Submission Guidelines

Cognoscenti features opinions, perspectives and essays from some of New England’s best and brightest thinkers. We publish commentaries on politics, culture, sports, law, medicine, innovation, religion, media, parenting and style. In selecting our pieces, we consider the particular expertise of the author, as well as the timeliness, originality and strength of argument. But above all, we look for great writing and provocative thought leadership.

Online pieces

If you’d like to write for Cognoscenti, send your submission, pasted into your email and not as an attachment, to opinion@wbur.org. Please tell us in one line what the piece is about, and please tell us in one line who you are.

If we feel that your submission is a good fit with minimal revisions, we will be in touch. We do our utmost to respond to everyone in a timely fashion, but we cannot respond to everyone. If you do not hear from us after 72 hours, consider shopping your piece elsewhere.

Here are some things for writers to keep in mind:

  • Submissions that exceed 1,000 words will not be considered. 750 is ideal word count.
  • Writing should focus tightly on one issue or idea, and the writer should have particular expertise that qualifies them to write on that subject.
  • Express your opinion, and then back it up with facts, research or first-hand experience.
  • Please cite your sources with hyperlinks (no footnotes, please) and double-check your facts before sending your submission to us.
  • Submissions should answer the following questions: What is my argument/point? Why is this worth reading now — at this moment? Why should people care?
  • All pieces will be edited and returned to the author for approval.
  • We welcome suggested headlines/teases but reserve the right to change them.
  • Cognoscenti is primarily a platform for original content. With proper attribution, a piece can be based on research or work you have done in the past, but it must be rewritten — never copied/pasted.
  • We ask that submissions be sent exclusively to Cognoscenti.

On-air commentaries

In addition to publishing commentary on our website, we broadcast commentary on the radio — on WBUR’s Morning Edition or All Things Considered. These pieces differ in style from what we publish online. If you are interested in submitting an on-air commentary for consideration, here’s what you need to know:

  • On-air submissions should be an absolute maximum of 350 words (and closer to 300 words is even better).
  • Pieces should always tell a story: either a smart, timely take on news and pop culture topics or a personal story with reflection — and sometimes both.

Writing for radio requires:

  • Brief, declarative, simple sentences.
  • Well-paced and concise wording.
  • A conversational tone.
  • A compelling opening, that grabs the listener and gets quickly to the point.

Before you submit, read your piece aloud. It should take no more than two and a half minutes.

If we accept your submission, we will schedule a time for you to come into WBUR’s studio to record the piece. We may also make a few edits. Cognoscenti will also post the text of your piece online, with a link to the on-air broadcast.

Please send all submissions, pasted into your email and not as an attachment, via email to opinion@wbur.org. Please tell us in one line what the piece is about, and please tell us in one line who you are.

If your piece is accepted

Upon request, WBUR will pay a one-time $50 honorarium for each commentary. Re-purposed or cross-posted content is occasionally accepted but will not be compensated. Upon acceptance of your first submission, you will be required to sign a standard author agreement release form, which deals with copyright and ownership issues.

-Updated April 5, 2018

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