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Pitch Requirements

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Learning: the tools and trade practice. Getting you to target so you know how ... Not just celebs, but real' people with stories. Before you write the feature... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Pitch Requirements


1
  • Pitch Requirements
  • Research
  • Structure
  • Style

2
Pitch Requirements
3
Why were doing pitches
  • Learning the tools and trade practice
  • Getting you to target so you know how
  • 2. The Assessment getting a good mark
  • Show us the range of your learning/skills
  • 3. Being published (even if its just in Weard)
  • Using this opportunity to get into print

4
Pitching to a features editor
  • NOT a query about what types of feature they
    cover or are looking for
  • A pitch of your feature
  • To a specific features editor for your target
    magazine
  • 100-150 words

5
Pitching to a features editor
  • Building a professional relationship with the
    commissioning editor (normally the features
    editor)
  • Think psychology and marketing
  • You are selling A) your feature, B) yourself
  • You need to pitch both in the right way
  • Proof read from the bottom up even this letter

6
Pitching to a features editor
  • An outline, and not the first draft
  • But… do propose a clear angle
  • Break it down into a structured outline
  • The angle should be concise

7
Pitch case study, womens weeklies
  • Were in a cyclical market, where the same stuff
    comes out again and again, so for us its all
    about reinvention were totally dependent on
    finding new angles.
  • Elena Dalrymple, Editor, Mother and Baby
  • A good freelancer is actually very rare. They
    need to write to style, do very thorough
    research, get brilliant expert quotes, plus
    reader anecdotes that capture the essence of the
    feature, and deliver on time.
  • Claire Askew, Features Editor, Company

8
(No Transcript)
9
Womens weeklies
  • 82 of women read a magazine
  • Heat, Take a Break, Easy Living, Woman
  • Total sales 8 million magazines a month
  • New titles constantly launched
  • First, news-led weekly for 30-somethings
  • Pick Me Up, real life stories
  • Women 563m on magazines in 2004
  • You get 300 per 1,000 words
  • Up to 750 per feature for big name mags

10
Theyre looking for…
  • Lifestyle features
  • First person stories
  • Real-life tales
  • Womens fiction
  • Case studies
  • Specialist (psychology, extreme sports)
  • Interviews

11
Opportunities
  • We want eyes and ears outside London. We can
    always do with people to knock on doors. Julia
    Lawrence, Editor, Reveal
  • Local and regional press as sources
  • Personal contacts
  • You need a large contacts book
  • Not just celebs, but real people with stories

12
Before you write the feature…
  • Build up your cuttings files
  • Write for free magazines, student mags, get work
    experience, online magazines etc…
  • Do your research
  • Read the magazine you target thoroughly
  • Address the commissioning editor by name
  • Get the right copy deadlines make it timely
  • Monthly magazines work 4-months in advance
  • Weeklies work 5-6 weeks in advance
  • If you spot a story, dont hang around. By
    tomorrow, every agency and freelancer in the
    country could be onto it.
    Julia Lawrence, Editor, Reveal

13
The letter
  • Send a pitch, not a full article
  • Make your synopsis brief, punchy, funny,
    informative, pithy, thought-provoking.
  • Lisa Markwell, Features Editor, Easy Living
  • Give two or three celebrity examples, if relevant
  • Dont send more than three ideas at once
  • Attach only one or two cuttings

14
Do you need a headline…?
  • A good piece is one thats easy to write a
    headline and sub-deck for. You know its a woolly
    story when youre struggling to find the head and
    sell. For that reason I always ask writers to
    pitch ideas with the head and sub-deck already
    writtenits a great way of finding your angle
    and sticking to it.
  • Victoria Woodhall, Feature Director, Eve Magazine

15
Remember…
  • Your pitch is not the same as the sub-deck
  • Email first, and then follow up by phone, but
    only once or twice if you need to phone more,
    youre idea has not made it
  • Do your own research
  • Do say if commissioned, please send me your copy
    brief and house style guides so you know whats
    expected it also shows youre aware of the need
    to write to style

16
  • To Corrie Jackson, Commissioning Editor, Grazia
  • Dear Corrie,
  • As the UKs leading womens weekly glossy, I know
    Grazias readership is looking for a distinctive
    take on Madonnas legal battles to adopt a child
    from Malawi.
  • While the PR-factor of celebrity adoptions
    (Angelina and Brad Tom and Nicole) seems to be
    the standard angle, my feature looking at the
    vogue of adoption is pitched at…
  • Warm, witty, but ultimately revealing of the
    relationship between celebrity and poverty, this
    feature will engage Grazia readers in the…
    Thank you...

