How to pitch for WIRED UK’s Work Smarter section

I love commissioning new and diverse voices for my section in WIRED UK’s print magazine. If you’ve never written for WIRED business before, don’t be discouraged. I am interested in compelling and diligent journalism, with plenty of colour and nuance, same as any other section or publication. Here are some guidelines that will hopefully help!

We work incredibly far in advance to put together the bimonthly issues of WIRED UK. As I write, it’s July and I’m already working on the November/December issue of the magazine! So it’s important that you pitch early, and pitch something that isn’t going to be out of date by the time we publish it.

This section is about the way that we work — it’s about businesses and the way that they affect people’s everyday working lives. As such, I am interested in an incredibly varied array of topics: recruitment (hiring, firing, retention); discrimination (bias, sexism, gender gap, lack of diversity, tokenism); work-life balance (remote working, flexible working, working from home, presenteeism); innovation (new technologies that promote inclusivity, measures that dramatically improve productivity, out-of-the-box thinking, ROBOTS!); and workspaces (future of work, gig economy, co-bots, open plan offices v cubicles)… But we can’t cram all of those topics into each issue. So there are pre-set themes for each bimonthly magazine. Please check with me if you’d like to know what the latest theme is before you pitch.

Please, PLEASE read the Work Smarter section online before you pitch for the magazine. You’ll learn so much about the style of what I’m looking for, and will avoid pitching something that has already been published! You can also get in touch about a piece that won’t work for the mag but could be great online: https://www.wired.co.uk/topic/work-smarter

I want diverse voices that represent the UK’s workforce to write for me and shape this section. I want writers to find interviewees who are just as diverse, and give voice to the many LGBTQ+, BAME and female-led businesses that don’t traditionally get as much coverage as ones run by white male counterparts.

I want a strong voice and a coherent argument in each of the pieces that I commission. When you pitch, send me a couple of lines about why we should do this piece and what your central argument will be. What is new? What are you uncovering? I don’t want state-of-the nation trend pieces, or a story about how someone did a thing. It has to stand up as something important that anyone who is working will feel like they want to read. Avoid the obvious.

Please put PITCH in the subject line of your email so that it doesn’t fall into the void :). And if you are a journalist please feel free to chase me (to any PRs reading this, please don’t, you created the void).

Things I do not want:

I am not interested in an interview with the founder of a company. I find it lazy. I’ve had hundreds of those pitches, and none are successful. We don’t do ‘talking head’ type profiles in WIRED. If you can gain exclusive access to the business, give us an angle that other people don’t know about or uncover something interesting about an entrepreneur that an entire market will be interested in, then pitch it like that!

In general, I am not interested in first-person accounts (unless you have the most unusual story to tell, that is). I tend to commission things that are affecting many people — like mental health repercussions of working from home, or discrimination in the workplace, or how companies are adapting to work after coronavirus. Before you pitch, ask yourself whether your story is unique and has a different perspective, or not. So for example, if it’s a first person piece about working from home, that’s not going to be enough to pique my interest.

If you’ve read about the same topic in the Guardian, or someone’s spoken about it on Radio 4, it’s probably not a pitch that will work for me. This section forces me to think in the future — what are business leaders and employees going to be talking about in six months’ time? If it’s in the mainstream media now, then it will be stale then.

Do not, under any circumstances, re-pitch me PR.

Business editor @ WIRED UK. Tech journo covering businesses that are shaping the way we live and work

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