Contributing to Oregon Humanities

Oregon Humanities publishes essays, photographs, films, audio recordings, data visualizations and infographics, and other media that explore the thoughts, perspectives, and experiences of Oregonians, especially those who have been ignored, generalized, or oppressed. Work is published on our website or in print in Oregon Humanities magazine.

We exclusively publish work by Oregon-based creators. Before you submit your pitch, proposal, or draft to us, please get familiar with what we publish in our magazine and online. You may request a physical sample copy of the magazine by emailing editors@oregonhumanities.org or by calling the Oregon Humanities office at (503) 241-0543.

We prefer to consider completed drafts, but we also accept queries and proposals that concisely articulate the focus, argument, and content of the proposed article, as well as the resources you will use and any particular experience you have with the subject matter. Share with us why you are the one who should create this piece. We only accept completed drafts of Posts and personal essays.

We pay on acceptance, after the satisfactory completion of required revisions. Payment ranges from $200 to $300 for shorter online pieces and $500 to $1000 for personal essays and features; payment varies depending on the length and complexity of the piece, and whether it is an original, commissioned work or a reprint or adaptation of an existing piece. We will consider and offer a modest honorarium for previously published work, as well as book and other excerpts. We do not pay for Posts, but thank writers who are published with a $25 gift card.

We prefer to receive submissions and queries electronically. If your query is longer than one page, please attach it as a Word document and make sure that your name and contact information are included on the attachment. We will also consider submissions by postal mail.

Please note that at this time, we do not accept unsolicited submissions of poetry and fiction.

We respond to submissions within six weeks of the deadline for each call for submissions. We only accept submissions when there is an open call. We distribute our call for submissions through media, literary, and academic organizations, as well as through social media and our enewsletter mailing list. Please sign up for the Oregon Humanities enewsletter to guarantee that you receive calls for submissions for Oregon Humanities.

 

About Our Publications 

 

Oregon Humanities magazine

Oregon Humanities is a general interest magazine about the experiences, ideas, and beliefs of Oregonians. The magazine is published three times each year, in spring, summer, and fall. In each issue, Oregon writers, artists, and readers explore diverse perspectives and challenging questions relating to the place we live and the people who live here. 

Oregon Humanities is a magazine of many voices. It embraces collaboration, learning, and multiple ways of knowing. It rejects simple explanations and single answers. It respects expertise and affirms that everyone is the leading expert of their own experiences. It strives to make space for stories by people who have been ignored, generalized, or oppressed.

Oregon Humanities magazine has been published since 1989 by Oregon Humanities, an independent nonprofit organization.

Upcoming Themes

  • Fall/Winter 2022: Underground (December 2022)
  • Spring 2023: Joy and Pain (April 2023)
  • Summer 2023: Shelter (August 2023)
  • Fall/Winter 2023: Green (December 2023)

Magazine submission categories

Features tend to be either articles that use the various techniques of magazine journalism (i.e., reportage, interviewing, character development, narrative) or scholarly essays (i.e., well-researched deep dives into a particular topic) that are written for a general audience. Features in Oregon Humanities employ the methodologies of the humanities—including critical inquiry, analysis, and reflection—to connect Oregonians to ideas that engage and challenge them to work for more just communities. All features, no matter how subtly, should make an argument and offer a theory and supporting evidence that help our readers consider the theme in new and surprising ways. Features are generally between 2,500 and 4,000 words long and must consider a particular issue’s theme. We do accept pitches for features.

Personal essays should not be merely anecdotal or narrative, but should also offer an argument, reflection, and revelation that illuminate each issue’s theme. Personal essays are usually no longer than 2,000 words. We only accept completed drafts of personal essays.

Posts, the “readers write” section of the magazine, encourages readers to reflect on each issue’s theme in 400 words or less. We look for nonfiction submissions that address the given theme through anecdotes or reflection rather than op-ed-style commentary. Some examples include: "What's Left Behind" by Kathleen Worley, "Remembering My 'Why'" by Crystal Muñoz, and "Everything is Held" by Bija Gutoff.

Writers who don’t have clips or prior publishing experience will have the best chance of being published in this section. Published Posts writers will receive complimentary copies of their issue of the magazine as well as a $25 gift card of their choosing.

Excerpts are standalone pieces from a published or forthcoming nonfiction book. Excerpts are generally around 2,000 and 3,000 words long (or around three magazine pages), and must explore a larger idea, argument, or reflection that can connect to the issue’s theme. Graphic memoirs and essays are considered, with length and adaptability to the magazine’s format as a primary concern. Please send review copies of books you would like considered for excerpts to Oregon Humanities magazine, 610 SW Alder St., Suite 1111, Portland, OR 97205. Feel free to send a PDF for review to editors@oregonhumanities.org.

