Publish with GroundUp

Articles must be original 

We have a policy of only publishing original material. Please do not offer us material that has been published elsewhere, including Facebook or a blog. That applies to both news reports and opinion pieces. We do not publish press releases, advertorials or puff pieces.


Except in rare circumstances, we do not publish articles with the byline of an organisation, or anonymously. We prefer to publish articles with the bylines of the people who wrote them, even if they wrote the article for an organisation.


By default, we assert that all material published on GroundUp is our copyright. However, our copyright is very permissive. We almost always publish under a Creative Commons license that allows anyone else to republish the article, so long as the author and GroundUp are credited, and the original article is not modified in any substantive way. We do this because we want articles we publish to be widely read. If you prefer an article you publish with us to be copyrighted or licensed differently, please negotiate this with us before, not after, publication.   

Freelance news reporting

If you wish to do freelance news reporting for GroundUp please email your short CV and a paragraph or two pitching your story idea to

Please note that we are inundated with pitches from freelancers. Your best chance of getting a reply from us is to write a clear, compelling pitch to the above email address.

We have an intense editing process and we fact-check. If you wish to write for us please be willing to co-operate with our process. Please keep notes of people you interview, when and where you interviewed them and their contact details.

We only pay if we publish. Freelance articles have a much greater chance of being published if the draft we receive is well-written.

Please try to conform to our style guide.

Never intentionally write false facts. Never plagiarise.

Our reputation depends on the honesty of our contributors. If any contributor to GroundUp fabricates any aspect of an article submitted to us for publication, upon discovery we will withdraw the article and permanently ban the contributor from writing or working for GroundUp again. We are also likely to publicise what happened, including the name of the contributor. On this issue there are no excuses and no second chances.

Please note that we have to deduct 25% tax (PAYE) on payments to freelancers unless you invoice from a company (in which case you have to sort out your tax yourself) or provide a SARS tax directive (in which case we deduct the percentage specified by the tax directive). We recommend to freelancers to submit annual tax returns and claim money back from SARS.


GroundUp gives preference to opinion pieces that are relevant to current news topics and interesting. Opinions on social justice issues are particularly welcome. Your article should be original and it should be clear to us that you actually know something about the topic you're writing about, and that you are not just armchair commentating. Try to keep your opinion piece between 600 to 1,000 words. We are less likely to publish very long articles unless they are extremely well written and engaging. Insults are not a good form of argument, so keep them to a minimum. Write in plain English. Articles littered with waffle, hyperbole and strongly held but evidence-free opinions are unlikely to be published.

We don't care if you use British or American English or split your infinitives. If you are a second-language English speaker, please don't be afraid to submit an opinion piece to GroundUp. We don't mind grammar errors and typos, so long as the article is coherent. We'll correct grammar and typos before publishing. But do note that articles that are unintelligible because of grammar errors and typos are unlikely to be read properly by our editors and therefore unlikely to be published.

Avoid the current fashion in online journalism of substituting proper research with wordplay. We would prefer a dry opinion piece with concise intelligent arguments over one that uses wit to disguise vacuousness.

If we decide to publish an opinion piece, expect to spend a bit of time on the phone or email with one of our editors, checking your facts and discussing ways to improve the text. 

We do not pay for opinion or analysis articles unless we explicitly commission them, which is rare. If we do commission an opinion or analysis piece, we may negotiate a payment with the writer.