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Story Pitch Contacts

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HeinekenMan, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I wrote a story today that I think some editors might find worthwhile. It's ready to go, and it's relatively timely.

    What is the best way to track down a list of contacts from major sports Web sites and print publications? I can do the work, but I don't know where to start. I have never pitched anything to one of the big boys.
  2. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Start with Writer's Market for magazines. For papers, the APSE's site has lists of officers, many of whom are editors at big papers. Most papers should have contact info on their Web sites somewhere.

    For the major sports Web sites, it's not so easy. I'm curious there too.
  3. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I just signed up for Writer's Market. I might be able to use it for some freelance work, but it offers virtually nothing for sports publications. It allows you to search by keyword. I typed the sport in question, and it generated a listing with just three magazines. One of the options is a magazine that still owes me for an assignment I did two years ago. I will tinker with the site for a bit, but it appears that obtaining contacts for some publications requires membership in a secret society.
  4. jetssack

    jetssack Member

    No secret society, but it does seem like most of the members here are staffers, not freelancers. I'm a fulltime freelancer, and I would add to playthrough's advice that you register at mediabistro to access their How to Pitch section: http://www.mediabistro.com/content/archives/howtopitch.asp.

    It contains contact info, pay rates and provides advice from editors about which sections (FOB, BOB, etc.) to target. It contains most national and regional magazines - sports as well as general interst, and several newspapers.

    Also, check mastheads on publications you want to target, call them up and ask the receptionist for the particular editor's email address. They always give it out.

    Keep your emails brief. Introduce yourself in the first graf, stating that you're a freelance sports writer located in whatever city, whose work has been published in X, Y and Z publications. Your 2d graf should pitch your idea. In the third graf, either provide links to no more than 3 clips or say that you'll provide clips on request.

    Follow up with a phone call if you hear nothing within a week.

    But I would not recommend writing on spec, as you have done. Pitch first, then write. Magazines have 3-month lead time and what's timely today may not be so in 3 months.

    Any other questions, PM me
  5. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Thanks for the advice. I will put those suggestions to use.

    I sort of wrote on spec by accident. I was writing something for a content mill, which is a secondary income source. It sort of morphed into something else, and I became immersed in a story I had not intended to write.
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