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PopMatters Seeks Television Critics and Essayists

We are interested in articles about quality television shows. These TV series challenge prejudices and subvert assumptions, and are as artful in their depiction as the best cinema.

PopMatters, a highly respected online magazine that has been publishing quality articles that bridge popular culture and academia since 1999 (!), seeks writers who want to engage their readership with their ideas about international, as well as regional, television shows. If you’re a historically-minded television critic or essayist, you’ll want PopMatters‘ savvy, educated readers to read your work. PopMatters provides that highly-desired demographic. And thanks to streaming services, television programs from throughout the world are in abundance throughout the world.

“Ideas” and “International” are keywords for this call.

We are interested in articles about quality television shows (e.g., not Real Housewives and shows of that ilk). These are television series that challenge prejudices and subvert assumptions, that are as artful in their depiction as the best cinema, that have understated humor, that are rich in meta- and sub-text, that explore a range of genres and subject matter, shows that excite, engage, and make us think — like your articles make your readers think.

Interesting programs may be drama or comedy, documentary or animation, political or food shows, sitcoms or superheroes — no matter the form a television series applies to its storytelling method, if it is a quality program it merits your — and your readers’ — attention for compelling reasons.

Please use the subject line: PopMatters TV Application

Are You Serious About Television?

In-depth cultural/historical critique is valued at PopMatters. Our writers, like our readers, tend to be cultural omnivores. Writers may view a program through a not-so-obvious feminist angle, with historical and/or contemporary human rights struggles in mind, with a critical eye toward consumerism, or simply with a tongue-in-cheek sense of erudite humor.

You enjoy diving far deeper into a series than simply plot summary or actor adulation — we know that series’ writers are the real talent behind the best television shows. You bring a healthy knowledge of global and regional history and television history to your critique. We don’t expect you to know everything, but what you don’t know, you’ll research, with pleasure, and share with your readers.

Your articles may cross over into books and films about television, interviews with scriptwriters, producers, and others. You’re an educator, in that regard, and PopMatters‘ mission is to educate as well as entertain. We’re perfect for each other!


Who’s Watching the Watchers?

This is for the academically-inclined essayists who enjoy writing about the medium: the viewers, the business, changes in the industry, the broad cultural ramifications of television genres, fandom theory, and more. Be as erudite as you like, however, PopMatters serves as a bridge between academia and popular culture, so write for a smart, informed readership that enjoys the magazine-style writing we publish PopMatters. Please avoid words like “hegemony” and phrases like “this paper will discuss…” We don’t publish footnotes, but Works Cited is encouraged.


Lighten Up!

We encourage shorter articles (around 500-800 words) and informed lists with some flesh on their bones (introduction/argument, 10 or more topics with a paragraph or two supporting each, and final paragraph indulging your opinion). Shorter articles and lists might be on subjects such as:

  • Is dubbing better or worse than subtitles? List your examples and conclude with your opinion. (And do a little research into a little company called “Deepdub” for your list.)
  • An actor’s best and worst TV roles? (And why.)
  • The best opening credits in (genre / time period) television shows.
  • The best and worst “twists” in horror shows.
  • What are some of the best programs produced in your country and what’s so great about them that your readers will want to seek them out?


Let’s Hear Your Ideas

Note: We’ll change the channel on episode summaries, celebrity gossip, starry-eyed fandom, yada yada yada.

PopMatters, est. 1999, publishes for posterity. Our work is indexed by the ProQuest Database and used in classrooms. The articles published on PopMatters may be referenced by future readers and academics through libraries worldwide. Many articles are picked up by anthologies. So please, write with that international and future readership in mind, e.g., make your articles “evergreen” — and a good resource.

Occasional submissions are received via PopMatters’ Submittable — the portal to this process, below — are welcome. However, if you’re interested in joining the PopMatters community, please indicate so with your submission. Staff writers join PopMatters‘ Slack community, have access to cultural products that, if assigned, we will order for you. Staff writers take on what their time and interests allow–nothing is foisted on them–but once a requested assignment is agreed to, a deadline is set. We are particularly looking for people that plan to contribute a few times a month or more, as their time and interest allow.

Please use the subject line: PopMatters TV Application

NOTE: PopMatters is a wholly independent magazine of cultural criticism, est. 1999. Our mission is to educate readers and document our period on the cultural timeline. We publish for posterity. PopMatters is a highly respected magazine because of its ideals and its fine writers and editorial staff. However, such high ideals are not monetarily rewarded in today’s publishing climate. For this reason, we can offer you an excellent publishing platform for your quality work and our social media efforts – but for now, we are unable to pay you for your articles. Even the editors are currently volunteering their time. We are presently a 100% volunteer organization with all advertising revenue supporting our basic expenses. Writers retain ownership of their copyright on articles, so they can use them for books and other projects. Their essays are indexed in ProQuest, as PopMatters is educational in our mission.