1. I. Introduction (30m)
  2. II. Basic Reporting (60m)
  3. III. Basic Storytelling (30m)

Basic Toolkit / Pitching a Solutions-Oriented Story

Crafting Your Pitch

Here’s an example of a solutions-oriented story pitch that touches all the bases:

Dear Susan,

I appreciated the recent coverage of CureViolence in the magazine. An epidemiological approach to ending conflict is a fascinating emerging response to urban violence and I’m keen to keep my eye on it as it continues to scale up.

I’d like to write a piece that examines another model, this one originating in East L.A. under the leadership of Jesuit priest Father Greg Boyle. Rather than seeing violence as a disease, as Dr. Gary Slutkin and his team do with CureViolence, Father Greg Boyle sees it as a cultural imperative. Without “exit ramps,” as he calls them, in the form of jobs, emotional skills etc., young people growing up surrounded by violence have little choice but to get involved in it. Homeboy Industries operates on the assumption that it is not enough to “interrupt” violence, but to, in essence, replace its power with more life- affirming projects.

It is the country’s largest gang member rehab program, serving over 12,000 people each year. The organization claims that it costs them between $20-44,000 to provide a full range of services and training for a young person; juvenile detention in LA County, averages $100-150,000.

Despite what appears to be 25 years of successful intervention, Homeboy Industries has struggled with funding in recent years. I’d like to look into why that is, and also investigate the local limitations of this model, which appears not to have been scaled much at all.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.



  • Cale Chapman

    This is a great example of a written pitch! I think that I could certainly use this as a template to pitch potential stories to those I am working with. However in some of my classes I have been required to do a verbal pitch in front of the news team. Would this template be consistent with what I should be aiming to do in a verbal pitch?

  • Mary Agoyi

    This is insightful.

  • Alexandra Christy

    I'm curious about whether there are any best practices around the length of a pitch? This one is about 250 words. The one SJN asked for in the mentorship program application could be only 200. I was torn between giving more stats about the issues/drawbacks to the solution or giving more info about who I've lined up to interview and why I have the background to do a great story. What's the going wisdom on word count and how much one pitches oneself in a pitch?

  • Jeremías Aspen

    He aprendido mucho más de lo que llevo en la universidad. Nuevamente, ¡gracias!.

  • Jeremías Aspen

    He aprendido mucho más de lo que llevo en la universidad. Nuevamente, ¡gracias!.

  • Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli

    This is eye-opening. Thank you for sharing this sample with us


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