Writer’s Guidelines

Writer’s Guidelines

FOREIGN POLICY readers are well-informed, intelligent individuals with a wide range of interests. But they are not necessarily specialists in international affairs — in fact, as many business people read FP as academics and practitioners combined. Our readers want to be provoked, surprised, and presented with memorable information and rigorous analysis. They don’t want long-winded arguments, insider jargon, narrow topics, or excessively technical writing.

The ideal FP article strikes a balance: It is a reference for debate among specialists, but it also engages and informs a general-interest reader. Sharp analytical thinking should complement reporting. Opinion pieces or essays should use original data, anecdotes, and wit to draw in readers.

We look forward to hearing your ideas!

(Note: For instructions on how to securely and anonymously send tips and documents to select editors at Foreign Policy, click here.)

Before you pitch us an idea, keep a few things in mind:

  • Read the magazine and the website. It’s the best way to get a sense of what we like, and the easiest way to avoid sending us something we’ve already covered.
  • Avoid the obvious. We receive dozens of pieces with titles such as “NATO at the Crossroads” and “The Future of Trans-Atlantic Relations.” We publish almost none of them.
  • Connect the dots. FP focuses on why what happens “there” matters “here” — and vice versa. That’s why we rarely run articles on single countries. So unless your piece on Nagorno-Karabakh is going to be relevant or worth reading by someone in, say, Antananarivo, don’t bother sending it.
  • Don’t send us anything that refers to “our” interests “abroad.” Unless, that is, you’re the president, the secretary of state, or some other government official. FP has readers in more than 90 countries and seven foreign editions, so articles that assume a strictly American audience are probably not for us.
  • Steer clear of wonky, technical language. FP believes in making big ideas accessible to the widest possible audience.
  • Provide original research or reporting to support your ideas. And be prepared to document what you say. FP fact-checks everything we publish.
  • Pitch articles for specific departments. FP has a variety of different formats, almost all of which are open to outside contributors. See below for details.
  • Include your full mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address.
  • Don’t send us any article or proposal that begins with “Since the end of the Cold War…” or “In the wake of September 11…”Really. Please don’t.

FP Departments and Submission Contacts

We offer many avenues for the enterprising writer. An idea that does not work well in one FP format may well find a comfortable home in another. Consider the fit of your idea to the following descriptions of FP’s sections and their requirements. Then, submit your article idea to the most appropriate department. Please submit your article idea to only ONE contact. If you are not sure where your idea would best fit, submit your idea to us at Editor@ForeignPolicy.com.

In FP’s Arguments section, authors are encouraged to take a provocative stand in approximately 1,000 words. Think of these as thoughtful op-eds with some shelf life — topical, but not ephemeral. You should be able to distill your most salient point into one sentence. Just about any issue is fair game. See some recent examples here.

FP welcomes pitches from freelancers around the world. We’re looking for smart, insightful on-the-ground reporting on politics, culture, and world events. Find us an angle into the big story that the major newspapers are missing. Narrative, character-driven stories are a plus. See some recent examples here.

Finally, it’s always better to contact our foreign editors directly with pitches pertaining directly to their regions of focus.

Africa editor: Ty McCormick

Asia editor: James Palmer

Middle East editor: David Kenner

Still not sure where your idea might work best? Submit your idea to us at Editor@ForeignPolicy.com.