Pitching Guidelines for 1843, a Magazine Published by The Economist

What Is 1843?
1843 is a bi-monthly magazine published by The Economist and named for the year The Economist was founded. Around 360,000 print and digital copies are distributed to The Economist’s most loyal subscribers worldwide, and we reach 50m people online through The Economist’s social channels. We also have stand-alone subscriptions and are available on newsstands.

We cover a number of subjects that The Economist rarely writes about, including fashion, design, food and travel. We also cover subjects that The Economist writes about a lot, such as politics, conflict, tech, business and science. Whereas The Economist often analyses these by looking at implications for decision-makers, 1843 publishes story-driven features that are rich in narrative, character and atmosphere. We care as much about how our stories look as how they read, so we commission original illustrations or photography for every feature.

We are a global magazine, committed to telling extraordinary stories from around the world. We’ve published major features from Iraq, Indonesia, Madagascar and Malta, but we’re equally interested in fresh stories from more familiar countries, such as France, America and Britain. We give equal weight to beautiful writing, meticulous reporting and intellectual robustness.

Why Write for 1843?
Our frequency and lead times means that we spend extensive amounts of time developing a piece through pitching, reporting and writing. We’re eager to support large ambitious stories that take months to research and write and we offer substantial space in the magazine for our features: most run between 3,000 and 6,000 words.

We offer resources for reporting and our rates, both online and in print, are competitive with the best publications in America and Britain.

What Are We Looking For in a Pitch?
Please make sure that you pitch us a story and not just a subject. We won’t commission a feature if you simply tell us that you want to write about anxiety or migrants to Europe or cacao farmers in Nicaragua. There has to be a story at the heart of the piece that will draw readers in and delight them with a subject that they may have thought they weren’t interested in. There needs to be a central narrative, a character or group of characters you want to bring to life and at least an incipient sense of the scenes that might structure the feature.

We do not run reviews or opinion pieces. We do not publish news stories or analysis of the sort that might easily run in The Economist. Generally, we do not accept press trips and cannot publish stories that are predicated on them.

We are looking for features that are driven by strong stories and populated by compelling characters. We are eager for profiles. We’ve run in-depth portraits of James Ellroy and Cindy Sherman, for which our reporters spent hours talking to the subjects. We’re also looking for features that bring an unfamiliar place vividly to life, like this one on the vanilla boom in Madagascar.

We’re particularly interested in stories that rigorously investigate an area of everyday life that is often overlooked or riddled with unexamined assumptions, like this one on caloriesor this one on what donuts tell us about the American Dream  and we love stories that explore our emotional and social experience in unusual and revealing ways, whether it’s a witty anatomy of the relationship models of rock groups or an insightful and brilliantly written personal essay on women and running. We also love stories that complement The Economist’s core coverage, like this story about a migrant’s journey from rural Indonesia to Saudi Arabia to England and back home again .

We like all of our stories to have an idea at their centre. As a rule of thumb, the more jaw-dropping the narrative, the less structurally prominent the idea need be. We’d love to run more stories about war, crime, business and technology. Think as ambitiously as possible. Because we come out only six times a year, all of our features need to grab readers and not let them go. But the beauty of writing for 1843 is that we’re open to ideas on more or less any subject from anywhere in the world.

For features, pitch ideas to Jonathan Beckman, deputy editor ([email protected]) or Abigail Fielding-Smith ([email protected]economist.com) with ideas.

1843 Interview
Every issue, we have a 1,600-word interview with a person of international stature doing an activity that they love, such as smoking with David Hockney or running with Samantha Power. If you’re a journalist, please only pitch to us if you already have access to the subject. If you’re a PR, know that these interviews tend to take a couple of hours and doing an activity is non-negotiable. If you have ideas, email Jonathan Beckman, deputy editor ([email protected]).

All the Rage
These are short gobbets of around 150 words about what’s fascinating people in different parts of the globe: these can be about more or less anything – films, pop music, TV, fashion, food, drink, internet culture – but they need to reflect something more profound about the society that produced them. Hearing about the trend should also make you smile. We would like to run longer, online pieces of up to 800 words that are able to explore these subjects in greater depth. Email Joshua Spencer ([email protected]) with ideas.

Brand Illusions
Each issue we run a column of 500 words that unpicks how brands attempt to influence us, like this one on the subliminal messaging of the star on the San Pellegrino bottle. and this one on Facebook’s design . Email Abigail Fielding-Smith ([email protected]economist.com) with ideas.

Food Lead
Our food section opens with a shortish 1,200 word feature on food. Like our longer features, these can’t be parochial and must be animated by an idea. So we’ve commissioned pieces on our susceptibility to superfoodswhy pizza chefs are harking back to the dish’s place of origin and how China invented fake meat. Email Caroline Christie ([email protected]com) with ideas.

Our journeys section begins with a visually lavish feature of up to 2,000 words, such as this piece on Syrian refugees living on the island of Bute. We’re particularly keen to commission creative writers of all stripes – novelists, poets, playwrights, memoirists – with a personal connection to or fascination with a place, who can evoke it in a way that goes beyond the clichés of travel writing. We want stories, not holidays. Email Caroline Christie ([email protected]com) with ideas.

Our online output is also focused on features that explore “big ideas”, but can be more responsive to the news agenda than the print magazine. In particular, we are looking for pieces about the stories of people affected by or involved in major events, such as this one about a single protester in Hong Kong ; the stories behind the consumer businesses and brands that fascinate our readers; dispatches from global news events, such as this one on the assassination of a journalist in Malta, and online culture, such as this one about a TikTok star in India.

As with print, we want ideas for stories that can be told through colourful scenes and direct access. When pitching please include an indication of the character(s) through which you will tell the story through. Trend-led pieces should also be told through unique individuals and ground-up reporting.

We are also open to pitches in which the writer is the central character and want to hear more ideas for stories which have a compelling personal narrative.

We also run online-only versions of print slots including World in a Dish, All the Rage, Taste the Fear and the 1843 Interview. These generally run longer than they do in print.

For online stories please pitch Will Coldwell, acting digital editor ([email protected]) and Josh Spencer, deputy digital editor ([email protected]).


  1. In the guidelines sent to prospective writers by the Washingtonian, we included these suggestions:

    We have no rules on writing style. The style should come naturally from the writer and the material. In The Elements of Style, William Strunk made these suggestions:
    —Be specific, concrete, definite.
    —Use the active rather than the passive voice.
    —Put the statements in positive form.
    —Write with nouns and verbs.
    —Don’t overstate.
    —Avoid the use of qualifiers.
    —Don’t explain too much.
    —Avoid fancy words.
    —Be clear.

    In his essay “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell pointed to these sins of bad writing: “Staleness of imagery . . . lack of precision . . . the concrete melts into the abstract . . . a lack of simple verbs.”

    Some of Orwell’s suggestions:
    —Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print.
    —Never use a long word where a short one will do.
    —If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
    —Never use the passive where you can use the active.
    —Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or jargon if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
    —Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

    The Washingtonian’s advice to its writers: Speak to the reader as an intelligent friend. The best style is clear, honest, and direct. We like sophisticated ideas and simple language, not the reverse. And don’t forget the favorite question of the late New Yorker editor Harold Ross: “What the hell do you mean?”

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