North

How to write a First Person piece for CBC North

CBC North welcomes pitches or ideas for 500- to 700-word essays that may be of wide interest to our audience, and you don't have to be a professional writer. 

Pitch your 500- to 700-word essays to northfirstperson@cbc.ca

The CBC North building in Yellowknife. CBC North welcomes pitches or ideas for 500- to 700-word essays or opinion pieces that may be of wide interest to our audience, and you don't have to be a professional writer.  (Walter Strong/CBC)

CBC North welcomes pitches or ideas for 500- to 700-word essays that may be of wide interest to our audience. 

Anyone can pitch their idea by sending an email to northfirstperson@cbc.ca. Tell us what you'd like to write about and a bit about yourself. 

No professional writing experience is required. Successful pitchers will be paid for their work. 

What we're looking for

A good First Person story is usually based on a personal story or experience that can educate or help others.

Your piece should be connected to who you are. For example, someone who's spent a few years playing or coaching hockey is in a better position to make comments on changes in the sport than someone with no experience of the game. Similarly, someone who lives in Taloyoak will be in a good position to talk about housing issues in central Nunavut, while someone living in Yellowknife may not be.   

The more focused your pitch, the more likely it will be successful. One tip for focusing a story is to imagine the headline: how would you summarize this in just a few words? If it's too difficult, you may want to focus your piece a bit more. 

If you have an idea, but aren't having an easy time expressing it, pitch anyway. Often a conversation on the phone can help refine an idea into a workable essay. 

Note: we do not pay for First Person pieces from politicians, people running for office or employees of political parties. While we may run a piece from someone in one of those roles, we are careful to consider any potential for conflict of interest. 

Anyone chosen to write a piece will be asked to fill out a form detailing potential conflicts.

Some examples

Here's a great example of a personal story Charles J. Hester wrote about his friendship with Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo, and how their interaction — and a vivid community member — inspired a later album. 

Here's another rich personal story by a woman who reconnected to her Indigenous culture in part by connecting with other Indigenous groups. 

This piece is a good example of a personal experience the author learned from and wanted to share with others. The story was published just as Yellowknife was experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 and compassion for those with the diagnosis was top of mind. 

Send your pitches to: northfirstperson@cbc.ca.

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