Writing for the Debrief

Thanks for your interest! I'm thrilled you'd be up for contributing.

The Debrief has its own style. Read more about the disability lens on world news. It is based on lived experience and combining that with different analysis, reflection and reporting.

There are many ways to contribute to the Debrief. You can comment on articles or write-in with your reactions. There are regular mailbag editions that feature readers' experiences. The Debrief does interviews with folk from the disability movement and features the work, whether poetry, visual art or other, of disabled people.

I'm looking particularly looking for contributors with disabilities from the Global South. Whether you're a writer, illustrator, photographer, I'm interested to hear from you and how you can contribute. We don't hear enough from disabled people in low- and middle-income countries – let's work together to fix this!

Here are some examples of articles from contributors:

Writing an article

Writing an article is hard. It's definitely not for everyone. Articles often involve research or reporting. Even where they're based on what you've lived and know already, that isn't easy to develop and put into words.

Overall article format:

  • Articles are written for the disability community and disability curious.
  • Debrief articles are sent as emails and written as a conversation. They begin with a greeting and end with a sign-off. They are more friendly than formal.
  • Length is typically between 1,500 and 2,500 words.
  • Articles close with an acknowledgements section.

There are many types of Debrief article. So far, they have included:

We haven't published fictional writing yet but would welcome it!

Many people start with a feature piece. That allows exploration of a specific topic and your view and experience of it. But if it's up your street to gather news highlights from your country or region, the curated news approach would be great to explore.

If you can publish it somewhere else, it might not be for the Debrief. One of the guiding philosophies of the Debrief is that if something already exists, we link to it rather than reproduce it. If you are writing an advocacy article, then that might be better on an NGO website. If you're writing something that gets into reflections and complications, then that's much more up the Debrief street.

Working together

I am an active editor. This is a promise and a threat. It's a promise, because I will work with you to develop your writing and help you to make your article better. It's a threat because I will make changes and edits to your text.

Here's what Celestine Fraser said about being edited by me:

“I've been feeling really grateful for all your thorough edits, and for pushing me to squeeze the best out of my ideas. Usually the editors I work with give only minimal edits, so it's felt like a privilege to have so much feedback from you, and to have worked closely together on this over a longer period. I'm sure I'll carry some of your editing eye into whatever I write next.”

The process of working together:

  • Pitch from author proposing topic
  • Discussion of pitch and agreement to work on it.
  • Draft from author, feedback from me. Normally two rounds of this.
  • Edits from my side, revision from author.
  • Publishing.
  • And then we can work on another article!

Pitching an article. Normally pitches are invited. If you think you should be invited to pitch, let me know. A pitch is roughly a one-pager that contains:

  • Notes on what an article will cover, including proposed structure.
  • Notes on the sources of information for the article. For example, some or all of, lived experience, interviews, desk review, or other sources.

Payment for articles

The Debrief commissions articles from freelancers and from colleagues in the disability sector. Where the Debrief works directly then contributors are paid directly. Where there is a collaboration with another organisation, then contributors time is often covered by that organisation.

In the case of working directly with the Debrief, the rate for published articles starts at £400. A small extra budget can be considered for expenses (on discussion).