17
Doing Research
18
Research the myth exploded
  • There is no secret to research
  • Hard work
  • Perseverance
  • Keeping your eye out
  • Developing media habits
  • Looking for the unique angle
  • Being thorough
  • Brainstorming / sharing ideas / getting help
  • Building contacts and data files

19
Research the Consumer Corridor
  • Industry term for the profile of your typical
    magazine consumer
  • A typical individual you need to know
  • Good exercise to know your audience
  • For example, the typical individual who
    represents The Guardian newspapers reader is
  • Guy, 32, an architect, who lives in Fulham,
    southwest London. He drives a Toyota Prius (an
    electric-powered car) and is a vegetarian. He
    went to university in Edinburgh, and has a degree
    in Architecture. He and partner Milly have one
    son, Jack, aged 18 months. Guy is into mountain
    climbing and cooking. He also… etc

20
Research put out media requests
  • What is a media request?
  • Call for responses to a research position
  • Publicised notice on websites, in newspapers,
    magazines etc.
  • Bullying and depression I'm Laura Reid and I'm a
    trainee Journalist at Nottingham Trent
    University. I am making a short documentary about
    childhood depression and its causes and
    treatments in the UK. I am looking to speak to
    children who are currently or have in the past
    suffered from depression, or the parents of a
    depressed child or adults who have suffered from
    depression in their childhood. Also any experts
    in the field. Anyone interested in being involved
    whether to input in my research or to take part
    in the documentary should call Laura Reid on
    07786 868 448 or email lauraereid_at_hotmail.com
  • (from http//www.bullyonline.org/media/media.htm)

21
Research use the Net
  • Not just to find articles… use its full scope…
  • British Freelance Journalist Graham Halliday
    I'll be chatting over Skype with Sandeep
    Junnarkar this Friday morning to discuss donation
    driven blog journalism projects. Sandeep is the
    brains behind Lives in Focus. I'm researching a
    feature about…. I'm most interested in…
  • Who else is saying the same thing as you?
    Bloggers, chatrooms? Contact people

22
Research whos proving your point?
  • You are showing a particular point of view
  • How much research you need to do…

23
Research hierarchy of sources
  • Key Experts / Eye Witnesses unique quotes
  • Institutions and organisations
  • Reports and Studies
  • Peer reviewed books and journals
  • (For background and shaping of context)
  • Other people non-expert
  • The media

24
Research a 1,000-word feature
  • Key Experts / Eye Witnesses unique quotes
  • Institutions and organisations
  • Reports and Studies
  • Peer reviewed books and journals

3 7
25
Sources for features ideas
  • Reports (such as the fat map)
  • Angles that everyone else misses
  • Institutions
  • Police, prison, NGOs, government, councils
  • The Media
  • Newspapers, radio, internet, press, TV
  • Contacts
  • Friends, family, colleagues, PR people, notables
  • Businesses
  • Local, marketing firms, publishers, agencies

26
Some resource areas
  • Circulation and Marketing Info for mags
  • www.ppa.co.uk Periodical Publishing Assoc.
  • www.adassoc.org.uk Advertising Assoc.
  • www.abc.org.uk Audit Bureau of Circulation
  • www.intelligentcia.com British Rate Data

27
Some resource areas
  • Contacts and Background
  • www.bsme.com British Soc. Of Mag Editors
  • www.magforum.com Sector Overview
  • www.mediauk.com Ind. Media directory
  • www.nrs.co.uk National Readership Survey
  • www.jbwb.co.uk Where to sell features…

