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Time Out Chicago

How to pitch stories to Time Out Chicago

We can’t wait to hear your ideas! Here’s a little more info about what we’re looking for.

Written by
Time Out Chicago editors

Thanks for your interest in writing for Time Out Chicago! We’re always looking for smart, thoughtful pitches from Chicago-based writers—but before you send in your ideas, please 1.) Take a look at these guidelines and 2.) Read through our archives to get a sense for Time Out’s areas of coverage. Have additional questions? Feel free to reach out to Jeffy Mai at

What we’re looking for

  • Trend stories (especially food and drink trends): Noticing a certain cocktail popping up over and over again on local drink lists? How about a food craze that’s all over Instagram? We want to hear about it! 
  • New list features: Time Out curates best-of lists (example here and here) and how-to guides (example here and here) on a number of topics. If you have an idea for a list we haven’t covered yet, send it in! 
  • City identity listicles: Funny, niche and pride-filled breakdowns of things only Chicagoans would understand—from 16 things Chicagoans do that are absolutely disgusting to 20 Chicago slang words you should know.
  • Glimpses into Chicago-specific internet culture: Like Goth Target
  • Reported features
  • Deep dives/cultural histories

What we’re not looking for  

  • Repeat stories: Look up your story idea using our search bar to see if we’ve published something similar. 
  • Reviews: Sorry, but all of our reviews are conducted by staff writers at the moment. 
  • Time-sensitive news posts  
  • Interviews

How to pitch 

Send your pitches to Time Out Chicago editor Jeffy Mai ( with “PITCH:” in the subject line. Please include the following details in the body of your email: 

  • A short biography and links to clips
  • Potential headline(s) 
  • A brief (i.e. no more than two paragraphs) description of your story idea including news peg/why it’s timely
  • Sources you’d talk to (when applicable)
  • Ideas for imagery

Time Out also works with a number of regular freelancers to help update our existing list features. If you’re interested in joining that pool, get in touch with a bio including relevant experience and 3–5 clips. 


Rates may vary depending on workload and word count, but here’s a general breakdown: 

  • New list features: $250
  • Reported features/trend stories (600-1,250 words): $0.25-$0.40 a word
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