News & Views

How to Pitch: National Geographic Traveler, Norie Quintos, Acting Editor in Chief

Norie QuintosNational Geographic Traveler is regularly targeted by travel publicists. Published in Washington, D.C., the title is considered the world’s most trusted and widely-read travel magazine. Its reach extends beyond North America, with 17 licensed local-language editions around the world. As acting editor in chief, Norie Quintos, oversees the magazine’s editorial content across print and digital platforms. Here’s what she has to say about pitching the magazine and the future of travel editorial.

During your tenure at National Geographic Traveler, what have been the biggest changes you have seen in the publication?
Travel is travel, but the platforms have multiplied (web, tablets, social, mobile) and the staff has had to adapt and do more with less. Furthermore, the blurring of advertising and editorial continues.

What elements influence whether or not you read a pitch?
The subject line has to be a brief summary of the content enclosed. Beyond that, the first paragraph has to be grabby too. Including social posts for Facebook and twitter isn’t a bad idea either – anything to make our jobs easier. What we need is interesting, compelling, factual and timely content. Social media plays a big role at National Geographic Traveler. Our reporters and editors often get ideas reading their feeds. Our freelance writers rely on it heavily for ideas and trends too.

What types of story ideas excite you and motivate you to pursue them further?
There are certain destinations that we cover a lot because travelers go there–Italy, California, France, New York. We’re always looking at new ways to see familiar destinations.

How important is the availability of video assets when pitching a story idea to National Geographic Traveler?
It’s not important when pitching, but it becomes more important as a story idea develops. I also expect it will become increasingly important in its own right. Video is the next growth area.

What criteria do you adhere too when choosing content for the Intelligent Travel Blog? 
We look for interesting and timely travel information that is useful to travelers. Check out and pitch to our standard departments like “Local Flavor” and “Throwback Travel” and “I Heart My City” and
“Top 10.”

Can you share more information about National Geographic Traveler’s Digital Nomad program? Do you use their content as a source for story ideas?
We work with select partners/clients to create editorial programs using our Digital Nomads, seasoned journalists we send out into the field. We often use the content for story ideas and will sometimes excerpt in print.

In your opinion, what is the future of travel editorial?
It will continue to evolve and morph as it already has. I think native advertising and sponsored content will continue to grow. The number of platforms and channels will continue to multiply.

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