I’m Matt Saincome, co-founder of The Hard Times. I used to be a journalist, freelance writing at places like Noisey and VICE while touring the country in my punk band. I served as music editor for SF Weekly for a while, where I learned a lot about editorial workflows. But when the subculture satire publication I co-founded in late 2014 took off, I started doing satire and comedy writing full time. I’m a San Francisco Bay Area band dude, so I have a general obsession with music and subculture.
Hard Times pitches are all about the headlines. That’s all we need to see, no need to send full articles.
The format is incredibly important. Usually, your headline should be in AP style and as concise as possible. Many pitches that come our way have some solid observations but no sense of the format or tone of the headlines we publish. Please read and absorb some of your favorite Hard Times headlines and make sure your pitches fit not only our topic of interest, but also our format, tone, and voice. You should also search some keywords from your headlines on our site and make sure we haven’t made the observation you’re making yet.
There are quite a few tools in the satire toolbox: exaggeration, absurdity, role reversals, and more. Here are a few that work well on our site, to help guide you in your pitches.
Henry Rollins Driving App Tells You How Hard It Would Have Been to Get There in the ’80s
Henry Rollins wrote a book where he complained about how hard and tortuous touring was. So what if there was an app that was kinda like an extreme version of that? Boom, headline gold.
Hardcore Singer Accidentally Swallows Microphone
You know how hardcore singers always put the mic in their mouth? Let’s take it a step further. He swallows it. That’s satire. So take something else everyone does and crank it up a notch for comedic effect.
Every Drummer Confident Someone Else Will Bring Kit Tonight
Drummers never want to bring their kit. What if every drummer on the show did that? That’s good. So what else does everyone do? Figure that out, crank it up to 11 just like this headline does, and pitch that.
There are millions of ways to create (hopefully) good satire. These are just a few examples to help guide your pitches.
I'd really like to experiment with some new editorial offerings. Satirical album reviews, "how to" guides, satirical advice columns, basically anything that isn't just AP style news, I want to see if we can come up with some interesting, repeatable new format for it.
The key is this: the headline still needs to be funny. (At least I think). Stuff like "The Hard Times Responds to: x" Might not work because it won't have the organic viral nature of our other posts. So hopefully we can combine a funny headline, with a long body article that keeps people entertained.
If you have a purely satirical idea (not humor, not snarky, pure satire) please pitch me the headline and a few paragraphs of it, enough to show me what it will look like but not so much that I don't want to reach some gigantic mess of a pitch.
Please pitch us a 5 headline packet. Every submission from OutVoice is read by our editorial team. If one of your headlines stand out, we get back to you to assign the headline and add you to the freelance team.