Department Descriptions and Guidelines
The following is a list of departments open to freelance submission and specific guidelines for submitting to them.
Phenomena & Curiosities
The Phenomena & Curiosities department runs stories about science and nature. Stories may focus on a quirky natural history observation, the implications of a recent scientific discovery, or a fascinating ongoing research project, among others. Recent examples include stories on efforts to clone extinct species, mysterious towers in Tibet, and diatoms' impact on global warming. Pieces range in length from 1,000 to 1,500 words.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest is a monthly column focusing on Americana, particularly unusual places and events. The topics are varied and may be current or historical. Stories based on historical events should have a peg and include recent interviews. Some examples are: an archaeological dig for a forgotten colony in Maine; a Native-American language immersion school in Montana; a 24-hour birding marathon in New Jersey, and a reunion of America's first black military pilots in Tuskegee, Alabama. Stories are assigned at 1,250 to 1,750 words.
Presence of Mind
Presence of Mind is an occasional department featuring reported essays that advance a distinct argument or point of view. Recent examples include essays on why Lewis and Clark matter, who was Watergate's Deep Throat, and the extent to which the founding fathers' attitudes toward slavery diminish their achievements. Presence of Mind pieces range in length from 1,200 to 2,000 words.
Our departments and some of the features can be read on the magazine's main site at www.smithsonianmag.com. A copy of the current issue costs $4.99 (back issues are $7 per copy) and may be obtained by sending a check or money order, payable to Smithsonian Magazine, to:
420 Lexington Ave, Ste 2335
New York, NY 10170
We publish only 12 issues a year, so it is difficult to place an article in Smithsonian Magazine, but please be assured that all proposals are considered.