28
Some resource areas
  • Publishers
  • www.natmags.co.uk National Magazines
  • www.emap.com EMAP
  • www.ipcmedia.com IPC
  • www.condenast.co.uk Conde Nast
  • www.dcthompson.co.uk DC Thompson
  • www.bauer.co.uk Bauer

29
Structure
30
  • According to Friedlander and Lee, there are only
    two types of feature
  • The news feature
  • Tied to a breaking event
  • The timeless feature
  • A story frozen in time, not linked to a
    contemporary event
  • Feature Writing for Newspapers and Magazines,
    Longman, Friedlander and Lee, (2000)

31
  • Business company launch, big profits, going bust
  • Commemorative anniversary of event
  • Explanatory some big issue… e.g. politics and
    voting
  • First-Person dramatic event happened to the
    writer
  • Historical old story hooked to a news event
  • Hobbyist unusual people in the spotlight…
  • How-To live green make a million become
    famous
  • Invention a new technology explained
  • Medical tragic or uplifting story linked to
    health
  • Number Top 10 holiday destinations Top 5 films
  • Odd-Occupation A look into an unconventional life
  • Overview A view of an issue from all sides
    (Vox-pop?)
  • Participatory The writer plays a role in the
    story
  • Profile Focus on one person
  • Unfamiliar Visitor To a city to a belief a new
    pair of eyes…

32
Were just looking at 4…
  • Profile (due next Monday, 25th Feb)
  • News Backgrounder
  • Specialist
  • Human Interest

33
Structure and characteristics
  • A non-fiction short story
  • Quotation-filled, descriptive, entertaining,
    informative
  • Original
  • A beginning, middle and end needs to be read in
    full to make sense

34
Structure and characteristics
  • Evocative it must evoke some feeling, idea or
    response
  • Compelling/dramatic the reader should want to
    finish the feature
  • Insightful there should be some new
    understanding or learning

35
  • 1 Do your research
  • 2 Choose your angle
  • 3 Find your experts
  • 4 Do your interviews
  • 5 Check your facts
  • … write the feature

36
News
37
Feature (Dramatic Unity)
38
Structure
  • Original thought is the mainstay for a truly
    great feature. Some writers could be writing
    about paint drying and youd read it because they
    have an original take on it like Julie
    Burchill. A fantastic feature will reveal
    something about the writer or subject that will
    draw you in by the first paragraph.
  • Victoria Harper, Deputy Editor, Red Magazine
  • First point Reveal the writer or subject in 1st
    para
  • (a paragraph is 2/3 sentences 75 words)

39
Structure
  • I look for quirky and lively writing, a tightly
    focused angle and a few (but not too many)
    quotes. The commonest problem is getting the
    balance right. Not too newsy, but not too slack.
    I often tell inexperienced freelancers to begin
    the piece with a colourful cameo that sets the
    scene, then kicks in with the facts (the nuts and
    bolts of the story)
  • Jon Stock, Editor, Weekend, The Sunday Telegraph
  • Second Point After your revealing opening, bring
    in the facts whats it about?

40
Structure
  • A great feature is 1. a piece of writing with
    an awareness of the audience 2. a piece that
    addresses both the brief and brings some new
    information into play 3. a piece that covers the
    ground in the right number of words, hooks the
    reader, and leaves them satisfied at the end.
  • Anne Pursglove, Deputy Editor, Elle
  • Third Point Dont stretch out your feature to
    fit 2,000 words if it works in 800 then thats
    all it takes… and it means its too short for
    this module

41
Structure
  • Intro
  • Cameo anecdote tease
  • Linking paragraph
  • A paragraph that summarises the main themes of
    the piece (nut paragraph)
  • Should answer the questions
  • What is this feature about
  • Why should anyone want to read it
  • Is it new, surprising or revealing
  • Do its themes have a broader significance
  • Can these themes be expanded upon

