How to Pitch a Reporter - Joanna Campbell Slan

How to Pitch a Reporter

I contacted a newspaper I once worked for…and even though my book isn’t out yet (but it can be pre-ordered through Amazon), I wrangled a nice interview:

Because book pages are slowly going the way of the dinosaur, it behooves us to “pitch” reporters who may not be book reviewers. I went to the newspaper site, trawled around for articles, and decided Arlene looked like a good match for what I had to offer. Then I called her and made my pitch. We noodled around, and she suggested the slant for the interview.

You know, the media are “herd” animals. They don’t want to be left out of a good story. I remember when I worked for newspapers and freelanced for radio–the news director would go through all the day’s stories and grill the reporters with, “Why didn’t we get this story? Check it out. Do a follow up.”

What makes a story newsworthy?

1. A unique angle (see the link above)
2. A local or seasonal tie
3. Number of people affected and how close to home it happened
4. Sex,blood, money, scandal and celebrity
5. Human interest–which includes humor and a look at other people’s lives
6. Something new….

The more of those qualities you can pitch, the more likely you are to get coverage. Visualize a slot machine: How many cherries can you get in a row? In fact, if you go through the interview, you’ll see she and I touched on all of the above. (The “blood” being I wrote a mystery.)


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