looking for narrative works of reporting and/or analysis on topics at the intersection of the church and the world. Authors are asked to submit a developed pitch outlining their approach to the topic and any reporting they plan to do for the piece. Please also send links to your previous writing and a proposed word count and timeline. We no longer accept unsolicited full length feature manuscripts.
What should be in a pitch?
A pitch need not address each point below explicitly, but they should be considered.
- The hook: Why do our readers (and others) need to pay attention to this? What’s the headline or blurb that’s going to jump out of a social media feed?
- The summary: What’s the story, and how do you plan to structure it?
- The insight: What’s unique about this story? Why should it be told in America?
- Especially if there are similar stories in the secular media or other Catholic media, how does this America take get heard above the noise?
- The positioning: If it’s not already evident above, how does this story relate to the church/world intersection, and from what angle?
- The details: Timing—especially if the story needs to hit by a certain date to be effective
- Proposed word count
- Additional resources: anything else necessary to make this story work. Art, illustrations, opportunities for accompanying video, any multi-platform considerations. Any reporting or travel budget needed.
- The next steps: If the pitch is approved, what questions do you particularly need editorial input on?
Previous work: Please include a link to previously published work, if available.
America's Faith & Reason section features essays about contemporary theological, philosophical or ecclesial questions, usually authored by theologians, philosophers or other recognized experts in related fields. Faith & Reason essays are more scholarly and explicitly theo-philosophical than essays that appear in the features section, which houses mostly reported articles by professional journalists; or in the Faith in Focus section, which features mainly first-person essays about spirituality. A Faith & Reason essay is a smart, Catholic take on a theological, philosophical or ecclesial topic that is of universal interest to the educated Catholic conscience or imagination. While treating the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church as normative, Faith & Reason essays are characterized by their general excellence, topicality, balance, scholarly rigor and originality.
While more scholarly in tone and content, Faith & Reason essays are written for an educated, lay Catholic audience. The audience for Faith & Reason essays, in other words, is not the academy. Authors must bear this in mind and should tailor their tone and style accordingly and labor to make their essays accessible and clear. Authors should avoid unnecessary jargon and overly dense prose as they seek to render complex problems and insights intelligible for an educated readership.
The maximum length for Faith & Reason essays is 2,000 words and will rarely exceed 1,500. Authors should cut their essays to this length prior to submission. Only completed manuscripts are accepted for this category of submission.
Faith in Focus Guidelines: "Faith in Focus" submissions are, in general, personal essays that typically range from 800 to 1,200 words. Articles for this department can be on any topic related to the joys and challenges of living out one’s faith and should bear witness to the radical nature of discipleship in the modern age. These articles should have a strong narrative thread and should focus on a specific event, moment or development in the author’s life, rather than a chronicle of the author’s entire spiritual journey. Articles should challenge the reader as much as it nourishes or affirms the reader.
Calling all student writers!
America Media is proud to announce the 2020 Generation Faith Essay Contest.
America Media is seeking submissions from young writers for this year's Generation Faith Essay Contest. We want to hear from high school and college students interested in reflecting on the joys and challenges that come with living out (or struggling with) one's faith in the midst of real life. All entries should be true personal essays, between 800 and 1,200 words.
The essays should feature strong narratives and real-life examples from the writer’s experience as a young person in the church today. Writers should think creatively and broadly about their faith experience.
The winning entry will be awarded $1,000 and will be published in America. Additional entries may be chosen for publication in America. The judging panel will consist of the editors of America and The Jesuit Post.
To be eligible, you must be enrolled as a full-time high school or college student at the time of the contest deadline. Your submission must be previously unpublished (including on personal websites) and must be original work.
You can read a previous first-place essay here.
All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2020.
Poetry Guidelines: America Media actively seeks new poetry of 40 lines or fewer. Line breaks are included in the line count. Many poems we publish address matters of faith and spirituality, but this is not a requirement for publication. We are looking for truthful, dynamic poetry. Please submit no more than three poems at a time. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable.
Questions can be directed to America’s Poetry Editor, Br. Joseph Hoover, S.J., at email@example.com.
The Foley Poetry Contest: America Media is sponsor of the annual Foley Poetry Award, given in honor of William T. Foley, M.D. Each entrant is asked to submit one poem of 45 lines or fewer for consideration. Only unpublished poems not under consideration elsewhere will be considered. Poems may address any topic. Submissions must be received between midnight ET on January 1 and 11:59 p.m. ET on March 31, 2020. Entrants may be submitted by Submittable or by postal mail to:
Foley Poetry Contest
1212 Avenue of the America, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10036
The winning poem will be announced in early June and published in the print edition of America. The cash prize is $1,000.
Each year approximately 1,000 poems are submitted. Our poetry editor and judge for the contest is Joseph Hoover, S.J. The winning poet will be required to sign a letter of agreement with America Media, publisher of America. Under this agreement, the poet will have the right to sell or republish his/her poem after it is published. It also gives to America Media the right to republish or allow others to republish the poem in any form.
Please submit no more than one poem. Since formatting is often critical to the integrity of a poem and its presentation, we ask that you submit your poem in word format.
Questions can be directed to America's Poetry Editor, Br. Joseph Hoover, S.J. at firstname.lastname@example.org.