Pitching to Mosaic
If you’re a writer or journalist and have an idea for a story, we’d love to hear it.
What are we looking for?
Our remit is fairly broad, spanning any aspect of biology, medicine, public health, history or ethics that in some way touches on human or animal health or the human condition.
What's the story? The most important thing for Mosaic is the story. We’re not after reviews or essays. What we want is a strong compelling narrative that will engage our readers. A narrative – a journey; a beginning, middle and end; a change – is essential to us. The topic needs to resonate with a general readership. What's the point of the piece? What’s the news you can use you’re giving the reader?
Why now? We’re not looking for news or investigative journalism, but there has to be a sense of why our readers would want to read about this topic at this point in time. Many pieces we've commissioned so far draw on new discoveries or approaches that are transforming a particular field, and then explore and explain the science and the societal/cultural context around them. Others are on timeless topics that have always fascinated people, such as ageing or consciousness.
Some other elements of story we consider:
- Character: The people in your story are who readers react to, what stays with them, what makes a piece memorable or not. Who are your characters? What are we learning from their experiences? (Remember, too, a character needn’t necessarily be a person, or even a living thing.)
- Movement: A good story has a sense of where it’s going, a sense of purpose. What is the feeling you want to convey to the reader throughout the piece? How will you keep the narrative moving forward?
- A challenge: While it shouldn’t be a chore to read, you do want to make your reader work, at least a little. How can you expect them to engage if it’s all just passively washing over them?
- What is your story about? And what is it really about? Most articles seem pretty straightforward, but scratch under the surface of the best and it’s clear that it’s not just the main plot you’re following, it’s the underlying themes and a sense of something bigger than the story itself. For longform stories in particular, this extra layer can make the different between a good story and a great one.
- A spine: For long stories it is essential to have a thread the reader can follow. Your story might be a complex mass of events, but a sense of character development/change, drama, and/or chronology can give the reader something to grip on to as the world rushes by.
- An ending: If you have some idea of how you might end your story – what your final act might be, roughly what destination you are aiming for, even if it changes as you’re on your journey – then this can help when you’re writing.
- Surprise: Not always possible, but if you can deliver to your reader something unexpected, whether a turn of events, a change of character or a reaction in them to a subject/character/thing that they wouldn’t have expected, that can make your story memorable and engaging.
The very best pitches we’ve seen have had the essence of the story in the first couple of lines. For good examples, we highly recommend The Open Notebook’s pitch database.
Mosaic features are commissioned at 3,500 to 5,000 words at a flat fee, plus expenses. We do not commission film from freelancers.
Where to send your pitches
Send a brief email to [email protected] introducing yourself a little and outlining your idea.
To get in touch with our Art Director, email [email protected], introducing yourself and including a link to your portfolio.