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A note from National Geographic

Dear Julie Schwietert:

Thank you for contacting the National Geographic Society.

The National Geographic Magazine no longer provides guidelines for writers.  The competition for our limited number of assignments is so keen, and the investment in them is so great, that it is very rare for a story to be entrusted to a writer who has not established a professional reputation through the publication of a couple of respected books or a considerable body of work in leading magazines.  At this time, we have far more interested freelancers than we do assignments.


Writers guidelines for National Geographic Traveler magazine can be found at

Best wishes,


Lisa T. Walker

National Geographic Society”


7 responses »

  1. If you want to get a look under National Geographic’s hood check out this blog by a former writer/editor who worked there for nearly 20 years:

    As usual, you don’t have to scroll down to far to find something good.

  2. Wow. Well, I guess that’s one way to cut down on freelance submissions? Or at least, to feel free to ignore virtually all unsolicited submissions?

    • Eva-

      Right? I’m totally sympathetic to the fact that NG remains the “holy grail” for many writers and photographers. But c’mon! That message was so haughty. Couldn’t they just have some guidelines to dispense and then an inbox that’s the equivalent of the slush pile?

  3. Mixed feelings on this one. It’s definitely reflective of the industry – too much supply and at least, they’re being honest about it – even though they may be missing out on fantastic writers.

    “Couldn’t they just have some guidelines to dispense and then an inbox that’s the equivalent of the slush pile?”

    That would be them wasting everyone’s time. I personally would be pissed off if I spent time crafting a pitch and waiting patiently for months, not knowing that they weren’t even considering freelancers.

    Upfront is always better for me anyways.

    • I’m being (mostly) facetious. But it does chafe that it’s not entirely clear, then, how people get their foot in the door. To not have an open submissions process at all seems potentially nepotistic or elitist- the opportunity for a byline stays in a very small circle of folks.


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