freelance writing

Build Your Platform with Freelance Writing: History News Network

HNNAre you looking for ways to connect history lovers to your historical research? Would you like to build an audience for your blog or increase your social media followers?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you should write guest posts or articles for established blogs and publications, which will introduce your work to new readers.

In this post, you will discover information about the History News Network, a well-established, digital publication that accepts freelance writing.



The Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University hosts the History News Network (HNN). The CHNM created the digital publication “to help put current events into historical perspective.” To this end, HNN primarily publishes op-ed articles.

HNN values historians’ work. Its founders and editors understand that society can’t escape its history and that the best way to look at the present is within the context of the past. The HNN editorial team tries to better our world by placing historians’ work in front of millions of readers.

History News Network has a substantial following: Around 300,000 people visit its website each month. Over 12,000 people subscribe to its newsletter. 8,000 people follow its Twitter account. And, its article archive generates over 10 million hits (or file requests) per month.

HNN attracts a lot of attention not only because history is always relevant, but because its editorial team vets each article. Readers can be sure that a subject-matter expert has written each piece.

The CHNM works to ensure the wide dissemination of the information published by History News Network. HNN encourages other publications to reprint its articles and allows search engines such as Google and Yahoo Search to use spiders to search its archives, which helps place HNN articles within their search results.


Overview: How to Write an Op-Ed

Typewriter oldHNN primarily publishes op-ed articles that look at current events within the context of history.

Its mission statement stipulates that historians have a duty “to expose politicians who misrepresent history,” "point out bogus analogies," "deflate beguiling myths," "remind Americans of the irony of history,” place events in context, and "remind us all of the complexity of history.” Op-eds serve historians well as they perform these duties.

Op-eds present thoughts and ideas about a current situation. They also make a case for why those thoughts and ideas are valid and important.


Op-ed Anatomy

Op-eds contain five parts: hook or lede, argument, evidence, acknowledgement of counter argument, and conclusion.

A good op-ed will make an argument that takes readers from point A to point B. It should contain a viewpoint based on at least three pieces of evidence. And it should make an attempt to consider an obvious counter argument.

Considering an obvious counter argument will help you establish your authority with readers.

The OpEd Project teaches three strategies for how to consider an obvious counter argument:

1. Acknowledge and Dismiss: Admit the obvious counter argument and state why readers can dismiss it.

Example: Some people say….but no one thinks this way today.


2. Validate and Trump: Recognize the validity of a counter argument and raise new evidence or a case study that overcomes the counter argument.

Example: Some people say…but history shows that if we ignore the situation it will worsen.


3. Personal Caveat: A stipulation that you cannot dismiss the counter argument, but you still offer valuable ideas.

Example: Attack me if you want, but I still have an opinion worth consideration.


By acknowledging and overcoming a counter argument, you will show yourself to be a rational, reasonable person who demonstrates respect for your readers.


American online newapaper web sitesHow to Submit an Op-Ed to HNN

The HNN editorial team encourages historians to submit articles that contain around 1,000 words. They recoginize that some subjects may require more than 1,000 words and others less, so 1,000 words does not appear to be a hard limit.

You must include a resume with your submission to demonstrate that you possess subject-matter exerptise.

Your op-ed should be free of footnotes and contain embedded hyperlinks to any outside source where you wish to direct readers.

You should submit your article to HNN via You should receive an editor's decision within three business days.


Tips for Success

HNN Editor Rick Shenkman revealed that “if there is a trick to getting a piece into HNN, it is to figure out how to frame an issue such that people will care about it.”

One way to accomplish this would be to tell your reader something new about an event or frame an old issue in a new way.


Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailCompensation

HNN compensates authors with exposure. Its editorial team encourages historians to affect public discourse by publicizing the relevancy of their scholarship.

HNN will include an image and link to your new book, if you write an op-ed based on the ideas within it.



History News Network offers a fantastic opportunity to expand the reach of your historical work. HNN will expose your research (and you) to its large audience of people who are interested in history and its relevance to the present.

History News Network publishes numerous articles each day, which means its editors want and need your content. This means you have a high chance of seeing your work published if you write a well-worded, well-argued op-ed.

Like many history publications, History News Network does not provide financial compensation for writers, but the publicity and exposure that HNN can provide your work may make writing an article well worth the effort.


Share-Your-StoryShare Your Story

Have you ever written an op-ed?

If so, what was it about and where did you publish it?


Build Your Platform with Freelance Writing: New Historian

New HistorianWould you like to extend the reach of your research and writing, build an audience for your blog, or increase your social media followers? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you should write guest posts or articles for established blogs and publications.

Guest posts and articles will expose you and your work to new readers, some of whom will be interested in your research.

In this post, you will discover information about one digital publication that accepts freelance writing: New Historian.


About New Historian

New Historian is a relatively new digital publication, that has a large and growing readership; over 60,000 readers visited the New Historian website in December 2014. Readership should grow rapidly for this publication as several content curation websites like have added New Historian to their feeds.

The editors of New Historian present the electronic magazine as a clearing house for the most recent news about history. The publication covers news about all periods and areas of history and many of its articles highlight interdisciplinary collaborations between academic historians, public historians, archaeologists, and genealogists.

The publication strives to present articles that convey accurate historical information with an “unbiased, apolitical viewpoint."

New Historian offers some history editorials and book reviews, but the strength of the publication lies in its present-day news about history and historical discoveries.


