Articles

Spring training for audio producers: Pitch more. Pitch better.

A SoundCloud link to "Throw Like a Girl"Here’s how it works: You hear a fact or an anecdote or a question and you get curious. You follow your nose, let your imagination roam. You think, “Yeah, that could be a story.”

But should it?

The barriers between having a story idea and broadcasting it have grown ever lower (see also: blogging, Twitter, SoundCloud). But broadcast isn’t what defines a professional storyteller; payment is.

There are infinite ways to work as an indie journalist. They’re all based on the ability to tell a story so people will pay to hear it. Great stories may stretch into hourlong documentaries or 5,000-word magazine pieces, but one crucial test of storytelling power is whether you can distill that story into its most intriguing essence.

In other words, can you pitch?

We’ve been updating and expanding AIR’s Pitch Page, a list of outlets that accept freelance pitches over the transom, along with what they want, and what they pay. (If your show or podcast isn’t listed, please add it.)

We’ve also built a reading list of advice for people who want to build a portfolio, make relationships with editors, and make work that pays:

4 real pitches accepted by “This American Life”
• Pitches that work: A two-part discussion with examples and advice from editors and producers
28 years of pitches: Check out our archive of the stories and topics that shows have solicited from indie producers [requires AIR membership]
7 tips for pitching your story ideas, by science journalist Ari Daniel for Transom (2015)
• Throw like a girl: Pitching the hell out of your stories, featuring former New York Times star Amy O’Leary, from Her Girl Friday (2012)
“If we hear from somebody who has a list of ideas – or even one or two great ideas, we get interested”: Paul Ingles interviews NPR’s Laura Bertran
• How she got to yes: Celeste Wesson breaks down how a story about mangoes got to air