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We are an editorially independent politics and culture magazine with a campaigning heart. 

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The Lead is a micro-mag: a lean, mean site on politics, culture, and everything in between. We cover the sharp angles that define our life in the UK today: poverty, racism, climate change, corporate and government malfeasance, the breakdown of our healthcare system and the fracturing of the state. 

So far, so worthy. Most decent media aspires to do the same. But our aim is not just to inform: it’s to restore agency. We are launching in a period of simmering discontent, cascading economic crises, a swelling environmental emergency and deep political stagnation. We’re all bombarded by bad news pretty much everywhere we look, and each of us takes part, actively or passively, in the disconsolate social media hum that this news produces. 

The more these crises grow, the less in control we feel. 99 percent of us weren’t allowed a say in electing our previous prime minister, and 0% of us were given a vote in choosing the one after that. Our economy is being wrecked, but our right to protest is being legislated away. Even our right to boycott products is called into question, and as for the freedom of speech — you’ve all seen what happened to even the most polite of protesters against the monarchy. Real-life dissent is being stifled — and online outrage without a path to action amounts to little more than static.  

Our aim here at The Lead is to convert this static into energy. We’ll lean hard into organising open letters, campaigns and, while it’s still legal, direct action. We won’t have a comment section — if we've got something to say, we might as well go out and do something. We’ll do our best to keep you up to speed with actions and the motivations behind them — irrespective of who you vote for, if you vote at all. Faced with the prospect of another decade of Tory rule, we can’t afford to be territorial or precious. 

Alongside all this we will be covering the stuff worth living for: things to read, things to see, things to listen to and watch, things to eat and feel. As we grow, we’ll host events to scratch all these itches (sign up below to find out first). Focusing only on the fight is the road to burnout: we’re here for the long run to debate, agitate and celebrate. Or, as a late, great friend once said “theorise, mobilise, moisturise”. We hope that you join us. 

The team

Dimi Reider is a journalist, editor and facilitator. He is a co-founder of +972 Magazine, and his writing has appeared everywhere from The New York Times to Haaretz and from Foreign Affairs to the London Review of Books. He also spent some time as a senior editor at Newsweek, but he doesn't like to talk about it much. 

Leah Borromeo is an award-winning documentary director and journalist with roots in international current affairs. Their film The Mortician of Manila has won over 20 awards around the world and was long-listed for an Academy Award. Leah became a former deputy foreign editor at Sky News after driving an armoured personnel carrier into the City of London during the 2009 G20 protests.

Natalie Morris is a journalist, podcast host, and the author of Mixed/Other - covering stories concerning social justice, inequality, lifestyle, health and wellbeing, and everything in-between. Mancunian living in London.

Diyora Shadijanova is journalist, writer, and editor based in London. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, The Independent, DAZED, Huck Magazine, THE FACE, and more. She was previously the climate editor and, before that, the opinion editor at gal-dem magazine. She is the co-founder of hothouse book club, a digital and IRL book club that champions a climate justice perspective.

Zoë Grünewald is a freelance political journalist and broadcaster. She has worked in and around Westminster for five years, starting her career as a parliamentary clerk before throwing away the wig and entering journalism. Zoë then worked as a policy and politics reporter at the New Statesman, before joining The Independent as a political correspondent. When not writing about politics and policy, she is a regular commentator on TV and radio and a panellist on the Oh God What Now podcast. 

Pitch us

We're looking for UK-focused op-eds, features and investigations covering social injustice, housing, immigration, racism, inequality and the environment. Terrible landlords? Send them our way. Home Office scoops? Bring them. Evidence of systemic racism by any part of the system? Haul 'em in. Untold tales of climate change? From villains to heroes,  we're interested in them all. We also welcome pitches on education and criminal justice, or lack thereof; and topics you think are crucial but neglected.

Importantly we're after stories that encourage our readers to make an impact. Don't just submit an argument against inequality: reveal the policy (or lack of policy) behind it. Give us the bad guys - but the good ones too, and tell us how they can be backed. Crucially, tell us who in power should be pressured, and how to make a difference. 

We don’t just want solutions; we’re more about campaigning. This means not just proposing alternatives to the status quo but pushing the powers that be to enact them.

The perfect The Lead piece would tackle a systemic problem, propose a solution, and tell readers how they can help - whether by boosting those working for change or by pressuring and persuading those who resist it. 

Here are some good examples:

  • This feature by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff on the safety of Black girls in schools.
  • This feature by Katherine Quarmby on how the NHS is failing adoptees.
  • This op-ed by Chantelle Lunt on homelessness not being a “lifestyle choice”.
  • This regional feature by Antonia Charlesworth Stack on Blackpool’s South Shore Romani Gypsies.

Our formats:

  • Op-eds, which start at £200 per piece and run between 800 - 1200 words.
  • Features, which start at £400 for about 1500 words.
  • For investigations, long reads etc., fees are considered on a case-by-case basis.

What we want in your pitch:

  1. A clear outline of the angle and format.
  2. For features, outline interviewees, including case studies and experts.
  3. Links to relevant stats/ studies that support the piece.
  4. Call to action.
  5. Examples of previous work.
  6. A line on why you’re the right person to write the story.
  7. Specify if time-sensitive.

How to best reach us:

Email: [email protected]

Please note:

The Lead is a small editorial team, and many of us work part-time. We may not respond to every pitch.

The Lead is published by Scram Media Ltd, company number 11736030.