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Contents
  1. I. Introduction (30m)
  2. II. Basic Reporting (60m)
  3. III. Basic Storytelling (30m)
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Basic Toolkit / Pitching a Solutions-Oriented Story

Pitching a Solutions-Oriented Story: Introduction

Our friends at The Op-Ed Project have summarized it best. Every good pitch needs to answer three basic questions:

1

So what?

How does this particular story relate to larger discussions that people are having? How does it impact the reader’s life? What are the larger frames?

2

Why now?

What’s the news peg? Why should this story be written and published now as opposed to last week or a year from now? Think anniversaries, holidays, trends, current events, etc.

3

Why me?

What is it about your background that makes you particularly apt to write this story? Establish your credibility and do it fast.

But let’s face it, these three questions are only the foundation; pitching a solutions-oriented story is made far more complex because solutions are still suspect to some editors. If you’re pitching a solutions-oriented story, here are some things you want to flag very clearly in your concise, clear correspondence:

Indicators you have already found that this is a response worth investigating further. Think hard data, multiple credible sources, stuff that helps the editor quickly see that you’re invested in a rigorous investigation.

Any potential limitations of the response that you’re already picking up on. This will help the editor understand that you’re not planning on writing a fluff piece.

A short list of the kinds of hard-nosed experts you might tap for interviews. Think scholars, people who have worked on the frontlines for years, customers who use a product, and more. This helps the editor conclude that you mean business when it comes to your reporting—you’re not planning on just interviewing the do-gooders and calling it a day.

And, of course, don’t forget the super basic stuff: Include your phone number and email with your signature. Be sure to include hyperlinks to pieces you’ve done previously so the editor can quickly vet your work. And check back within a week if you haven’t heard anything. All editors are overextended. Most appreciate a polite check-in.

8 Comments

  • Farid Suleiman

    Awesome insights. Thanks a bunch.

  • Farid Suleiman

    Awesome insights. Thanks a bunch.

  • Anohar John

    Thank you

  • Mary Agoyi

    Thank you for this Highlight.

  • Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli

    Amazing!

  • Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli

    Amazing!

  • Fred Aminga

    Good stuff

  • Francis Ontomwa

    Great insights!

Resources

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"We want to make sure that the story we’re doing has a track record or shows very good promise delivering something that is impactful. Scalability is very, very key. The same criteria that you might have from a philanthropic funder or an impact investor looking at a prospective enterprise that they might want to engage with. Does the thing show promise? Has it got a track record? Has it grown substantially? Can it be replicated widely elsewhere? Increasingly, I’m looking for stories that have more texture, not a full consensus that this is the right approach."

Freddesam
Fred de Sam Lazaro
Under-Told Stories, PBS
Conducting Interviews for a Solutions-Oriented Story?

Crafting Your Pitch