Advice from Canadian journalists on crafting the “perfect pitch”

Besides being the kind that gets you a “yes” from an editor, what makes a pitch good? An original angle, a custom-tailored scope, timely, articulate, well-researched: all very important characteristics. But what can a writers do to make their queries “perfect”?

On April 26 at The HiVE in Vancouver, The Tyee gathered together Gary Stephen Ross of Vancouver Magazine, Jane Nahirny of British Columbia Magazine, David Jordan of BCBusiness, and freelance journalist and author Erin Millar and asked them to discuss what writers can do to get closer to that perfect pitch.

Speaking to the need for that relevance, Nahirny said during the event: It has to pass the “so what?” test. Ross was clear that a unique, personal angle is paramount: “The piece that you want to be selling is the piece that only you can write.” From a writer’s perspective, Millar said that it’s important to see a pitch as the start of a conversation, not a one-off proposal. Jordan, however, said that “from the editor’s point of view, a relationship doesn’t mater; all you want is a good story” (though he goes on to explain that once he’s worked with a writer, that person has his ear).

There is much, much more to dig into. Lucky for those of us who couldn’t be there, the event was recorded and YouTubed for our viewing pleasure. Part 1 is above, and you can see part 2 here.

The Tyee’s Freelance Survival Series — sponsored by the UBC School of Journalism, the Canadian Freelance Union and the Professional Writers’ Association of Canada — launched in spring 2011 with an event called “Freelancers on Freelancing” [videos part 1, 2 and 3] and continued last fall with “Freelance Finance” [videos part 1, 2 and 3].

Have a tip for crafting a pro query that this discussion missed? Let’s hear it in the comments.

Posted on May 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm by editor · · Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply