Skip Navigation

Write for BPR!

Do you want to have your writing featured in a nonpartisan student publication?

Our special feature topic for this magazine is COMPETITION.

*The pitch call for Spring 2024 Issue 2 is now closed. Check back in the fall for our next Special Feature.

Competition is the lifeblood of politics. In a democracy, it impels candidates to vie for power and influence—in an autocracy, it may drive political actors to more sinister deeds. From the fervent battles of election campaigns to strategic maneuvers within legislative chambers, political competition shapes the very foundations of society.

We invite you to write for our latest special feature, “Competition.” You might explore the rivalries between parties, politicians, or bureaucrats as they jockey for position on the greasy pole, resorting to mudslinging and character assassinations in their quest for supremacy. Or consider authoritarian rulers, who ruthlessly compete to consolidate their grip on power, often at the expense of human rights and democratic principles. Examine the geopolitical rivalries between nations, where competition for resources and territory fuels conflicts that reverberate across the globe.

What are the consequences of living in a world where political competition reigns supreme? How does the pursuit of power shape the policies and priorities of governments, and to what extent does it reflect the will of the people? Can healthy competition foster accountability and progress, or does it lead to polarization and gridlock?

Think of behind-the-scenes negotiations in party headquarters, fierce battles for preeminence on the global stage, and heated debates on the floor of Congress. Let’s delve into the heart of political rivalry, exploring the dynamics of power struggles and ideological clashes that determine the courses of nations.

Submit Your Magazine Pitch Here! 

Guidelines for a great pitch:

  • Original angle
  • Specific and interesting story – BPR likes all things “niche”
  • Strong thesis which presents a normative claim
  • Not widely covered in major news media
  • Supported with empirical evidence that demonstrates your command of the topic
  • Leverages your unique perspective as a college student writing about domestic or world affairs

Pitch Example 1:

Pitch: While there are more than 7,000 languages spoken worldwide, the top 20 account for over 50% of speakers and many researchers estimate that 90% of the total will be extinct by the year 2050 Even relatively prominent minority languages such as Irish are considered endangered by UNESCO, and concern has mounted about how to preserve these markers of the world’s cultural diversity. In some cases, language endangerment can be attributed to repressive government policies, but it is most often also the result of natural processes of cultural assimilation that, while still resulting in the loss of diversity, are not nearly as malicious in nature. In recent years, many governments have instituted policies to try and support regional and indigenous languages in the face of this homogenization; the United Nations has affirmed that the protection of minority languages is a matter of human rights.

Yet, government language policies are often controversial. While it seems reasonable to commit resources to compensate for government-sponsored repression of minority languages, it’s less clear when languages have become endangered by natural processes, given that some common policies can be enormously expensive. Ireland, for example, made the controversial decision to stop producing government documents in Irish during the financial crisis, which cost an enormous sum of money even though only 10% of the population speaks it outside of education. Similarly, the European Union is committed to translations of every official language of a member state, which means that the body must find and pay translators of languages like Maltese, which has just 520,000 native speakers. While few would argue that there’s no value in protecting languages as a matter of cultural value, the varying approaches taken by different governments demonstrate that there are many potentially expensive pitfalls.

Thesis: Government preservation of minority languages is a worthy goal, but this often expensive endeavor should be carefully tailored for maximum effectiveness and without being too restrictive.

Pitch Example 2:

Pitch: Surf and Turf Wars: How the lobstering economy and its lack of regulation fostered the gangland politics of Maine’s lobster ports  From the inception of lobstering as a trap fishery in 1850, the Maine midcoast lobstering industry was a relatively unregulated one — lobstermen were limited in number of traps and individual lobster size, just like any other hunter would be — but in addition to the explicit regulations came traditional agreements demarcating “territories” for each lobsterman to exclusively harvest. These territories were not officially legislated like property; however, on smaller islands, each lobsterman knows all the others, lobstering is the primary livelihood, and violating such territorial agreements is equitable to trespassing on another’s land and stealing his personal income. Thus, these boundaries were sacredly respected.

However, as markets globalized it became easier to ship the Gulf of Maine’s unique lobster around the globe. Therefore, lobstering continued to become more and more lucrative bringing more lobstermen from the mainland and out of state into the market.   The Lobstering communities, forced to accommodate this expansion, became tenser as territories were confined and lobstermen began to dispute what waters belonged to them. Feeling pressure to protect their incomes, lobstermen escalated tensions engaging in vandalism, threats, intimidation, fights, trap cutting with rivals as a means of gaining territory through a literal ‘trap war.’ These reached a head in 2009 when a man on Matinicus Island was shot in the neck in a territorial dispute. While there have been no further shootings, lobstermen routinely keep handguns aboard their boats, and aggravated assaults and boat sinkings continue to occur with frequency each year as the lobster high season begins.

Thesis: This article seeks to provide a closer look into one of the most unexpectedly complicated and cutthroat industries in the United States.  It then asserts that these territories need to be officially recognized and regulated on both the local and state levels to curb the wave of violence that accompanies Maine’s largest export.

View our cross-publishing policy here »

Learn more about becoming a member of our team »

Contact us if you have any questions »