Call for Columnists: Brainy, Artful Generalists, Rejoice!

With the intent of providing continued intelligent and entertaining content in the PopMatters' Columns section, we are looking to broaden our staff of columnists and the voice of our writers' community.

With the intent of providing continued intelligent and entertaining content in the PopMatters' Columns section, we are looking to broaden our staff of columnists and the voice of our writers' community. We're particularly interested in writers who live and work outside of the US, but that is not a deciding factor; in all cases, no matter the writer's locale, we're looking for those who can approach an array of cultural subject matter from their patch of the world with an international sensibility; that is, contextualize the local with an awareness of its place, historical and current, in the broader world.

Qualified writers are already readers of PopMatters (as but one vital supplement in their varied intellectual diet). They are familiar with the work of our current columnists, as well as other areas of the magazine, and they have a solid sense of what we're looking for in content and caliber in these essays. We deliberately use the terms "essays" and "columns" interchangeably; as pieces are broad in scope yet grounded in real-world examples, and they are tied to regular deadlines and an established identity (and therein lay the "columnist" element). With these expectations in mind, we have monthly and every-other-month column slots available. Suitable writers are dedicated to regular deadlines and enjoy participating in friendly, ongoing communications with their editor.

Note: Ideas are often more compelling than individuals. We’re looking for writers who can consider the subject matter, whatever it may be, in a broad cultural and historical context. We interview a range of individual artists elsewhere on PopMatters, and do it very well. In columns, however, we’re interested in a broad approach, rather than a microscopic or individual focus.

Some specific subject areas we’d like to see filled, although we’re open to additional ideas:

  • Contemporary Television: TV is where some of the best (and worst) entertainment writing is happening. Smart, in-depth consideration, rooted in historical understanding, on a range of topics in contemporary TV is of great interest to PopMatters readers.

  • Music: Generalists, rejoice! PopMatters seeks music generalists who can write intelligently on trends and ideas in music. We’re also seeking writers who love to write about, well, the world of ‘World’ music.

    Electronic music writers: Join our roster of columnists on The Difference Engine. If you'd like to pen a column that rotates amongst our current writers, we'd like to hear from you -- as would our readers.

    Indie rock writers: The Slanted, Enchanted column currently lies fallow. Cultivate it, and make it grow. Multiple writers are encouraged.

  • Technology: Whether your focus is on social media, gadgets, or the larger philosophical issues about technology and society, we’re interested.

  • Visual Arts: If you’re one to go to gallery openings, troll through exhibits and museums, and follow the work of artists (painters, photographers, sculptures, performance artists, etc.) you will find an educated, interested readership, here.

  • Contemporary Film: Clearly, this is one of the richest platforms for ideas, techniques, stories of the human condition, history, speculation of our future, and all-around cultural commentary available to modern Man. What more need be said? Well, you tell us.

If one of these opportunities appeals to you, here's how you get started: send links or pdfs or three magazine-style writing samples, preferably published work. Write a 2-3 paragraph column proposal providing a clearly-defined concept for your column that will guide you through limitless topics. That proposal should include 5 future topics you are eager to write about, should you work as a PopMatters columnist. Indicate why the regular deadline of a column appeals to you over the option of submitting an occasional feature piece for PopMatters' consideration, as well as the publishing frequency offered that appeals to you.

Write your first column that, if accepted, will be your debut issue. Note: The first column should not be about what the column is going to be about. Rather, dive directly into the subject matter. Provide a few column titles that you think succinctly capture your column concept. Also, provide your bio and any personal information about yourself that you would like to share. Proposals not providing complete information, as outlined, will not be considered.

Many of our writers are called upon for their opinion by notable members of the media such as the BBC, NPR, MSNBC, Radio Australia, and VH1. Publications such as USA,, and regularly pick up links to PopMatters articles and post quotes from PopMatters writers. Many PopMatters stories are carried across McClatchey-Tribune's wire services with more than 60 US newspapers and 1,200 media clients worldwide and MCT Campus, a national wire service reaching more than 1,000 college and high school newspapers.

Send your PopMatters Columnist Application to: Karen Zarker, Senior Editor, zarker at popmatters dot com, Subject line: PopMatters Columnist Application, or, PopMatters Brainy, Artful Generalist.

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Note: we are unable to pay you monetarily at this time. But you retain your copyright and are published by this reputable magazine, wherein you are rewarded with a platform to broaden your readership, currently 1 million unique monthly readers, who enjoy reading and engaging with long-form essays and thinkpieces.

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