Professional Writing

This assignment asks you to pick a publication or publisher to analyze and to write for. This publication/publisher can be large or small, old or new, print or digital, corporate giant or independent, literary or something else (cultural, musical, political, economic, sports-focused, etc.). It could be a newspaper, magazine, website, book publisher, record label, etc. For literary magazines, you might search the list on Poets & Writers (you can search by genre and subgenre, and there are over 1000 magazines listed!). For independent publishers, a few lists might be helpful, including those from Flavorwire and New Pages. Once you have selected a publication/publisher, you should produce two texts: a rhetorical analysis of the publication and an article pitch.

Rhetorical Analysis

This part of the assignment should be about 500-700 words, and it draws on similar skills and strategies as our previous analysis papers. Your analysis should focus on how the publication establishes its identity and appeals to readers, and you will likely focus on 2-4 aspects of how the publication presents itself as a text with attention to content, images, and design. In this sense, you can consider the sort of content that gets published, images and advertisements incorporated into the publication, cover design, font and other stylistic markers, use of color and contrast, layout, etc.

Attention to these details and aspects of the publication will allow you to address two further concerns. First, how do these textual features shape our understanding of the publication? How would you describe the orientation of the publication – its style, character, values, and identity – based on these features? What makes this publication unique? Next, consider the audience for the publication. If you have a good sense for what sort of audience this publication has, comment on how these textual features and the publication’s orientation appeal to this audience. If you don’t have a sense for the publication’s audience, comment on what sort of audience would likely be drawn toward the publication based on its textual features and orientation. The rhetorical analysis should be accessible on your site as a post, page, or attachment.

Article Pitch

For this component of the assignment, imagine yourself as a freelance writer pitching an article to the publication. As the link notes, your pitch should take the following format:

Paragraph 1: Your name, your occupation, where you are, the story you have in mind

Paragraph 2: Why it matters, who you can talk to to write it, your sources, if you’re already done some work on it

Paragraph 3: If you’re working with video/photo/multimedia, etc say so

Paragraph 4: Your writing history, your expertise, where your work has been published

Another way of saying this is that your pitch should address three questions: What is the story or idea you are pitching? Why should this publication publish it? And why are you the person to write it?

The challenge here will be coming up with a story that you could potentially pitch to the publication. While you do not have to write the article itself, you do have to successfully pitch an article that would be interesting and appropriate for the publication. The pitch should be accessible on your site as a post, page, or attachment.