Module 4 Pitching a Story to Newspapers and Magazines

Module 4 Pitching a Story to Newspapers and Magazines


Hello! Welcome to how to pitch a story to
a newspaper or magazine. In this video, we’ll talk about the process newspapers
and magazines go through when picking what stories to print. Part of this
process is called pitching a story. We’ll talk about what it means to pitch a
story and what information the journalist must include in a pitch. Let’s
start with the process of selecting stories to print. Journalists usually
work as a team, and the head of that team is the editor. The editor makes the final
decision on what will appear in a newspaper or magazine. Journalists give a pitch which is a short description of the story that a journalist wants to
tell. When a pitch is given verbally, it’s
about 30 to 40 seconds long. The purpose of the pitch is to sell this idea to the
editor so it will be written and printed in the newspaper or magazine. So, it’s
important to say first and foremost why is this story newsworthy, or why is it a
story that should be in the news. This is the main idea of the pitch. Why
is the story important? The second question a journalist must answer in a pitch is who cares about this issue? This relates to the idea of a target audience. A newspaper should have mass appeal, meaning citizens of all ages, backgrounds, levels of education, should be interested in at least some of the articles
published in a newspaper. But for magazines, the readers have much more
specific traits. For example, a magazine may target women who live in cities and
have professional jobs. In the pitch, the journalist should be able to identify
who in particular would be interested in this story. The third question is who or
what are the sources? The journalist needs to prove that they have access to
information on this topic. They should say who they’re interviewing, when those
interviews are scheduled, how those people connect to the story, and what
other types of information they’ll use to tell this story. This proves to the
editor that the journalist can get the information needed to tell this story
accurately, completely, and truthfully. The final question that should be answered in this pitch is how long does the journalist need to research and write
the story? Many times the newspapers are competing with one another to tell the
story first, but first is not always better. For example, if a journalist is
rushing to be first, they might make more mistakes. If this happens, the audience
could lose trust in that journalist or even in the newspaper. So, while being
first is good, it’s better to be right. Editors will want to know when they can
expect the story to be completed. To summarize, journalists pitch story ideas to an editor, who then selects which stories to print. The pitch includes why
the story is newsworthy, as well as possible audience, sources, and a timeline. In the next video you’ll learn what it means to pitch radio news.

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