The Art of the Pitch

Adapted from a workshop by Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt
Professor of Journalism, Stern College for Women

  1. Know your story:
    Your pitch must be short, concise, compelling, and include a good title. Make sure your article is appropriate for your target audience and for the publication.
  2. Follow a formula:
    1. Start with your hook
      1. “Hi, I read your publication and I want to add/rebut/disagree with…”
      2. “Hi, As a reader of your journal, I thought you may be interested in an article I wrote about…”
    2. Share your story idea:
      1. Include 3-4  sentences to describe the story. Think of this as a headline or a tweet. Consider how to connect the story to a broader conversation.
      2. Provide a reason why readers should care. Do you provide new insight or a new perspective? If it’s regarding an old news story, do you have a fresh analysis or take on it?
      3. Explain the central conflict at the heart of the story. Every story has a conflict- make that clear to the editor upfront.
      4. Why are you qualified to write on this? Are you an expert, a key informant, do you have experience?
    3. End assertively. “I look forward to hearing from you.”
  3. Consider this:
    1. No venting! An article is not a diary entry. Feel free to disagree with an article, with current practice, etc. but do so in an organized, coherent manner and provide a rationale.
    2. Look for what readers are dying to read about, not what you are dying to write about. You are writing for the readers.