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Writers’ Guidelines

In a time of dynamic change, New West aims to serve as a nexus of dialogue, a bridge between communities that may be distant in geography or occupation, but share common interests and hopes for the region as it inevitably continues to grow. New West is a smart guide to the issues, trends and events that impact the fabric of the region and it stands for forward thinking about the big picture.

The main topics we cover and discuss on New West are broadly: Culture, politics, growth, demographics, energy, environmental issues, new economy (tech, biotech, venture capital, etc.), tourism and travel, lifestyle, outdoors, wildlife, Western literature, film and food.

The majority of our content is provided by our network of editors and writers but we do offer several ways to write with NewWest.Net:

All queries should be sent via email to

  • Your own blog on NewWest.Net: If you’re interested in having a room of your own on NewWest.Net, we’re all ears. We set you up with your own page where you can write and muse on your own schedule however you please. With your page, you get the training you need to post stories and photos, a built-in readership, all of the advantages of keeping your blog on an already established network of regional and local news sites, your own unique url and payment based on the traffic you bring to your page. These blogs can be based in one of our seven cities or revolve around one of NewWest.Net’s core topics. Here are a few examples of brave folks who have established their own blogs on NewWest.Net:

    Bob Wire
    Missoula’s Dish, by Danielle Lattuga
    Yoga On and Off the Mat, by Brooke Hewes

    To be involved in this manner, you’ll need to pitch your blog idea by describing your blog, what you’d like to do with it and why you think it would fit with NewWest.Net.

  • News and feature queries: We’re always looking for good pitches from good writers. We pay by the story and payment ranges from $50 for smaller, local stories to up to $500 for more complicated, regional pieces. We’re also always on the hunt for big, investigative stories and projects and on occasion break the bank if we think it’s worth it. So, shoot high if you think you have one of those in your pocket.

    To pitch a news or feature story, tell us a little bit about your proposal, what reporting you’ve already done, how you to expect to proceed with the story and what you see the hook being in the project. Also include any writing samples you might have and tell us a little bit about yourself and why you’re the right person to report and write your story.

When you do decide to pitch a story to New West, please do the following:

  • Read our site thoroughly. Get to know our voice, what kinds of things we’ve got covered and where we could use help. We have a lot of writers pitching stories dealing with the West’s environmental issues, so your chances of being accepted increase exponentially if you tackle one of our other main topics, like business, growth and development, politics, etc.
  • Consider your audience and where your readers are. Your readers are looking to New West for stories that point to the big picture and expand their knowledge of their home — the Rocky Mountain West. Stories should always be centered on or at least affect the region or a city, town or state here.
  • Be accurate. Jeez, we shouldn’t have to say this. We have the highest standards of accuracy and expect the same of our writers.
  • Be Fair. Having a stance is OK, as long as it’s clear-headed, you’re open about it and transparent in your interest in the issue. And, you should always give the all sides a fair shake and a voice.
  • Take a different look. We like stories that go deep or take an issue from a totally different angle than our readers might expect. Remember, what we’re trying to do here is expand knowledge, connect dots for our readers and break new ground.
  • Have a voice. We like voice. One of the things we love about online journalism is the freedom it gives writers to try different things. We love narratives and we’re OK with first person. (Not gratuitous, mind you. Big egos aren’t fun to read). We like open discussion and conversational style. And while funny is hard to come by, we’re always looking for it.
  • Be an insider. Remember, New West is the smart guide to the Rocky Mountain West so we like stories with an insider feel. We like experts who can write and writers who are experts.
  • Make it snappy. Stories on New West range from 100 words to 6,000. We don’t have length requirements, but remember that online readers have short attention spans, so get to the juicy stuff first.

About Courtney Lowery

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One comment

  1. Hi Courtney:
    I hope i am wrong about this but I work for a non profit here in missoula and clients who are indigent with pets to feed have told me that animeals won’t give them food to feed their pets.
    they direct people to animal shelters and the manager of the missoula county animal shelter has told me that animeals doesn’t help them either. where does the food go? seems strange. I am no reporter so hoping someone could take a look. many poor people are being turned away by animeals and the manager at the shelter wonders what animeals is doing also. she seemed quite angry with animeals when i talked to her last week- thanks.
    and thanks for doing a great job for us in the mountain west.