Q. What topics does First Policy Response cover?

A. Anything related to COVID-19 response and recovery policy within Canada. We’ve run pieces about economic policy, journalism funding, digital contact tracing, effects on specific vulnerable communities, arts and culture and more.


Q. How do I submit a piece?

A. Email us at policyresponse@ryerson.ca to tell us what you’d like to write about and how you plan to approach it. If we like your idea, we will ask you to go ahead with a submission, but we might also ask for more information before we move forward. From that point, there are two ways we can proceed: 

  • If you would prefer more feedback earlier on in the process, you can send us a detailed outline that lays out what arguments you will be making, what sources you will draw from, how you will structure the piece, etc. 
  • Or you can just send us your completed piece. 


Q. What happens after I have submitted my piece?

A. The editorial team will review it and get back to you in a few days with any revisions or questions that we would need to see addressed before we approve the piece for publication.


Q. What are you looking for in a submission? 

A. We like authors to be as specific on policy as possible. e.g. Rather than “we should do more” or “have a plan,” be specific about which governments/institutions should do what and how they could go about it. We like authors to engage with existing issues and debates in the space and consider possible arguments against the points being made. We don’t necessarily need definitive answers on policy solutions, but at least some discussion of what policy-makers’ priorities should be, or why a certain problem demands a policy solution. 


Q. How long/what format should a submission be? 

A. We are quite flexible with the format, so it could be anything from a 750-word op/ed-style piece to a 1,500-word paper, but we do prefer language that is more accessible to a wider audience than a typical academic paper. If you have a longer paper that you would like to submit (i.e. more than 2,000 words), we will likely request that you also submit a brief summary version that we can link to a PDF of the full paper, but we can discuss on a case-by-case basis. 


Q. Why should I write for First Policy Response instead of a mainstream news outlet? 

A. We can’t compete on general reach but we have an audience that is highly engaged on policy issues, including policy-makers, influencers and journalists, as well as the interested public. We are also open to cross-publishing with other outlets.


Q. Can I re-post a First Policy Response piece on my website? 

A. Yes. We publish under a Creative Commons BY licence, which means you can republish or adapt anything from our website as long as you give credit to the author, note that it originally appeared on First Policy Response and indicate if changes were made. We would also ask that you include a link to the original piece.


Q. I’ve never written a policy analysis piece before. Is that OK?

A. Absolutely! Unlike many news publications that are only able to accept or reject a piece, our editorial team can work with you to shape your argument and structure your piece for publication. We can also connect you with a research volunteer who can help with research support. 


Q. Do you accept submissions in formats other than writing? 

A. Yes. Infographics, video and other forms of expression may be eligible — you can reach out to us at any time for direction/pitch approval before you begin working on your piece. 


Q. What is involved in being a research volunteer? 

A. We sometimes draw on volunteers to help with research support for our authors. This is generally on an as-needed basis, so research volunteers would work with a specific author on a specific piece and time commitments are flexible. Research volunteers typically support authors through finding data to support arguments made in the pieces, creating visual depictions of data (i.e. charts/graphs), and/or doing additional reading on the topic to ensure that the piece accurately reflects the multiple angles of a given policy issue. If you are interested in volunteering, email us at policyresponse@ryerson.ca and tell us about your areas of research interest.