Calls for Pitches – Indigenous-focussed issue

Introducing the Indigenous-focussed issue 

Photo of shawl designed by Gitxsan textile artist and fashion designer, Sug-ii-t Lukxs (Yolonda Skelton). Photo by Joshua Ngenda.
Photo of shawl designed by Gitxsan textile artist and fashion designer, Sug-ii-t Lukxs (Yolonda Skelton). Photo by Joshua Ngenda.

CALL FOR INDIGENOUS WRITERS 

The Native Students Union and the Martlet are planning a collaboration for early 2022, with funding from the University of Victoria Student Life Grant and Anti-Racism Supplement. In order to have lots of time to develop stories, we are starting the pitch process now! Indigenous students and community members that do not have extensive writing experience are welcome to pitch their ideas.

Even if you only have a rough idea of a story, send it to us and we will help you develop it further. Try to include a topic, the angle at which you would like to approach the story, and an idea of who you would interview (again, we can help develop this further). There will be financial compensation ($150) for eight selected contributing writers and one cover artist! 

All pitches and pitch ideas can be sent to the Indigenous-focussed issue’s editor, Boston Laferté, at communications@uvicnsu.ca 

The deadline for pitches is October 25th. Full articles (approximately 1000 words) are expected to be submitted at the end of December. Ample support will be offered throughout the process and a brief training workshop. Any writer can request to meet with Boston Laferté, Isabella Kennedy, and/or Martlet Editor-in-Chief Kate Korte at any point along the way. The Indigenous-focussed issue will be distributed throughout Victoria and on our campus in early January. 

This project was heavily inspired by Briarpatch’s Land Back issue.

ABOUT THE INDIGENOUS-FOCUSSED ISSUE

The first Indigenous-focussed issue was published in 2020 by the Martlet and the Native Students Union. This is the second installment!

This project will highlight Indigenous news, stories, and artists from the W̱SÁNEĆ and Lək̓ʷəŋən people, and Indigenous peoples from other nations that are living and working on the lands we now call Victoria. Selected writers are expected to spend time developing stories and relationships within a community to ensure proper representation of stories, or building off relationships they may already have. This may involve, for example, having informal chats before and after the actual interview. 

For this issue, we are open to publishing pieces not written in English. If you would like to write a piece partially or fully in an Indigenous language, we would welcome it. However, pitches for all pieces must be in English, so that our editors have a clear understanding of what the story is about. We will also ask that you find two volunteer editors (could be a community member, elder, or fellow student) that are willing to learn about the Martlet’s editing protocols, learn about editing for legal purposes, and edit the piece with these parameters in mind. 

The issue will only feature stories authored by Indigenous students, the cover art will be a commissioned piece by an Indigenous artist, and the entire project is overseen and led by Boston Laferté, the communications coordinator at the Native Students Union, and Isabella Kennedy, a Senior Staff Editor and the former Journalist – focus on Indigenous stories at the Martlet. Where necessary, other Martlet staff may offer mentorship and editing assistance. 

In other local news publications in Victoria, there has not been a concerted effort to partner and mentor Indigenous journalists in this comprehensive and relationship-building way. Further, no other publication that distributes in Victoria, that we are aware of, has devoted an entire issue to Indigenous stories written by Indigenous journalists, with a cover designed by an Indigenous artist. This will be a historic project for the Martlet and represents our continued commitment to building relationships with Indigenous communities.

HOW TO PITCH 

First of all, thank you for your interest in our Indigenous-focussed issue. This is an exciting opportunity, and we are looking forward to seeing the stories come together. If you get stuck at any step along the pitching process, please reach out and we can discuss your ideas with you. The NSU and the Martlet are able to offer eight Indigenous writers $150 for their stories, thanks to funding from the Office of Student Life.

Before pitching, please ensure that you have done some research into your idea and how you might approach your story. Pitches should be about 150-300 words. Here are some elements a pitch should include: 

  • A proposed headline and proposed wordcount
  • Basic information about the story, such as where it takes place, who is involved, and what the main crux of the story is. Also specify which section you think the story is a good fit for (see The Martlet’s sections below)
  • The angle or perspective you plan to take when writing this story. 
  • Is there a local connection to the story? 
  • Why you feel this story is important 
  • How you will get more information to build your story, and whether that is through research or interviews. 

Again, if any of these questions become hurdles for your pitch, please reach out to us and we can help you hone your ideas. 

Stories should be approximately 1000 words. However, we recognize that there is strength in working together. If you would like to partner with another Indigenous writer or a photographer on a story, you can write a feature-length 2000+ word story. If accepted, you would both be paid $150 for your work. 

The Martlet’s sections are as follows: 

Please let us know if you have any questions about the Indigenous-focussed issue or the pitching process.