How to pitch stories to Polygon

Polygon accepts pitches for original reporting, essays, op-eds, reviews, and features. Below, you will find specific guidelines for each section. But first, here are a few general tips for pitching our publication, along with examples of the pitches we hope to receive.

We want pitches that make media accessible — illuminating, contextualizing, and reframing what makes media special.

What’s a concise, layperson’s explanation of a notoriously complex lore? What’s a playful way to rank (and critique) the entries in a beloved franchise? What are the overlooked games or films of a previous generation in hindsight, and how have they influenced new releases?

We want pitches on creators, publishers, and retailers.

Why do people dedicate their entire careers to a single franchise? How specifically do digital storefronts help and hurt consumers? What is the human cost of working in the film or game industry?

We want stories about the people who curate, stream, and preserve entertainment.

Who is finding the next great indie game or film or archiving a forgotten classic? How does a streamer stay healthy in the long term? Which real-world venues are advocating for games, film, and television, and why?

We want to meet people who are expanding entertainment and games in new directions.

What does the next generation of YouTube stars look like? How will we control games or stream shows in the future? Who is charting the future of esports?

We want critiques that elevate art and illuminate our experiences with it.

Why do we rewatch the same shows on Netflix? How does a new work subvert the expectations of its storied genre? What small detail did we miss the first time through a popular show?

These questions are just the first half of a good pitch. The best pitches include both a setup and a follow-through. To quote our sister site Eater:

Across the board, we’re looking for pitches that give a clear, concise summary of the subject, angle, or thesis of the proposed piece, and your anticipated story structure. We’re looking for pitches that contain answers, not questions. (Or, if you don’t have answers yet, an explanation of why you don’t — and the reason shouldn’t be “I haven’t started the reporting.”)

The pitch should frame the story within its larger context. Atop what news or critical conversation is it building? What makes you write the perfect person to handle this story? Always include related stories that you have written, along with a link to your portfolio.

Please keep pitches concise. A paragraph or two is typically a good length. The pitch should not be the entirety of the story. Think of a great movie trailer: It establishes the film within its genre or franchise, sets the stakes, gives a concrete look at how the story will transpire, then leaves the viewer wanting more. And it does all this in a couple of minutes.

Please do not pitch a story you have already written, and please do not attach a fully written story to your email. These pitches will not be accepted.

Pitch original games reporting to [email protected]

Pitch original entertainment reporting to [email protected]

A good opinion pitch needs a thesis statement

If you can’t sum up your argument quickly and directly, you probably need to further develop your idea. Here are some good examples:

  • Fortnite’s Battle Pass shows how to handle F2P monetization correctly
  • Microsoft began talking about its next console too early
  • Steam is hurting the gaming industry
  • Where is Tom Hardy’s Oscar nomination for Venom?

All of these headlines summarize complex topics, even if they’re not completely serious. Each statement also has an opposite side that can likely be argued just as effectively.

Always include a one-sentence statement that explains your position in each pitch.

You need to be the right person to write this piece

Once you have a strong thesis statement on an interesting topic, please explain, in a sentence or two, why you are the best person to write this article. What experience or knowledge can you bring to this particular topic? What sources can you reach and what research is available to you? A good idea, clearly explained, is only half the struggle. The rest is communicating why you’re uniquely capable of tackling the argument.

Opinion pieces can be as short as 800 words, or they can go as long as 3,000. Anything above 1,200 words needs to be meaty enough to justify the length — a long opinion piece isn’t inherently a good opinion piece.

Why are people going to want to read this?

Lastly, every pitch must explain why readers will be interested in this piece.

Op-eds about current media, or titles that are popular but haven’t received a lot of coverage, will have an easier time attracting an audience. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to discuss lesser-known games or media, but the lesser known the art, the more it needs a hook. What will the reader learn, and how will it help them? Why do you think this is the right time to discuss your opinion? Who is the target audience?

It’s easy to test this before you send the pitch: Try to pitch the story to a friend or family member. Tell them to be honest. Or, detach yourself from the pitch and ask yourself if you’d click on that link and read the story.

This isn’t to say that every op-ed needs to reach a massive audience. Rather, it’s important that a good op-ed be for somebody other than yourself, even if that potential audience is low. To write for an audience, you must know who that audience is, or you run the risk of writing for nobody.

It doesn’t have to be serious

Video games are a fun hobby, and there are plenty of lighthearted things to argue about in any given game, genre, or franchise. You don’t have to be super-serious with your pitch, but even an assertion that’s meant to be fun has to be backed up with a well-thought-out argument about why it’s true.

Pitch op-eds and essays to [email protected]

We do not currently accept review pitches. Generally speaking, our internal staff handles most big releases, though we don’t always have the time or expertise. In those cases, we prefer to work with writers who have contributed to the site in the past.

There are a couple exceptions: If you have a strong angle for the next big game, we would love to hear it. We are always fielding opinion pieces for new games our team might otherwise overlook. Please keep in mind all of our pitching advice mentioned above. We also accept review pitches for older games, whether they’ve received significant updates or simply warrant a fresh critical reassessment after a prolonged period of time.

In 2018, Polygon replaced its traditional review structure and scoring system with Polygon Recommends. You can read more about the program here. Here’s the key takeaway:

When a game is released, we may publish impressions of the early hours. Or after launch, we might highlight a small but unexpected detail. Maybe we’ll provide a guide to help you navigate the opaque opening moments. It’s likely we’ll publish something very similar to the classic review every now and then. For the games our audience cares about most, expect a hodgepodge of all these things and other ideas, too. Games may be reviewed at different times by different authors over many years, because games that launch today may look completely different four years from now. For example, a newcomer’s review of Rainbow Six Siege on the day it launches is important for early adopters and fans of the series. But a review of Rainbow Six Siege years later by somebody who has sunk hundreds of hours into competitive play serves a different and just as valid audience. Polygon can and should be a home to both of those approaches.

Reviewers and opinion writers are encouraged to pitch interesting and fresh approaches. With hundreds of new games released each month, think of your review as an opportunity to illuminate something surprising, beautiful, infuriating, challenging, or pleasurable about the game of your choice. Consider the best way to communicate why the reader should care about this game above all the rest.

Pitch reviews to [email protected] with REVIEW in the subject line

Pitch opinions to [email protected]

Our features include investigations, profiles, trend analysis, retrospectives, and other creative projects. Generally, we value stories that focus more on people than they do on products. We tend to limit author opinion and value strong reporting, unique access, and unique approaches.

For any story pitch, please include links to previous similar stories you’ve written, and briefly answer the following questions:

  • In one sentence, what is your idea?
  • What makes this story interesting to someone who has never heard of the people or products involved?
  • What research or access do you have or intend to get that will move the story forward beyond what’s already out there on this topic?

Pitch features to [email protected]

Source: Polygon

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