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
“Short Take” opinion essays
Short poems of thirty or fewer lines
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America Media accepts select unsolicited, unpublished content for dissemination in print, web and/or other digital formats.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.Competitive rates, paid on acceptance.
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.
Faith in Focus Guidelines: "Faith in Focus" submissions are, in general, personal essays that typically range from 800 to 1500 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.
“My Favorite Mistake”: Describe a specific mistake, sin, regret that you learned or grew from. Be as candid as possible.
“Why I Left the Church”: Describe a specific event, person or realization that led you to leave the Catholic Church
“Why I Stay Catholic”: Describe what keeps you from leaving this imperfect institution of sinners and saints.
“Why I Came Back to the Church”: Describe a specific event, person or realization that brought you back to the Catholic Church
Poetry Guidelines: America Media actively seeks new poetry of 30 lines or fewer. Many poems we publish address matters of faith and spirituality, but this is not a requirement for publication. We are looking for authentic, truthful, good poetry. Please submit no more than three poems at a time. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable.
Since formatting is often critical to the integrity of a poem and its presentation, we ask that you submit your poem in both word and .pdf formats. Questions can be directed to America's Poetry Editor, Br. Joseph Hoover, S.J. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHO CAN ENTER?
Any undergraduate student currently enrolled in an accredited college/university as well as recent grads. (Recent grad = a graduation date anytime after October 1, 2017.)
WHAT THEMES ARE PERMITTED?
It’s a social justice film fest, and that’s the only requirement. We welcome entries on a wide breadth of topics including — though not limited to — poverty, inequality, migrants and refugees, race, gender, human life and dignity issues, environment/ecology, human rights.
WHAT GENRES ARE ELIGIBLE?
Short documentaries, first-person narratives and vlogs, infographics videos, docu-drama shorts — all fair game! We’re not here to limit your creativity!
HOW DO YOU DEFINE “SHORT FILM”?
Entry submissions are limited to eight (8) minutes length, max. There’s no minimum length.
WHEN ARE SUBMISSIONS DUE?
October 1, 2017
Check out the contest micro site here.