CBC First Person FAQ
Want to share your personal story with CBC News? Here's how
What are First Person columns?
First Person columns are personal stories and experiences of Canadians, in their own words. This is intended to showcase a more intimate storytelling perspective, and allow people from across the country to share what they have lived through.
A good piece will spur conversation. It could be a slice of life or a transformative moment that changed your life. Perhaps your personal story will inform how the reader thinks about the world.
Here are some examples of First Person columns:
What are you looking for?
A good First Person should focus on one thing and explore it in-depth, rather than giving us a broad overview of a subject.
We are looking particularly for personal stories that reflect contemporary Canada, encompassing experiences from outside major urban centres, from people with disabilities, from Black, Indigenous and other people of colour, and from diverse economic-social perspectives.
First-time contributors are always welcome and can often have new insight on a topic. You do not have to be a professional writer, but you should have an interesting personal narrative with details that can sustain 500 to 600 words. Pitches must be original work that has not been published elsewhere.
How can I send in a submission?
If you're interested in writing a First Person column for CBC News, you can send a pitch summarizing your submission to FirstPerson@cbc.ca for our editors to review.
An editor will contact you if CBC News wants to pursue commissioning your column. Unfortunately, we cannot respond individually to every pitch due to the volume of submissions.
If your pitch is accepted, you will be paid for your published column.
What's the best way to frame a pitch?
Before sending your pitch, read a few of our previously published First Person columns. This will give you a sense of what makes a good First Person column and also what we have covered in the past.
When you send a pitch, make sure it's a topic we haven't covered or it explores a different angle of that issue.
Start by introducing yourself in a few lines and where you live. Then, explain your idea for a First Person column in approximately 150 words and why you think it would resonate with a CBC audience. In your pitch, reflect on what you learned from the experience or how it changed your perspective. If you have relevant photos, audio or video that would augment your column, include those details too.
What if I'm not a professional writer?
First-time contributors are always welcome and can often bring new insight. If your pitch is accepted, you'll work with an editor to finesse your writing. The editing process typically includes guidance on improving the flow, structure, or clarity of the column, as well as revisions to fix typos, grammar, or other language and style rules.
The time commitment can vary, but in general, a column will require at least two drafts, and discussions between the writer and editor may span several days.
What is the difference between First Person, analysis and opinion?
A First Person column relies on specific experience lived by the contributor. It should be a compelling narrative that readers may relate to because they, too, have experienced something similar or because they are learning something new through a perspective on a situation.
An Opinion column relies on expertise held by the contributor that helps support an argument with a potential impact on society. These columns showcase a wide range of commentary to give the audience access to competing ideas and perspectives which complement CBC News coverage, and provide additional insight.
Analysis pieces are written by CBC News journalists who bring their own experiences, knowledge and insight to provide additional context.
All of this content — whether it is Opinion, First Person or Analysis — must adhere to CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices. All columns are fact-checked by CBC staff.
What was Point of View?
Point of View was the label previously applied to First Person columns. This was changed in February 2021 to set a clear distinction with Opinion columns.