We are currently seeking pitches for our fourth season. Episodes are 25-minutes, or around 3,500 words. Each episode of the show centers around an idea. Some of the ideas we explored in previous seasons include modernity, blame, cannibalism, progressive Christianity, and transhumanism. We’re looking for strong writers who are well versed in the topic they pitch. Contributors do not need to have previous experience writing for audio. We pay contributors, and there may be a chance for you to adapt your episode into an article for the Boston Globe Ideas section.
A successful episode has three things: 1. A compelling narrative. A successful episode tells two stories: the story of the idea (where it came from, how it evolved over time, etc.) and the story of the idea’s affects over time. How has this idea been applied? What was its impact, and how did its impact change? 2. Excellent interviews. Successful episodes feature in-depth interviews with experts who are not only knowledgeable, but also great on tape. We aim to interview guests with a diverse array of perspectives and expertises in each episode. 3. An original conclusion. Our aim is not to summarize an idea’s history—it’s to offer a new way of thinking about the idea’s impact on contemporary American life. A listener should end the podcast episode thinking, “Huh! I never thought about it that way.” The best way to learn more about the stories we tell and the way we tell them is to listen to our previous episodes.
Themes that particularly excite us: We are broadly interested in the emergence and nature of “modernity.” We want pitches on the ways that ideas are deployed to acquire, consolidate, and preserve power—religious, cultural, racial, gendered, economic, etc—and how collective action can offer new, liberatory possibilities. Your pitch does not have to include religion, but our stories do often include discussions of how religion operates, the religious underpinnings of seemingly secular ideas, and how people find meaning in an increasingly non-religious world.
Your pitch: Send us a one or two paragraph pitch that includes the idea your episode will explore, the story of how that idea has evolved, the story of how the idea has been applied over time, the conclusion you’ll draw, and the experts you will interview and works you will cite. We’re making a podcast, so the more audio material you use (YouTube videos, news clips, archival tape, etc.) the better.
The process: Once we have accepted your pitch, you will work with our team to create an outline, and we’ll advise you on how to conduct an interview and get great tape. We will be with you through every step of the writing process. We have audio producers who will mix the episode, and host Zachary Davis voices each episode.
We can’t wait to read your pitch. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.