Jane is a news editor at Nature. She has a masters degree in marine biology from UCLA and is an alumnae of the science writing program at UC Santa Cruz. Prior to joining Nature, Jane was a reporter and editor with National Geographic covering biology, ecology and atmospheric sciences. Her work has also appeared in Science and the San Jose Mercury News.
For any pitch, I want to know why we should tell the story now, why the subject is unusual or important, and why the piece would suit our core audience — working scientists. We love exclusive stories or unique angles, and often run pieces that use an individual event to illustrate a broader trend.
News briefs and news stories run anywhere from 200-1,200 words, with most pieces running between 400-800 words. (Our features section commissions longer pieces, up to about 3,000 words. I do not edit features, but can connect you with a features editor.)
Please limit your news pitches to no more than two paragraphs. If your pitch is time-sensitive, flagging that in the subject line of your e-mail will help us both.
Some of Nature's favorite topics include:
- surprising or counterintuitive results, or those with serious policy implications for the general public or research community
- a shift in thinking about a topic or field
- a major debate or controversy that involves scientists, or scientific/science-policy issues
- funding increases or decreases, especially those that will affect a whole field or country
- openings or closures of world-class research facilities
- research fraud or misconduct
- policies that affect how scientists work day-to-day, on topics such as lab/field safety, higher education, or academic publishing
I recommend scanning through some of our recent news coverage before your first pitch to get a sense of our tone and approach to news: http://www.nature.com/news.
A note on single-study stories: We rarely commission stories on papers in big-name journals — such as Nature, Science, PNAS, and PLoS — from freelance pitches. But we do love freelancers who ferret out interesting studies from subject-specific journals (such as the Astrophysical Journal, the AGU journals, the Proceedings of the Royal Society, and Current Biology — to name just a few!) or pre-print servers (bioRxiv, arXiv).