Guidelines for Contributors
AramcoWorld relies on freelance text, visual and multimedia journalists, as well as subject specialists.
Assignments are made by contract with Aramco Services Company.
Fees, generally speaking, are mid-range US editorial.
Do you have a story idea?
Before going further, please search our Subject Index in the Archive.
Here is what we look for in a story proposal.
- Strong storyline that is positive and pegged (timely).
- International appeal to non-heritage readers (non-Muslim, non-Arab, non-company)
- Appeal to both non-specialists and specialists
- Coverage of any aspect of cultural, scientific or historical Arab and Muslim worlds, including arts, archeology, history, geography, biography/profiles, cross-cultural connections, innovations, technology, trends and more. (Surprise us, please.)
- Protagonists and sources who are primarily of Arab-land or Muslim heritage (local voices).
- Your bright, fresh, smart style. (It should read well aloud.)
- Accuracy and fairness to the highest professional journalistic standards.
On the other hand, here is what we do not publish:
- Politics, religion, poetry, personal memoirs, academic papers; fiction, travelogues, foreign-aid stories and unpegged, topic-driven stories.
- Conflict, controversy or negative stories.
- Boosterist or promotional stories.
- Stories that appeal primarily to readers with regional or heritage cultural backgrounds.
- Stories that turn on stereotypes or clichés.
Even then, we may turn down a strong idea if it is presented in a style that does not follow these guidelines, or that otherwise does not fit us well for any other reason.
- Words: 300 to 4000 words.
- Visuals: one to six days’ assignments, leading to use of 10-25 still images and 30 seconds to five minutes+ video/multimedia. Longer videos can be chapterized.
Who reads AramcoWorld? Non-Muslims and non-Arabs, worldwide. In our reader community, the magazine broadens and deepens appreciation of positive interconnections among Arab, Muslim and other global cultures, past and present.
What is AramcoWorld’s point of view?
Start with accurate, fair, globally cosmopolitan curiosity. Add dispassion, and temper it with sympathy. Put this under “the golden rule”: Represent others as you yourself would wish to be represented.
What parts of the world are you most interested in?
Everywhere—as long as there is an Arab or Islamic cultural connection.
What background do I need to show?
Demonstrate professional reliability.
I think you’d like my idea. How do I frame my proposal so you will accept it?
- Know us, online and in print. We are happy to send print issue samples.
- Introduce yourself. Remember that every editor wonders not only, “Is this a good story idea?” but also, “What will this person be like to work with?” or, more bluntly, “Will she/he deliver?” How are you at planning, follow-through and troubleshooting communications, deadlines, logistics and expenses? What’s your track record? References are great.
- Samples are helpful, but editors often wonder how much work other editors put into published samples. How strong are your drafts? Unpublished writing is “raw” and might be more impressive. Are you a creative, nimble revisionist of your own work?
- Length proposed should be both ideal and essential: What you’d like and what you could live with.
- Visuals: If you are a writer, how would you suggest we handle the story visually? If you are a visual journalist, what are the words (or the audio)?
- Schedule: We work best with stories that have lead times of two months to a year.
What are your fees?
Our rates are midrange, and they vary with a contributor’s background, location and the complexity of the story. When appropriate, we cover limited travel and other expenses on a reimbursement basis. We do not give advances. Fees are paid on acceptance, except for photo space rates. (See next.)
For visual journalists:
Day-rate assignments are contracted for all rights (work-for-hire) at midrange editorial day rates suitable to those rights. Expenses are reimbursable; there are no advances. We also assign and license still photography on a space-rate basis for which fees are calculated on print-edition usage size or online-only flat rates.
Space-rate stock is licensed for one-time world English print and one-time all-language online rights, duration two months with life-of-publication archiving.
Space-rate assignments are contracted either for the one-time rights above or, if expenses are reimbursed, for all rights (work-for-hire).
Visual style is documentary and narrative; it is not travel, pictorial or personal. It either complements a text or uses a text as its complement.
Captions frame the understanding of still images; audio frames the understanding of video. Insightful, accurate captions and great audio endear visual journalists to both editor and reader.
When will I hear back from you?
Expect an acknowledgement of receipt by email within a day or two. Historically, we have reviewed proposals on a two-month cycle, but as with any publication, favor will shine on the compelling. If you have not heard from us, it’s fair to ask when you can expect a full response.
What if I have an idea, but I want to run it by you first to see if you think it’s worth my time to work up as a full proposal and your time to read it? Can I do that?
To where do I email my proposal?
firstname.lastname@example.org (attachment limit: 10mb)
Subject Line: Proposal / (Your subject)
We look forward to hearing from you.