The HPR welcomes original pitches and submissions from Harvard undergraduates to be published in any of our four online sections: Campus, Culture, U.S., and World. Students should feel free to submit at any stage of the writing process — our editors will work with you on anything from an article idea to a complete draft. If you are interested in submitting a complete draft, be aware that you will still be expected to work with an HPR editor to finalize the piece, and that the article will likely not be published exactly as submitted. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept submissions from graduate students, professors, or non-Harvard students, and we cannot publish anything that has appeared in print or online elsewhere. If you are interested in submitting, please take some time to review the below information on the HPR’s guidelines and expectations for writers, as well as to read the sample articles provided, before applying through this form. For more advice and a complete overview of HPR policies, please see our Writer’s Guide.
Submitting a Pitch or Outline?
If you have an idea for an article, you can submit a brief pitch to be matched with an editor who will work with you on the writing process. Your pitch should be relatively specific — strong articles choose depth over breadth. Make sure you have an argument, or at least a question you want to answer. Do some research by looking at what other publications are saying about your topic, and think about what you think is missing from the conversation. Decide whether you’re planning to use interviews, and if so, think about who you might interview. When possible, we encourage you to include an outline with your pitch submission. In writing an outline, focus on what argument you want to make and how you want to prove it to divide your article into logical sub-sections. Use the outlining process to do some of your preliminary research and to hone in your thesis. If you want to conduct interviews, include a list of potential interviewees.
Submitting a Draft?
Drafts can range in length and style depending on the topic. The HPR publishes both opinionated and analytic articles, some of which incorporate interviews. Typically, pieces without interviews will range from 800-1200 words, while pieces with multiple interviews will range from 1800-2200 words. Longer, in-depth articles with three or more interviews are “featured” on our website. For more information about the types of HPR articles, see the section on “Article Framework” in our guide.
Remember that journalistic writing is different from academic writing. Be concise — no flowery language or long, winding sentences. Keep it short and clear. This goes for paragraphs as well as sentences. Journalistic paragraphs are rarely longer than six sentences long. Your writing should be accessible — you’re writing for an educated public, so write well but be clear. When possible, explain ideas without overly niche terms.
Keep in mind that your article should make an argument. This isn’t a research paper or a literature review — enter a conversation or take a stance, don’t just teach us about a topic. Ensure that claims and arguments are well-substantiated with appropriate evidence, using hyperlinks on active verbs as citations and to direct readers to further information. Most HPR pieces are written in third-person, though we occasionally publish first-person testimonies, particularly when writers are directly discussing their own identities or experiences. We also published op-eds which can be written in either the first or third-person.
The Editing Process:
All outside writers, regardless of the stage of their submission, will work with an HPR editor on their piece before it is published. Once you submit your first draft, you’ll begin passing versions of the article back and forth with your editor as they give you feedback on your piece. Feel free to ask your editors lots of questions — as you’re submitting drafts, mark places where you have multiple ideas or where you think the piece could be stronger. Please be timely with incorporating edits — try to get the piece back within a few days and stay in contact with your editor to keep the process moving.Listen to your editors and trust their feedback. If you do have an issue with an edit, or if you want to talk about it, please don’t just reject the suggestion — flag the edit and ask your editor to talk about it. The HPR follows a modified version of the AP style guide — you can find it here. Have it open while you write and try to reference it! Once you and your editor are satisfied with the piece, they’ll initiate the process of scheduling it in the HPR-wide publishing calendar. Your editor will reach out when the piece has been published online.
If you plan to incorporate interviews into your article, take some time to review the following legal and ethical standards for interviews, as well as some tips on interviewing:
When conducting an interview for the HPR, writers must explicitly clarify with their subjects that the interview is on the record at the beginning of the interview (use the double ask: 1) Is it okay if this interview is on the record? 2) *once recorder is on* My recorder is on. Can I confirm with you that you are okay with this interview being on the record?). Interviews should be recorded and later transcribed, so writers must also confirm that they have subjects’ permission to record. Writers should also ask for interview subjects’ personal pronouns. Interview subjects sometimes ask to review the quotes that will go on the piece or look at a draft of the piece before it is published — this is prohibited.
When reaching out for interviews, you are welcome to introduce yourself as an HPR writer, which often increases the likelihood of receiving a response. Reach out to as many potential interviewees as possible, and always be respectful. Who’s a good interview subject? This varies a lot by article topic, but some ideas that tend to work are professors, activists, politicians, other students, and researchers. However, try to also speak with people directly affected by your topic and/or located in the area you’re writing about. Your editor can also help you brainstorm more interview subjects.
There are rare cases when we allow interview subjects to be anonymous if they are going to be quoted. For the most part, you should assume that anonymous interviews can only be used on background; editors will judge if there is a compelling reason to use an anonymous quote.
Here are a few strong pieces that the HPR has published in recent years; read them over before you start writing to get a better sense of what we’re looking for!