42
Structure
  • Body of the feature
  • Make the points you want to make in logical order
    and set up each sectionthis is sometimes
    called signposting, and gives the reader a) an
    idea what to expect, and b) an idea of its
    significance
  • Knit sections together
  • Dont jump-cut its not a film
  • Feed in valuable and surprising information
  • Dont give all your secrets/research at once

43
  • Opening tell us something, but not everything,
    about the subject youre writing about… an
    example of the larger story a detail of the
    person or business or maybe a statement or
    question you want to explore or answer
  • Paragraphs 2-3 expand the story… introduce your
    first source make your fist comment, insight or
    explanation
  • Paragraphs 4-5 introduce your further sources
    do these contradict, question or support your
    first source? Provide background talk around the
    subject

44
  • Paragraphs 6-7 go deeper into the subject
    reveal what the feature is really about… the big
    question, the surprise, the questions that the
    sources themselves want to answer, or your take
    on the subject… the dramatic revelation or
    resolution (although not all features need to be
    resolved)
  • Paragraph 8 A closing sentiment does the
    interviewee leave? Does something physical draw
    the feature to a close (an earthquake? The end of
    the interview?) Is there a report being released
    or an ice-sheet melting that may change what we
    think about the subject? What have you and the
    reader realised through the feature?
  • Closing line do you want to leave a question or
    an answer? Do you want to tie-back into your
    opening with a similar image, line, or reference?

45
Summary
  • 1 Do your research
  • 2 Choose your angle
  • 3 Find your experts
  • 4 Do your interviews
  • 5 Check your facts
  • Write the feature…
  • The title
  • The sub-deck
  • The opening line
  • Pieces 1-8 Eight paragraphs
  • The closing line

46
Style
47
Style your aim as features writers
  • Brevity
  • Clarity
  • Language
  • Substance
  • Accuracy
  • Subjectivity
  • Style
  • Quotations

48
Detailed characteristics of style
  • 1. Brevity
  • Writing a longer piece does not mean being wordy
    or long-winded. You always strengthen text when
    you remove the padding
  • Paragraphs should be short two or three
    sentences long.
  • Never use two words when one will do never use a
    long word if a short one will do.
  • E.g. Experimental endeavour experiment

49
Style…
  • 2. Clarity
  • Avoid over-complicated sentence structures and
    clichés.
  • Use of complex language betrays sloppy thinking.
  • E.g. Representatives agreed to a feasibility
    study NOT representatives agreed to take this
    forward on the basis of a plan for a feasibility
    study.
  • Make your point in the direct voice and avoid the
    ing form of verbs.

50
Style…
  • 3. Jargon/language
  • Avoid jargon or technical terms where possible.
  • If used, provide a concise explanation of their
    meaning.
  • Use descriptive words with care and precision.
  • Avoid superlatives, unless you are prepared to
    prove them.

51
Style…
  • 4. Substance
  • To interest the reader, your story has to be
    about something, with plenty of information (from
    both direct and indirect sources) to give it
    substance.
  • 5. Accuracy
  • Check that names and places are accurate and
    dates correct. Ensure that information is
    properly sourced.

52
Style…
  • 6. Subjectivity
  • You can have a point of view, but it should be
    based on the evidence presented in the article.
  • You cannot present your own opinion as evidence.
  • Do not assume that your views will be shared by
    readers.
  • Your point of view will be strengthened if you
    include comments from other people in a position
    that gives their views some weight.

53
Style…
  • 7. Style
  • An article loses readers with every paragraph
  • Keep your feature well constructed and taut
  • Woo your reader from start to finish
  • Tie up any loose ends
  • Add your own voice, tone and approach.
  • Show the reader description and dialogue

54
Style
  • 8. Quotations
  • Always use direct quotes they bring an article
    to life.
  • But reading one long quote after another can be
    trying. Aim for a mix of direct and indirect
    speech.
  • Learn to summarise what someone says (such as in
    a lecture) and keep the most vivid, personal,
    pivotal or controversial bits for quotes.
  • Use quotes to add immediacy, authenticity and
    change of voice and pace.
  • Do not invent quotes
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