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How To Pitch: Narratively

Write captivating human-interest stories for this growing online publication.

By Alisha Tillery - October 15, 2013
Monthly visitors: 100,000 and growing
Updated: Weekly

Background: Named of one Time's "50 Best Websites 2013," Narratively is the alternative to today's fast-paced, blanket-news outlet. The New York City-based online publication's name sums up its mission.

"'As soon as [Narratively] was mentioned, we all felt that it encapsulated what we wanted to do -- just tell the best stories we could in an engaging, narrative style," says the site's editorial director, Brendan Spiegel.

The site's tagline, "Human stories, boldly told," is another apt description. Of the concept, Spiegel says, "We were all writers and photographers and reporters in New York who were interested in telling local, in-depth stories -- human-interest stories; profiles of colorful characters, people and neighborhoods. The kind of thing that you don't really see anymore now that newspaper metro sections are shrinking, and there's not a lot of high-quality local journalism anymore."

These days, Narratively publishes stories regardless of location, from Manhattan to Mumbai. The site launched in New York, but quickly expanded to a more global focus on untold human stories. "We've just found that our readers really like these colorful local stories, and it doesn't matter if they're from their own city or from the other side of the world," says Spiegel.

There are about five new stories per week that are slotted into pre-selected themes chosen by the editorial staff. Rather than specific sections or columns, there are topics, such as "Tough Medicine," in which you'll find stories about parents memorializing their deceased infant children or a first-person account of the grueling treatments for multiple sclerosis.

Writers who enjoy long-form journalism should definitely pitch Narratively. Spiegel says his readers are the types who listen to the public radio show This American Life and those "people who want a break from the frantic blogosphere and Twitterverse, where people are cranking out 100 stories a minute and reporting the same thing."

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