Rest of World is a digital magazine that explores how people in the non-Western world are being changed by technology, using technology in surprising ways, and what these phenomena tell us about life and innovation in a global digital age. We are less interested in how the world looks from Silicon Valley, but, instead, from Nairobi, Bangalore, Kuala Lumpur, and São Paulo.
What do we publish?
We publish narrative stories that report, with nuance and detail, on the interplay of digital technology with cultures around the world. This includes:
- Longer features (3,000 words and up) Our features will ask big questions about the nature of technology and human behavior. Strong characters and color are required. Some of our recent features have explored how government employees and digital activists took on authoritarianism and how an online platform catalyzed Hong Kong’s protest movement. We’re also interested in ideas for investigative reporting, including larger consequences of the unchecked growth of digital platforms.
- Mid-length features (less than 2,000 words) Mid-length features capture a moment of transition in a society, or a particularly unique tech platform or app that is upending traditional norms or power structures. Our recent stories include a report on how Nigeria’s most prominent preacher is driving a widespread misinformation campaign and a vivid look at how a rising crop of video stars in rural India are handling their newfound fame.
- Profiles (~1500 words) We profile intriguing characters who are playing a role in their culture’s tech experience: entrepreneurs, activists, social media influencers, decision-makers, academics, coders, viral stars, heroes, hackers, rogues, scam-artists and more.
- Short front-of-the-book pieces (between 700 to 1000 words) We’re interested in dispatches and first person stories, either written as essays or in “as told to” formats.
What do we want in the stories?
We are not aiming for a house voice so much as a sensibility. That sensibility is curious, smart, quirky, and invested in looking seriously at aspects of technology and culture that other publications don’t. Here are some general tips for writing for us:
- Our audience includes international readers. So before you write to us, take a moment to think about what might be surprising to readers living on the other side of your world, whether that’s observing a small detail about how people live/behave/work, or something larger.
- Be clear about the stakes of what you’re describing. If it’s an app, for example, show us what its success or failure reflects about the culture. We want to move past “gee whiz” moments and really illustrate how technology connects us to bigger social issues. As much as we want you to describe how something is happening, we also want you to get into why you think it is happening, and why that matters.
- Be critical! We’re not interested in tech boosterism—we want our writers to get deep into their subjects, and to come to their own conclusions.
- When writing about technology, be as detailed as possible—if you’re writing about an app, describe the functions, the interface, and consider what is unique about the way it works. If you’re writing about an algorithm, ask what kinds of data sets have been included, and get as much information as you can about how the algorithm has been trained to “think.” If you’re describing a startup, ask about their user numbers, how many employees they have, and the extent to which they’ve grown since launch.
Here’s what we don’t want:
- Conventional business/tech reporting about new startups, product features, funding or launches. It’s not enough to say, “Now, there’s an app for X.”
- Development, social enterprise or humanitarian stories that treat technology as a pretext, rather than an integral part of the story itself.
- Speculative pieces — i.e., “what will this technology lead to in the future?”
- And finally, don’t send us finished stories. We’d rather work with you to shape the piece.
What does non-Western world mean?
Good question. Like all geographic groupings, “Western” can be subjective.
Here’s what we cover: Everywhere in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, South Pacific and South Asia.
We don’t cover the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia or New Zealand.
We are also interested in migrant groups’ use of technology.
What’s the pay like?
Our rates are high compared with market averages. We cover travel & reporting expenses. We respond to pitches on a rolling basis.
We review pitches every Monday and our editors will be in touch within a week if we like your idea.