Editorial and Photography Opportunities
Washington Trails is a bi-monthly, volunteer-driven magazine that publishes original works on all aspects of hiking and active outdoor recreation in Washington state and the greater Northwest. This includes feature articles on low-impact wilderness travel, habitat and natural resource preservation, wilderness legislation, travel, photography, nature study, health and safety pracitices and family outings. In particular, we look for well-written pieces on hiking destinations in Washington state. These are non-fiction profiles of hiking and/or travel destinations, personal accounts, or natural history essays.
Regular Features and Departments
FEATURES — WT typically runs 3-4 features per issue, ranging from 1,000-2,000 words each. Topics and/or themes are developed far in advance at our annual editorial planning meeting, however you are still welcome to pitch topics for consideration. Stories are often seasonally themed, incorporating the range of WT’s audience: day hikers, backpackers, campers, families, etc. For feature pieces, we usually look for experienced writers that possess particular knowledge and/or experience of the subject being covered; i.e., if you’re an expert with wildflowers, we probably won’t select you for a geology feature. Occasionally, space is reserved for 'spontaneous' contributions. Feel free to pitch your story ideas.
NORTHWEST WEEKEND — This is the new travel feature that puts a new spin on the ‘road trip’ concept. These are essentially a weekend-in-your-pocket, highlighting not only a specific place to hike, but also local attractions, lodging and camping, dining, family activities and historical interest. These are typically in the 1,200-1,500 word range, and are heavily reliant on good photography. These are not limited to just Washington, but anywhere in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and B.C. that you can reasonably travel to for a 2- or 3-day weekend. Destinations are typically preset for specific issues, however pitches are welcome.
In addition to features, we also have several shorter departments in the magazine. There are many sections where volunteer writers regularly contribute. These sections are typically one page and limited to 300-500 words (except where noted). Before sending in a complete article, it’s best to e-mail a proposal to see if your idea fits our current editorial needs. Gear reviews are conducted by the Gear Review Team.
NEWS — Because we’re a small staff, and can’t be everywhere in the state, we rely on members and readers to keep us updated with news and/or information relevant to hikers, backpackers and campers in their regions. Since WT is a bi-monthly publication, we don’t want to publish “old news.” If you have a suggestion or topic that you think might make a good news piece, and not be exceptionally time-sensitive, you can submit it to the editor for consideration. Write-ups are typically 100-200 words.
SNAPSHOT — This one is for the photo buffs. This new 1-page department features a topic to assist nature and outdoor photographers be more successful with their photographic efforts while traveling and on trail. It is presented in an easy-to-read, friendly manner, employing helpful tips for all skill levels, not just for those using pro DSLRs. Good photos can also be taken with smartphones and pocket cams—with the right kind of application. Topics are usually chosen to correspond with feature and/or travel content, but you are welcome to pitch your suggestions.
HOW-TO — Would you like to share a specific skill with the WT audience? These can be anything from gear maintenance tips, hiking and leave-no-trace ethics and many more. Text length is limited to one page, at about 500 words. We’ll be looking to incorporate more of these as callouts and micro-features in coming issues, so suggest away!
NATURE — Is there a type of flora or fauna in your region that you would like to cover? Then please do—WT readers love the nature column. We’re always looking for engaging sections to run on local plant and animal life. Feel free to suggest a topic; these are often selected in accordance with any theming in the magazine—though not always. Currently, the Nature column occupies two pages, with about 1,000 words.
HEALTH & SAFETY — Do you have wilderness first-aid experience, are an EMT, or nutrition or fitness expert? We’re looking for relevant topics on how hikers and backpackers can prepare for and execute successful outings without putting themselves at risk. This 1-page column is limited to 500 words.
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE — This is the easiest section to “break into” contributing a story to Washington Trails. Do you have a funny hiking experience to relate, an insightful view on a wilderness topic, a poem to share? The sky’s the limit. Send in your proposal and we might find a spot for you in an upcoming issue. Columns are usually 400-500 words, and can contain images or artwork. This is a frequent need, so don’t hesitate to send in your suggestions.
MEDIA REVIEWS — Have you read a good book or seen a good movie lately that touches on the outdoors, hiking, backpacking, camping, conservation, etc.? It might be worth putting a review in the magazine. Send your suggestions to the editor.
Any and all editorial pitches, suggestions and assignment requests should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to be added to our editorial contributors' mailing list, please send a sample of any recent works, plus your areas of interest and/or expertise.
Good-quality photography is of the utmost importance in producing an attractive, quality magazine. When submitting photos for features and articles, photos should be well-composed and color-correct, without a lot of additional processing; watch for clipping (blowouts, usually in scenes with sky and/or water), and extra ‘garbage’ in the corners. HDR images can be submitted, but avoid heavily-processed images that over saturate colors or over-emphasize textures that render the image “painted.” Above all, make sure your images are in focus.
Every month, the editor sends out a request list of the photos that are needed for upcoming issues. Needs often cover the full range of the magazine, as writers don’t always have ideal photos for their stories. The request list is separated by feature and/or department, and includes any relevant and/or specific information about the photos we are in need of.
If you would like to be added to the photographer pool and recieve the photo request list, send an email to email@example.com.
You will be asked to provide a sampling of your photography by way of email or website link so we can evaluate the quality of your work and see that it would be appropriate to include in the magazine. If your work is approved, you will be added to the photographers' mailing list and start receiving regular requests.
To submit photos for any portion of the general request, please send lo-res samples, or a link to a website, to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Sample images should be RGB JPEG or TIFF files, no larger than 100 dpi. Each sample photo’s filename should include the name of the location, your name and any identifier you may use, i.e., spraypark_john.smith_0011.jpg
. Selections will then be made by the editor. If your photo is selected for publication, you will be contacted and asked to provide hi-res copies. Hi-res images should be submitted as RGB JPEG or TIFF files, at least 300 dpi; a specific size request will come with each photo, along with a request for detailed caption information.
As WT is a hiking and backpacking magazine, whenever possible, we want to see happy, smiling hikers, backpackers and campers on Washington's trails. We prefer seeing front sides and faces (unless the request specifically states otherwise). Over-the-shoulder compositions are certainly acceptable, but please avoid excessive photos of nondescript backsides.
PHOTO ESSAYS — Have you taken an amazing trip around the Northwest and returned with some spectacular imagery that you're just dying to share with everyone? WT occasionally runs photo essay features that highlight a specific area. These features generally focus on harder-to-reach areas that require multi-day backcountry travel; dayhiking locations and roadside viewpoints are not considered for these features. Locations should primarily focus on the Northwest, however we may consider more distant locations depending on the quality of imagery and topic of your essay. You are welcome to pitch your suggestions to the editor; please include several sample images to accompany your story idea.
FEATURED LANDSCAPE —
The last page of every issue is dedicated to a ‘Featured Landscape’ photo. These photos must be of exceptional quality, and unless otherwise indicated, showcase any wilderness area within Washington state. Sometimes a particular theme or topic may be requested for a given issue (hint: seasons), but otherwise feel free to submit as many photos as you like for ‘featured landscape’ contenders. If your photo is selected for publication, you will be asked to provide a short, 200-word summary on what inspired you to take your photo. You will also need to provide basic trail information for where the photo was taken. Unlike general request photo samples, ‘featured landscape’ photo submissions should be sent as hi-res RGB JPEG or TIFF files to email@example.com
, with the subject line of your email, “featured landscape submission.”
CONTRIBUTOR COMPENSATION — As a non-profit organization, Washington Trails does not presently have the resources to pay its photo and editorial contributors. However, publication in WT is a great way to get noticed and build your portfolio. All contributors receive bylines, photo credits or attributions to accompany their works. Contributors are also given at least one sample copy of their published work, and may request soft copies of their works for posting on websites or blogs.
INTERNSHIPS — WT offers 3-month unpaid internships to students and volunteers interested in learning more about writing, editing and web production for a nonprofit organization. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
A FEW TIPS — The best way to know how to write for Washington Trails is to regularly read the magazine. You can subscribe online at wta.org, or read selected articles and features from previous magazines by visiting the magazine's webpage. It is suggested that you email your suggestions and pitches to email@example.com in advance of writing a complete article. It can then be evaluated if and where your story may have a place in a future issue. If you have previously published works, please provide a link and/or samples to give us a sense of your writing style and abilities. For writers, the best introductory sections to try for are the Walk on the Wild Side, How-To, News and Media Reviews departments; for photographers, Snapshot and Featured Landscape.
Thank you for you interest in contributing to Washington Trails.