Writing for Your Local Arts & Culture Column: My Evening with WBUR’s The ARTery Editors Sharing Writing Tips
The ARTery is the arts & culture forum for WBUR (local Boston news radio and website of NPR). I’m sharing my takeaways after hearing their editors talk about writing. Hopefully, this may inspire you to write for the arts & culture columns of your local publications.
Grubstreet is an incredible writing organization in Boston with classes. They also offer free events that are fun, helpful, and provide space to meet other writers. After a writer event, I feel much more motivated to write. Let’s face it. Writing can get lonely. I found my community at Boston Writers of Color, where it’s about celebrating diversity and representation in the literati world. BWOC hosts monthly events. This month, they invited The ARTery’s Marcia Garcia and Arielle Gray to speak about their publication’s unique traits and writing for them.
Here are the takeaways and some helpful information if you’re interested in writing for The ARTery.
The ARTery: it’s part of WBUR, Boston, and covers the arts and culture. Arts include: visual arts, performing arts (such as music, dance, and theatre), book reviews from New England authors, fashion, music, film/TV, food, books, poetry. Other topics include culture, enterprise, and commentary. They are essentially seeking Arts & Culture topics with a local Boston focus.
Topics they accept. There are 3 types of pieces they accept. 1, Reported, 2, Reviews, and 3, Commentary such as op-Eds.
- All topics should have a local Boston focus. They will cover as far as Western Massachusetts and suburbs. They have covered a story in Lynn. Depending on your piece, it may be necessary to research local publications localizing in the Boston suburbs such as Northshore Magazine for fit and style. Just like any other publication, it’s a good idea to browse and read a few articles to get a sense of their style.
- Book reviews from New England authors will do well here.
- Profiles of unknown or lesser known voices will be accepted if it’s written from an interesting bent.
- They will accept food writing too.
Pitching guidelines. Send an email pitch with 2 paragraphs with appropriate links. Include why you should write it and target audience. The contact person would be: Maria Garcia. Senior Editor. mariaeg (at) wbur.org
Pet Peeves and considerations before pitching.
- Do NOT pitch something because you like it, the piece or idea should appeal to the audience and have significance. Stories reported should be interesting to you in a deeper way.
- Do not send pitches through Social Media’s Direct Message.
- Do not send clips without introductory information or context.
- Do not send long pitches. Please stick to 2 paragraphs with relevant links.
- No super shorts or vague pitches. There should be “enough meat to sink teeth into and to get a good taste.”
- Informed point of view or perspective especially with race, class, gender intersecting with culture will help get your foot in the door.
What else you need to know.
- They like to get back to you within 48 hours after receiving email but it could be 1–2 weeks during busy seasons. (I’m impressed by their quick response time. Some publications will take months to respond).
- It’s OK to send status update email if you haven’t heard in a week. But please use common sense and don’t constantly badger the editors either.
- They allow simultaneous pitches, but you should check rules with the other publications about their policy on simultaneous pitches.
My thoughts. After hearing them talk about the ARTery, I felt a sense of excitement and came up with ideas. This sounds like an opportunity for new Boston writers to get a few clips. They are open to new writers. The key is to find a unique slant to an interesting topic relevant to ARTery’s readers. With all pitches, read through the publication to get a sense of the topics they cover and if your piece is a right fit. If you feel that your local piece sounds more “mainstream” then your best bet is pitching to magazines like Merrimack Valley and Northshore.
Indu Guzman is a book marketer/publicist living in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Occasionally, she edits literary fiction as well. Before settling down in the Boston suburbs, she lived in 5 countries (India, Dubai U.A.E, U.S.A, Argentina, Singapore) and visited many others. Experiencing the larger world helped Indu see the universal themes among the human experience. In other words, we all have much more in common than differences. She explores third-culture kid experience, family dynamics, trauma and loss through her fiction. She can be found at the-penlife.com