Seeking Submissions American Prison Newspapers Collection

The engagement editor over the Reveal Digital American Prison Newspapers collection, which contains centuries of digitized newspapers produced by and for incarcerated people, is actively accepting pitches for features.

Features will be published on JSTOR Daily and may be cross-posted on partner publications. You can see examples of stories we’ve published on JSTOR Daily here.

Our stories aim to shed new light and new humanity on the experience of incarceration in the United States. Only rarely do people who have never been incarcerated get the opportunity to read and see first-hand accounts of the prison experience like those represented in the newspapers that make up this collection.

Current policy discourse can be aided by a historical lens. Compassion is fostered through the universality of human experience. Some parts of prison are eminently strange while others eminently familiar; both categories make for good stories.

Features can be based on things mentioned in the archive explicitly, implicitly, or something that may be inferred. Each feature should cite the newspapers themselves (primary sources) and present a thesis that is supported and contextualized by JSTOR scholarship (secondary sources). In other words, the secondary sources enhance content found in the primary source. Each pitch from someone who is not actively incarcerated should include one potential primary and secondary source.

We are looking for stories on the following subjects and more:

      • Stories from women’s prisons.
      • Region or state-specific roundups with interesting excerpts. (Papers from the Pacific Northwest, the South.)
      • Technology and prisons, from tablet access to surveillance tech.
      • Arts and humanities, including theater, visual arts, and poetry.
      • Sports.
      • LGBTQIA2+ stories.
      • Unexpected and untold histories.
      • Stories at the intersection of race and the criminal-legal system.

To send a submission, please visit the Contact the Editors form and select “Submissions & Pitches American Prison Newspapers” from the drop down menu.

JSTOR Daily is committed to publishing a diversity of voices that are closest to the issue of mass incarceration. We are actively seeking freelancers who are directly impacted. We are also seeking freelancers with experience covering jails, prisons, the justice system, and the people ensnared within it.

If you know someone currently incarcerated who would like to write for us, we can communicate through regular mail, JPay, and Corrlinks.

For general submission guidelines and more detail about how to submit, please see our submissions page.