How to Submit Your Article

If you have a new exhibit, an historical discovery, or other breaking news about history you should consider writing an article for New Historian.

New Historian LogoEditors are always looking for accounts of new developments in the field and pieces that provide insight into historical projects and the work of historians. New Historian readers enjoy articles that provide specific details more than stories with broad overviews.

Although New Historian editors are most interested in stories about new historical developments, they will consider articles that promote new books. Editor Glynn Forsythe recommends that pieces about new books focus on a particular aspect of the book.

Forsythe encourages all submissions to be between 500 and 2,000 words.

You can submit your articles and pitches to I recommend placing the words “ARTICLE PITCH” or "NEW SUBMISSION" in your subject line.



Presently, New Historian does not provide financial compensation to freelance writers for their work. However, they offer exposure. If the editors accept your article they will include a link to your book, blog, exhibit, podcast, or website with your post.



New Historian offers an opportunity to expand the reach of your historical work by exposing it (and you) to its large audience of history lovers. As the site publishes multiple articles per day, New Historian editors want and need content to publish.

Like many history publications, New Historian does not provide financial compensation for writers, but the publicity and exposure the site can provide your work may make writing an article well worth the effort.


Share StoryShare Your Story

What publications do you write for to increase the reach of your work?


How to Write a Pitch Letter: Pitch Letter Anatomy & What to Do with Your Academic Credentials

American online newapaper web sitesOn March 10, 2014, Jim Downs responded to Nicholas Kristof’s “Professor’s We Need You!” with “Can Academics Bridge the Gap Between the Academy and the Mainstream Reading Public?” Downs opined that academics face prejudice from mainstream editors.

I agree with Downs: Mainstream editors do have a bias against writers with academic credentials.

Academic prose has a reputation for being inaccessible and long-winded, the type of writing that few outside of academia want to read and publish.

With that said, I think academics would have more luck publishing in mainstream media outlets if they mastered the art of the pitch letter and made sure not to overemphasize the importance of their academic credentials.

In this post you will learn how to write a pitch letter. I will analyze its anatomy and discuss how you can use your academic credentials to impress editors.

What is a Pitch Letter?

A pitch letter is a short version of the larger story you wish to tell.

Pitch letters should not exceed 1-page in length and you should write them in the style and voice of the publication that you would like to write for.

Clarity is key.

You should use simple, declarative sentences, clear paragraphs, and a minimum of qualifiers in your pitch letters.


baseballAnatomy of a Pitch Letter

In my experience a good pitch letter contains 6 paragraphs.

Paragraph 1: Lede/Hook Paragraph

Your first paragraph should introduce the editor to new and interesting information.

It should contain the lede or hook for your story.

A lede/hook is a sentence that grabs your reader and reels them in.

The lede is not a plot summary.

Ledes are more like the slogan you see on a movie poster: A short, simple, catchy sentence.


Paragraph 2: Context for Your Lede

Editors want to publish interesting and timely information.

Follow your Lede/Hook Paragraph with an explanation of why your topic is timely.


LaptopParagraph 3: Access

Will your proposed article require interviews or research?

If so, tell the editor that you have access to the resources and people you need to write the article you propose.

If you have conducted research already, tell the editor about the work you have done.


Paragraph 4: Article Length

How long will the article you propose run? 500 words? 750 words? 1,000 words? Tell the editor.

Also tell the editor if you have access to photographs or images that they could publish with your article.

Editors often privilege pieces that include photographs and images.


Paragraph 5: Biographical Information

Why you are the person to write this article?

Briefly summarize your expertise for the editor.

If you have a master’s degree or Ph.D. in the subject matter of your article, tell the editor in 1 sentence.

Follow this sentence with links to a few of your clips.

If you are an academic, link to clips you have done for non-academic outlets. If you have a book, link to your book.

If you do not have any clips, point to blog posts or let the paragraph end with why you are the person to write the article you proposed.

Do not discuss the fact that you have no clips or limited experience in your pitch letter. Wait for the editor to ask you about your experience.


Thank-YouParagraph 6: Thank You

Thank the editor for their time and consideration.

Tell them where they can reach you.

Sign your name.

If all goes well, you should hear back within a week or two.

If you do not hear back within two weeks send a follow-up e-mail.


Pitch Letter Tips

1. You should send all pitches via e-mail unless your research about the publication tells you otherwise.

(Your research about the publication should also tell you which editor or assistant editor to pitch.)

2. Place “Query: [YOUR BRIEF SUBJECT]” in the subject line of your e-mail

3. Do not send attachments unless the editor asks you to. If you want to send clips or your writer resume, include links to those pages on your website.



Like Professor Downs, I have experienced wariness on the part of editors when it comes to my academic credentials.

I try to win them over by not overemphasizing my Ph.D.

To this end, I emphasize my story first and place my academic credentials in the second to last paragraph of my pitch letters. I talk about my credentials only in a sentence or two and I provide links to clips that reflect my ability to write for mainstream audiences.

I have had two editors ask me to submit articles I have proposed on “spec,” which means they liked my story, but wanted to read the entire article before they committed to publishing it. This happens to non-academic freelance writers too.

I hope that these requests will happen less as I build a track record of published articles in mainstream outlets.


Share-Your-StoryWhat Do You Think?

How do you pitch editors?

Do you have a trick or techniques that have proved helpful to your success with mainstream media?