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How to Pitch Stories to Eater Carolinas

Whether you’re an experienced journalist, a recent graduate, or a restaurant worker, here’s where to start

Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

As part of the Eater network under the Vox Media umbrella, Eater Carolinas is a North and South Carolina news and service site covering the business and culture of the restaurant industry.

We’re excited to work with you and introduce new voices on the site. While most of the assignments we commission are written by people with journalism experience, don’t let that deter you if you’re just starting out in your writing career, or working in another industry altogether.

Eater Carolinas looks forward to pitches that fall into a few main categories:

Reported features

Reported features offer the most opportunity for freelancers. They typically run between 900 and 1,600 words. The rule of thumb here is to think headline first: How can I summarize this story in one sentence, and am I interested in reading a story about it?

These features need to have a strong restaurant element — and ideally, the story places restaurants in some kind of context: how hospitality intersects with real estate, business, technology, labor, identity, science, politics, pop culture, history, etc. Pegging stories to current events, trends, breaking news, and ongoing industry topics also helps. Regardless of whether it’s pegged to something in the news, it’s good to answer the question: Why does this matter right now?

Some recent freelanced features include:

Durham Chef Zweli Williams Wants People to Understand African Food

Georgian Cuisine, With a Cause, Finds Home in Greenville, South Carolina

Meet the Farmer Influencing Menus in Charlotte’s Top Restaurants

A Tale of Two Cider-Makers in Greenville, South Carolina

Where to submit:


While we tend to handle most openings in-house, we always welcome freelancers to pitch those we may have missed. A good rule of thumb is if this is a restaurant opening with a PR team, we’re likely already aware of it; we would much rather work with freelancers on restaurant openings that are more under the radar. In general, it’s always helpful to pitch with notice ahead of the public opening date. Some openings we’ve worked on with freelancers include:

The Garage Brings Sophisticated Fare to Savannah’s Late-Night Scene

Durham’s Beloved Brunello Wine Bar Makes a Comeback

Wine Snobs and Poseurs Not Welcome at Chapel Hill’s Rocks + Acid

Raleigh’s New Tapas Spot Las Ramblas Brings Spain to the Triangle

Where to submit:

Maps and guides

Eater Carolinas has a robust maps and guides collection that’s the bedrock of service journalism for the site. We regularly publish maps as guides to cities (Charlotte, Greensboro), the best versions of a dish (shrimp and grits, fried chicken) or cuisine (Chinese barbecue, sushi), and to fill a situational need (big groups, client entertaining).

We’re always looking for new maps and guides based on what people might be looking for online, and to update popular ones. We’re especially interested in finding writers with a particular subject-matter expertise to contribute, or who are based in the neighborhood they wish to cover. Here are examples of recent maps and guides pitched by freelancers:

12 Excellent Pizza Spots Around Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill

Top 10 Triangle Dive Bars for a Beer and a Shot

18 Essential Greenville, South Carolina, Restaurants

Where to submit:

News stories

News for Eater Carolinas primarily means restaurant openings and restaurant closings, though it also includes lawsuits, labor developments, or expansions, for example. This is the most difficult genre to pitch, since many stories are already on our radar, and news requires deep sources and quick turnaround and it’s often assigned in-house.

It helps to look at what Eater Carolinas has already covered, which will help not only with getting an idea of the kinds of stories we cover but also which restaurants are big players in our world. Here are examples of news stories pitched by freelancers:

Asheville’s Holeman & Finch Public House Closes Suddenly

The ‘Cracker Barrel’ of Barbecue Is Coming to East Durham

Famed Chef Vivian Howard Brings Southern Holiday Favorites to a Vending Fridge Near You

Where to submit:

Opinion or personal writing

For opinion and personal writing, the topic must speak specifically to the Carolinas audience. We’d like to include more from the Carolinas community – particularly from people who work in restaurants. The piece should make an argument for a fresh way to view a trend, item, or other standard procedure in the restaurant world. They can (and usually should) include a personal element explaining why you are the authority. They can be funny or have funny elements, but that’s not a requirement. Though the pieces are pegged to personal experience or opinion, the pitches should still be thoroughly reported and fact-checked.

Here are a few recent examples:

Is Charlotte the Next Big Dining Destination in the South?

What It’s Like to Open (or Not Open) a Restaurant in the Carolinas During the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

Where to submit:

Regardless of what you’re pitching, whether it’s news, features, opinions, etc., We’re looking for pitches that contain answers, not questions (which means you should have done some of the work before you pitched to us). It should give a clear, concise summary of the subject, angle, or thesis, as well as your anticipated story structure.

Keep in mind we do have a dedicated editor that covers the Carolinas market, so think about why you are uniquely qualified to write the news piece, feature, profile, or map. Furthermore, if there’s a conflict of interest regarding the story you’re pitching – you’ve worked with the restaurant in another capacity, you’re an influencer and you’ve gotten free food at a place – please include that information in the pitch.

What we’re not looking for

We do not cover recipes and home cooking at all on Eater Carolinas. Other things we’re not very interested in: Stories about health, wellness, or diets; I-only-ate-[whatever]-for-a-month stunts; linear travelogues; and stories that lack a significant narrative hook or meaningful cultural resonance.

We do not accept traditional restaurant reviews from freelancers. We do not cover food “holidays”: Grilled cheese day, cookie day, mac and cheese day, or whatever — we do not recognize them as real holidays.

We also almost never cover products, meaning please no pitches on food items that are only sold in grocery stores. Again, the food or drink that you’re covering is ideally sold in a restaurant, bar, cafe, food truck, food hall, or in another made-to-order fashion that resembles a restaurant.

If you’re looking to pitch a national story, click here to find out more about what sort of pitches Eater’s national site seeks.

Note: Eater Carolinas receives several pitches each month and tries to respond to each. However, if we do not respond within a month, please resubmit.