Hello! The Heavy Table is a collectively created, reader-funded publication telling the culinary stories of the Upper Midwest. Most our stories revolve around the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, but we range into greater Minnesota and Wisconsin with some regularity. Iowa, Ontario, and the Dakotas are not off limits!
We have a regular team of contributing writers and photographers, but we welcome submissions from outside their ranks.
Your submission, once greenlit, written, edited, and accepted for publication, will end up in one of three places: on this website, in Heavy Table’s biweekly dining newsletter (The Churn) or in Heavy Table’s biweekly culinary industry newsletter (The Tap). Generally we’ll know where it’s headed before you write, but things can shift around.
When in doubt, don’t center the story on yourself. There is a time and place for first-person voice and personal opinions, but unless the story is specifically structured to be a first-person account, de-emphasize yourself and direct your curiosity and powers of description toward your subjects. Report, interview, taste, and research. Be curious. Be respectful, but be skeptical. Raise doubts, explore context, seek comparisons, and cast forward into probable futures. Don’t accept a pat answer without pondering countervailing opinions or possibilities.
The Heavy Table doesn’t seek uniformity of voice. (There’s nothing wrong with uniform voice, it’s just not our thing.) But if there’s any doubt about fitting your writing to our magazine, err on the side of clarity, simplicity, and directness. Clear communication is the number one goal. Colorful use of language is welcome after the meaning has been made clear.
Advocate for our readers. Whether as diners or culinary citizens of the Upper Midwest, our readers are the lifeblood of this publication, and your story should somehow enrich their lives.
If you’ve already read a story on a major news site (Star Tribune, WCCO, MSP Mag, etc.) then it’s probably not for us unless you can offer a strongly contrary or newly revelatory spin on it. What we lack in resources we must compensate for with creativity, enterprise, and open-mindedness.
We are inclined to tell the stories of outsiders rather than insiders – that may often mean reporting on smaller independent restaurants and makers, and/or BIPOC entrepreneurs, and/or immigrant voices.
As much as possible, we like to stay close to the food. That means taste, texture, smell, availability, price, value prospect, visual presentation. If all you do is taste and accurately report on interesting food, we’ll find a place for you in the magazine. But you can generally start from food and take a circular path out to bigger stories and heavier issues, if you care to.
FEES, DEADLINES, RIGHTS
Our fees start at $45-90 for typical/straightforward work (a short restaurant review, a one-source profile, etc.) and go up from there. Anything – a higher rate, travel expenses, food expenses, etc. – is possible, if the return is there for our readers and we can make it work with our overall budget.
What drives a higher rate? Factors include timeliness, sensitivity of material, novelty / news breaking potential, and impact on readers. If you have to painstakingly seek out sources who are difficult to coax into sharing important, compelling material that speaks to a burning issue, we want to support you with a better rate.
Deadlines are determined by a conversation with your editor. In general, we’d rather grant you more leisurely deadlines that you adhere to than push you for something that you may not be able to deliver. If you feel that you’re going to miss a deadline, the more notice the better so alternative material can be arranged; the Heavy Table publishes at least two new stories on the website each week, plus 2,000+ words of material in its Friday newsletter.
The Heavy Table retains online publication rights to stories but, after 60 days, we start taking (and generally granting) reprint requests from writers, particularly for personal portfolios and other non-competitive use. Photographers retain ownership up their images, granting Heavy Table the usage of those images (with exclusivity for 60 days.)
FACT-CHECKING AND ACCOUNTABILITY
We expect the material that you submit will be accurate and at a professional standard. That means you’ve double-checked all proper names, your chronology is tight and logical, you’ve sought comment from people or organizations referenced in direct quotes, and your quotes are accurate. We highly encourage recording your sources (with their permission) and using direct transcriptions of actual quotes.
We will do our best to support your work with thorough editing and fact-checking on our side of the process. If we receive reports of errors, we will work with you to determine the accuracy of those reports and then address them appropriately (a polite email, a correction, a rewrite, a retraction, etc.)
Email James Norton (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your idea. The more specifics (sources, context, proposed deadline, length, ideas for art, explanation for how this will connect to the audience, etc.), the better. Expect a reply within a week, typically sooner. All pitches will get a reply, if only to decline.