I've asked the question a few times before about how to get published in newspapers and magazines, and the most common response has been, by far: "what are your qualifications to write about the piece?"
This had me interested.
What qualifications did Orwell have to write arguably the most famous essay of all time, "Politics and the English Language"?. He wasn't a linguist, nor a philologian. He was an Imperial Police Officer for the British empire. Imagine George Orwell pitching to the New York Times, and suppose their response:
"To whom it may concern,
I should like to write an article showing the nasty way in which the English language lives."
That would be the short version of it.
Imagine he didn't have any credentials at such a time, but wrote this as his first piece.
Assuming he got a response, which he would not, the editor should respond:
"What are your qualifications?"
"I am a police officer..."
End of emails.
What would his qualifications have been for writing about tea? I don't recall ever reading of him owning a tea shop. And what of his journalism in Wigan Pier? He hadn't trained under any journalist, nor did he go to journalism school, yet he wrote one of the most fascinating pieces of journalism ever written.
Do you suppose any newspaper would hire a non-graduate such as George Orwell to such an expensive story?
Nay, but they certainly boast about how incredible he was, and teach of his writings, which is horribly ironic, in my classes at university.
I'm curious if any editors here would even entertain reading a subject line such as "I have an article about tea."
George Orwell and P.G. Wodehouse, who was a banker, would be omitted entirely from our history if they were born recently rather than so many decades ago.