Art is accepted for the cover and table of contents. Artists are paid between $250 and $400, depending on placement. We are most in interested in submissions by Oregon artists. 

Online publications

Beyond the Margins is a twice-monthly online and email publication that draws both from magazine submissions and calls for submissions. We publish essays, reporting, audio and written interviews, excerpts, videos, photo essays, and other media that tell timely and evergreen community-based and under-told stories that engage, connect, and challenge Oregonians. Read through recent stories on our website to get familiar with the type of content we publish. Beyond the Margins is not thematic. Written submissions have ranged in length from 800 to 2,500 words, but length is not strictly enforced. For editorial audio, video, and multimedia projects with larger scopes, payment and process vary from the details above—please email editors@oregonhumanities.org with your proposal or query. Submissions are only accepted when there is an open call.

This Land is an online multimedia project that collects and connects stories about land, home, belonging, and identity by Oregon’s communities of color. The project uses film, words, maps, photos, sounds, and graphics by creators of color to build a broader understanding of how policies and laws shape systems of power and land ownership in Oregon’s past and present. This Land stories are circulated in Beyond the Margins—please indicate that you would like your story to be considered for This Land in your Beyond the Margins proposal, pitch, or draft.

 

Editorial Policies

Transparency

  • Funding for Oregon Humanities’s publications comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Autzen Foundation, and donations from individuals. We receive no money from advertising, and we publish the names of all donors and sponsors.
  • We publish the rates we pay writers and artists, so that no one submits work without knowing what they may be compensated.
  • Oregon Humanities is committed to telling readers when an error has been made, the magnitude of the error, and the correct information, as quickly as possible. This commitment and transparency is applicable to small errors as well as large, across our content. When an error occurs, Oregon Humanities will publish a notification of correction at the bottom of the relevant story, identifying the nature of the error and providing the correct information in the body of the text and in the correction notice. To request a correction, please email editors@oregonhumanities.org.
  • Our publications are supported by our staff and our board of directors. We also work with a volunteer editorial advisory board that includes writers, editors, journalists, and scholars who provide advice on editorial decisions and help promote calls for submissions and subscribers. A list of current advisory board members may be found here.
  • Oregon Humanities strives to emphasize equity and inclusion in all the work we do. To guide us in this work, we use our Equity and Inclusion Lens Handbook, which we developed in 2017.
  • We publish our style guide to explain the choices we make around words related to race and identity, non-English words, and so on. We also share the resources we use to inform those decisions.

Respect

We insist everyone who contributes to the magazine, including editors, designers, and writers, treat sources, subjects, colleagues, and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect. Some of the ways we practice respect include the following:

  • Acknowledging receipt of all submissions with a timeline for notification of acceptance or rejection
  • Promptly notifying all contributors of acceptance or rejection after a decision has been made
  • Offering feedback on all rejected submissions and giving it promptly when it is requested
  • Paying contributors promptly upon acceptance of their finished work
  • Providing all contributors to print publications copies of the finished product shortly after we receive it
  • Supporting contributors in publicizing their work and providing references and testimonials when needed
  • Paying competitive rates to contributors and annually comparing our rates to other magazines and online publications

Inclusion

Oregon Humanities strives to reflect the diversity in race, gender, wealth, education, and geography of people who live in Oregon. Some of the ways we practice inclusion follow.

  • When we talk about “complexity” as related to compensation, we mean not only stories that involve lengthy reporting or analysis but also stories that are difficult to write because of oppression or trauma.
  • Whenever possible, we work with writers with personal connections to the subjects or communities they write about. We ask, Is this writer the right person to tell this story? Is this their story, or a story they have some connection to? If not, do we think they will tell the story respectfully?
  • We recognize that editing some stories may require expertise beyond that possessed by our staff. When we need advice or assistance in editing, we compensate those who give it for their time and knowledge.
  • We strive to work with first-time writers and writers with minimal publication experience. 

Accessibility

We strive for accessibility in the design of our print and online publications. The magazine is offered free of charge to Oregon residents.

Reader Engagement and Feedback

One of Oregon Humanities’ core values is community, and we appreciate the thoughts, ideas, and expertise of our community of readers. We regularly survey readers to solicit feedback on the content and design of our publications and incorporate that feedback into our editorial decisions. We encourage readers to suggest themes, stories, and contributors for our publications and to contribute to the Posts section of each issue.

We support readers who use our publications and media to inspire conversation in their communities, providing copies and recordings at low or no cost whenever possible.

Although we do not currently have a section in our print magazine for letters to the editor, we do encourage readers to leave comments on our website, and respond promptly to all communications from readers. We can be reached at editors@oregonhumanities.org.

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