How to Pitch a Story

I’ve been an editor, and I’ve been a freelancer so I know how pitches work from both sides of the table. Here’s some advice from what I’ve gleaned over the years. Let me know if you have questions!

Do Your Homework

john snow, game of thrones, homework

Before pitching make sure you’re talking to the right person. There’s nothing worse than getting pitches about dog food promos when my bio clearly states I’m into neurology.

Google the story to make sure it hasn’t been covered extensively—or by the publication you’re pitching. Oftentimes, a pub won’t want to cover the topic if their competitor has already touched on it. You’ll need to make sure your angle is sufficiently different and interesting enough to warrant another article.

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7 Reasons Job Hunting is Wonderful (with GIFs)

Job hunting is insuperably splendiferous.

There are lots of articles along the lines of “how to make job hunting suck less” and “how to not go crazy while searching for work,” but I haven’t seen any “silver lining” stories pop up on the world wide web. While I certainly understand the downside of looking for gigs, there are plenty of reasons why job hunting is oh-so wonderful:

Meet new people


It’s all about who you know. The more people who have your name at the forefront of their brains, the more successful you’ll be with your job hunt. Even if you don’t land the gig, you have the potential to get a freelancing assignment out of it. Plus, everyone in the journalism biz hops around all.the.time. You might not work for the company now, but there’s a high likelihood you’ll end up on a future team with someone from the organization.

Scope out the field


When else do you get to chit chat with the Editor in Chief? ask about the publication’s biggest successes—and failures? When will you have another opportunity to discuss the company’s editorial direction? the short-term and long-term goals?

Job hunting is a perfect time to scope out the field and learn more about your industry.

Learn about yourself


Nobody likes introspection, but everybody needs a healthy dose of it. You can’t apply for everysinglejobopportunityever so you have to pick and choose. Job hunting forces you to think deeply (and realistically) about your dreams and goals. What makes you tick? What makes you happy? What qualities do you consider important? What is a work-life balance, anyway? How will you reconcile the need for money with the need for workplace satisfaction? What are your long-term goals?

Searching for gainful employment also gives you the opportunity to learn how you can improve. Maybe there’s a coding class you need to take. Perhaps a time-management workshop would be helpful. Or, it’s possible that you just need to up your self-confidence and improve your self-promotion skills. Whatever the case, job hunting gives you the perfect excuse to tackle that self-improvement project.

Find your friends


Notice how I didn’t title this “Why Job Hunting is Fun.” Looking for work isn’t exactly high up on the list of ways I’d like to spend my time. And, let’s be honest here, sometimes it just suckslikeawholebunch. But when the chips are down, your true friends will come out of the woodwork.

There’s the friend who will listen to your rants about howawfulthejobmarketisrightnow and whyamIeveninthisindustryanway and provide the necessary support. Friends who will buy beers after a particularly stressful interview. Friends who will send you job openings, articles on how to perfect your resume and little words of encouragement every once in a while. And then there are those saints who will offer to edit your cover letter.

These people are golden. Make sure to return the favor when they’re in the same boat.

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Job Hunting Across the U.S.

Job hunting engenders a fascinating array of emotions—fear, surprise, sadness, embarrassment, excitement, joy, etc. It’s amazing how the pursuit of gainful employment holds so much power over our lives. Looking for work can be exhilarating and uplifting as well as totally and completely soul-crushing.

I’m on a cross-country road trip with the Significant Other, traveling from D.C. to San Francisco and back. Throughout the trip, I’ve been applying for jobs: typing follow-up emails in the car, practicing for interviews in 7-11 bathroom mirrors and penning cover letters in tents. But I don’t just want a job, I want the job. When you’re spending the majority of your life moving heaven and earth on a boss’s whim, it better damn well be worth it.

So how do I go about finding that elusive gig? You know, the one that makes working late nights and weekends oddly satisfying? I did what any journo would do when seeking answers—I interviewed people across America.

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Give Back

Rena Bob, a Grand Canyon National Park Interpretive Park Ranger, on the importance of giving back with your work:parkrangerI’m a park ranger. I have a cultural background as a Navajo. That’s what’s unique about me and any native working in the park. I have knowledge about the plants and the earth. I am a liaison between the native people and visitors. I educate the public about what is special to us as native people so these histories can be passed on to new generations and respected.
We educate kids to protect these places. It’s such a good feeling that the kids are interested in the history of the park, in the history of the Navajo. There’s hope for the future.
This interview has been lightly edited and paraphrased.

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