Pitching Stories

In the case of more general news, writers must consider multiple elements of a story to make sure the work they put in is worth the time and is interesting enough for the reader. If this is your first time submitting a story pitch, please consider the following as they apply:

  1. What section of the publication would the article most likely belong in? Examples for The Brief would include: Students, Faculty, Events, etc
  1. What is the main news hook of this story? Is it unique? If not, how can you repurpose it or change the approach so you are adding something new to what has been covered? For example – in regular news, you might localize a national story.
  1. Is it timely? Why? 
  1. How will I lead into this story?
  1. If there have been previous articles on this, is it brand new information or information building on an already existing story? It could also be an annual/regular article (i.e. Relay For Life). This will determine how you gather information. If it is the latter, then you will need to check previous notes and articles for possible sources, fact checking and history.
  1. Do I need to do any additional research? How and where?
  1. Name five possible sources (if this is a longer article), starting with the most important (expert, first-hand witness/account, regular person) and why you would use them. You may not be able to get in contact with some sources, so planning with that expectation will leave you with more choices. Try to capture different perspectives to the story.
  1. Name: _____________________ Why: _______________________
  2. Name: _____________________ Why: _______________________
  3. Name: _____________________ Why: _______________________
  4. Name: _____________________ Why: _______________________
  5. Name: _____________________ Why: _______________________ 
  1. Who stands to lose/gain the most in this story? How does each person feel? What was the main accomplishment?
  1. Identify possible visuals. Aim to have at least one visual with each article.
About Kéran Billaud 14 Articles
Kéran Billaud is a J.D. student at the University of Florida Levin College of Law (2L). He has taught labs at the CJC and is a past sole instructor of Mass Media & You. From 2010 to 2015, he worked in print, radio, TV and online multimedia news for organizations such as NPR/PBS/NBC/CBS affiliates, and foreign media in Zambia, Africa. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications with a double minor in English lit/creative writing and French from Emory & Henry College and a professional master’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Florida. On the side, he has enjoyed 14 years of serious competition in endurance races up through the marathon and in martial arts tournaments, water sports and mountain climbing.