Thank you for your interest in The Baltimore Banner and our Community Voices program, which publishes content of local interest submitted by people with connections to Baltimore and Maryland.
We believe in the value of creating space for people other than our own journalists to speak directly to the public.
We especially care about adding new perspectives and experiences to the public conversation and encourage people who don’t typically think of themselves as writers or public figures to speak up.
We find several types of Community Voices particularly valuable:
- Personal experiences: Anyone can help others see the world through their eyes, by sharing their own experiences, in their own words.
- Expertise and explanation: Specialists can present findings, highlight problems, and propose solutions to the public and to one another. These pieces should make an original, robust argument based on the author’s unusual or deep expertise.
- A platform for community leaders: Representatives from community groups, neighborhood associations, nonprofits, or other local groups may want to share perspectives. These pieces should have a specific message that addresses a challenge, touts a win, or otherwise highlights an issue that needs attention.
- A platform for public officials: Public officials can make their case, explain their position, or tell their stories to the public they serve. Because these individuals already have significant platforms, their submissions are held to especially high standards and offer readers newsworthy insight. Candidates seeking any elected office are limited to one published submission per election season.
We discourage submissions that are primarily responses to pieces we previously published. The best forum is Reader Reactions. To send a letter, e-mail email@example.com.
Please continue reading for answers to frequently asked questions about submissions.
You do not have to be famous or have been published previously. You do not have to have a lot of Twitter followers. You do not need to work as a journalist or be a public figure.
You should have some valuable insight or viewpoint to share based on your expertise or your personal lived experience.
The Baltimore Banner is a local and regional news organization, so we prioritize submissions from people connected to Baltimore and Maryland.
Submitted content should have a point to make — something readers can engage with and think about.
When considering submissions to publish, we look for pieces that will accomplish one or more of the following goals for our readers:
- Help them more deeply understand a topic in the news.
- Help them understand how they are affected by a topic in the news.
- Expose them to topics they might not have heard or thought about.
- Help them understand perspectives different from their own.
- Lay out an argument or proposal for what can be done about a problem.
- Help people understand and appreciate a local cultural trend
Written submissions should be 500-750 words in length.
Direct your message toward our readers — the people of Baltimore and Maryland, not as a response to The Banner or as an open letter to a public official.
If you are making an argument or a claim, include links to the sources of your facts and evidence.
Most submissions come in the form of a written column or essay, but we also welcome other forms of creative expression — poems, photo essays, illustrations, comics, charts, audio, and more.
Community Voices submissions are not meant to be a tool for public relations. For example, we will not accept submissions from people praising the company where they work. Any submission should serve readers, not the interests of the author. (If you want to promote your own business or financial interests through content published on The Baltimore Banner website, you can talk to our Marketing department about submitting sponsored content (firstname.lastname@example.org). Press releases can be sent to email@example.com.
Submitted content must show respect for others. We don't accept anything that is derogatory, racist or hateful. If you wish to criticize or disagree with someone, do so with civility.
We do not publish works of fiction. The people, events and facts contained in your submission should all be true and verifiable.
We do not publish submitted reviews of books, movies, television shows, or other media.
We do not publish petitions, public service announcements, or press releases.
We do not use any material that has been published on another news outlet or website, trade publication, personal blog, or the like. A submission should not be sent to another news organization while The Banner is considering it. If The Banner does not respond within five business days, it can be taken to mean we will not use the submission.
Authors must publish their full, real names. We do not consider anonymous (no name) or pseudonymous (fictitious name) submissions, unless under extreme circumstances — such as when publishing would pose a threat to one's safety. Anyone unwilling to provide a true identity can instead send a news tip anonymously to firstname.lastname@example.org for our reporters to consider your information for a news story.
Send all Community Voices submissions to email@example.com.
Send written submissions in the body of your email. Please do not send attachments (such as Word documents) or links to Cloud-hosted files (such as Google Docs), unless the submission consists of photos or media files.
We prefer to receive a complete draft that is ready to publish; however, we are open to receiving pitches or ideas if initial feedback is preferred before creating the content.
Include a short biography of the author and Include a phone number at which the author can be reached.
We make every effort to read submissions promptly. We will try to respond within five business days of your submission. If you do not hear from us, you can assume we have declined to publish your submission.
We regret that the volume of submissions we receive means that we cannot respond individually to every article, proposal or query.
For submissions we decide to publish, typically one of our editors will revise the first draft with an eye toward length, ease of understanding and writing quality. A copy editor will also check for accuracy, grammar, and house style.
An editor will send proposed revisions back to the writer for approval. A few back-and-forth editing exchanges might occur until the piece gets to a mutually agreeable place. The Banner may decide not to publish a submission if we and the author cannot agree on a final version.
We will work to verify the facts of the article, but the writer bears the ultimate responsibility for the accuracy of the work. We cannot correct articles after publication without appending a correction notice — and corrections are permanently archived. Past errors are a factor when we consider whether to accept future work from an author.
Yes, we offer a $125 payment to working writers and many other contributors whose submissions we publish. Exceptions include politicians, government officials and others writing in their professional capacities.