National Library of Medicine, NIH / Flickr

At The Atlantic, we’ve long been interested in questions without easy answers. As we focus on expanding our coverage of health, science, technology, we’re letting that tradition of curiosity and doggedness guide us. We want your stories to be a part of this effort, and so we've made a blueprint of what we’re looking for in pitches from freelance reporters and writers.

We want your riveting, original, weird, and wonderful stories about science, technology, and health.

We don’t want to tell our readers which superfoods to shove in their mouths right now if they want to live. We don’t want to just list the menial tasks there’s now an app for. We want to look below the surface, and into the future. We want to be upfront about what scientists know and what remains to be discovered. We believe there’s an important role for journalists to play in translating and contextualizing scientific research.

When it comes to topics, we’re expansive and inclusive. So “health” means not just nutrition, exercise, and illness, but also relationships, psychology, sex, family, etc.—all the things that make up a human life. Technology, similarly, is not just about gadgets or Silicon Valley startups. It is fundamentally about people: inventors and engineers and researchers who, prompted by their experiences in the world and the thinkers who came before them, stitch together new systems and bring into existence ideas that really do change the way humans interact with one another.

We like stories that are both serious and silly. Basically, if there’s something you’ve always wondered about, or a question you can’t find a good answer to, that’s a good place to start.

Some things we’re particularly interested in right now include: alternative family structures, hacking, and pollution. Take them where you will. (And we’ll update this list as new obsessions pop up, so check back!) Here is an (incomplete) list of the kinds of stories we’re looking for:

Ambitious reporting on important issues affecting real people:

Living Sick and Dying Young in Rich America

The New Heroin Epidemic

Life of a Police Officer: Medically and Psychologically Ruinous

Clear and engaging explanations of areas of scientific research, especially those that explain why things happen or how things (or people!) work:

Joint Pain, From the Gut

The NSA Probably Really, Really Wants a Quantum Computer

Do Women Need Their Own Viagra?

Being Happy With Sugar

Personal essays with a unique angle, underrepresented perspective, or ties to current trends/research:

I Used to Be an Anti-Vaxer

The Misguided Definition of Rape as ‘Force’

‘People Can Be Afraid of Anything’

She’s Still Dying on Facebook

Q&As with, or profiles of, fascinating people:

Life as a Nonviolent Psychopath

Batgirl’s Psychologist

On Being an Abortion Doula

Interesting looks at trends, subcultures, strange phenomena, or topics that are often ignored:

The Private Lives of Public Bathrooms

Blend Up the Internet and Everything Turns Orange

The Dragon Autopsy

Why We Cry on Planes

The Secret Pot-Growing Operations in America's Cornfields

Why Douching Won’t Die

Histories:

The Internet’s Original Sin

The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious

The Tampon: A History

The Story Behind AOL's Iconic Yellow Running Man

Stories that pique people’s curiosity:

Why We Sleep Together

How the Gluteus Became Maximus

Some logistical notes:

  1. Yes, we will of course pay you for your work. The amount will depend on the story, but we have room to pay more than we’ve been able to in the past. (If you’re a returning writer, hi!)

  2. We’re looking for pitches right now, but also always! This guide is intended to be a resource for you. Please feel free to contact us whenever you have an amazing idea.

  3. We have to be selective in what we can accept, but we promise if we have to say no, we will try to tell you quickly.

  4. We want a diversity of voices. Young white men are always welcome to pitch, but we’re hungry for other perspectives.

  5. Send your pitches to science @ theatlantic.com. It’s not a black hole. We check it every day. Promise.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.