Bay City News and Bay City News Foundation are looking for freelance writers to contribute to on a broad range of topics. While some professional writing experience is preferred, we also work with emerging journalists and students with strong writing skills and story ideas.

Who we are

Bay City News is a regional newswire for the Bay Area that provides 24/7 coverage to most Bay Area media organizations, which then republish articles on their platforms. The subscription-based newswire, started in 1979, serves about 100 news, PR and government clients. Its nonprofit affiliate, Bay City News Foundation, was started in 2018 and publishes a free news site at, focused on public service journalism to make sure the people, places and issues that deserve more attention get it. The combination of original enterprise reporting, breaking news and a powerful distribution network means we are of tremendous value to the 9 million people of the greater Bay Area and beyond, especially now with so much urgent news.

You can read about our mission at and see our work at Also, check out @baynewsmatters on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and sign up for our news and arts & culture newsletters.

What we pay

We like to establish relationships with writers who can contribute regularly so the investment in the work, editing process, publishing, etc. is valuable for everyone. We welcome new writers, however, so please pitch and let us know what interests you.

Bay City News Foundation pays the equivalent of $20/hour to start; that means about $150 for a short story of about 400-500 words with one to two sources that can be turned around in a day or $250 to $300 for a longer story of about 800-1,000 words with several sources that takes about two days to report and write. You must work with the editor in advance on the story length and price. We also require that you work with our photo editor to either take or source photos. We are also willing to collaborate with writers for grant-based work (such as Solutions Journalism Network or USC Center for Health Reporting and others).

The news organization only publishes work once it meets professional standards based on original reporting and writing. We are happy to provide coaching and professional editing on stories, but we do not offer kill fees.

General policy guidelines

We insist on original, verified, well-sourced reporting. We do not allow anonymous sources or attribution to other media except with permission in exceptional circumstances. We follow the SPJ Code of Ethics. We use AP style. We do not monitor or police your social media but do require writers to avoid conflicts of interest on the topics they cover so that our sources, clients and readers have confidence in our commitment to being fair and accurate. We encourage journalists to share their work on social media accounts used for professional work and tag @baynewsmatters so our staff can amplify your stories.


Bay City News believes journalists hold a special civic responsibility.  

Since its founding, BCN has adhered to a strong set of ethical principles modeled on the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. (And with so many broadcast partners, you should also be aware of the RTNDA Code of Ethics.) 

We correct our mistakes.  

We are transparent in our reporting and sourcing.  

We value diversity and inclusion in both our reporting and our hiring practices to more accurately reflect our community. (The company and the nonprofit are woman-owned and run; more than half our board and staff are women, including in leadership positions; a third of our board, staff and contractors are people of color; our internship program targets women and people of color.)  

We conduct ourselves professionally. In our newsroom, we have posted the following credo for four decades.

It shall be the constant intention of BCN reporters and editors: 

  • to pursue and write the news with fairness, accuracy and a sense of professional detachment; 
  • to be purposeful and searching in the quest for information; and yet, 
  • to avoid arrogance and instead maintain a reasonable concern for the personal dignity of all sources and contacts. 

Where your work is published

Most (but not all) stories will be published on a free consumer-facing site,, and frequently cross-published on the subscriber-only BCN newswire used by other media in the greater Bay Area, They will be bylined Your Name, Bay City News Foundation. Bay City News holds the copyright.

Whom to pitch

Local News Matters covers a breadth of timely and evergreen reported pieces across a variety of subjects from local news, arts and culture, to profiles of inspiring volunteer organizations, to environmental issues. Submit your pitch to the appropriate editor:

Local news and environment:

Arts & Entertainment:

“Inspire Me” series on volunteers and nonprofits:

Breaking news:

Here’s an example of a budget item in the format we prefer:

​​REPORTER TONY HICKS/EDITOR NAME (and phone, email for questions)


DEADLINE: 9/14/21


LENGTH: 500-750 words 

STORY:  Now 18 months into the pandemic, business and vacation travelers are antsy to get back to their plan for air trips but obstacles remain. What are travelers having to go through to get tested/screened for COVID at Bay Area airports? Is it cumbersome? Expensive? Worth the hassle? We ask airlines, airport staff and travelers about their plans and experiences. 

PHOTO: checking with TSA for art and also we have from BCN photo editor: 

PHOTO CUTLINE: The interior of Mineta San Jose International Airport in San Jose, Calif., on February 24, 2012. (Photo courtesy of Mineta San Jose International Airport) 

Getting Paid 

Invoices for published work should be submitted at least once per month after first sending a W-9 (you can Google a fillable form from the IRS). Please indicate preferred means of payment. (If direct deposit, we need bank details and will email you a form.) Send info and invoice to Invoices will be paid within a month, or sooner if you are in synch with our biweekly payroll processing dates and have set up direct deposit.

For general information: