Pitching a story

Send an e-mail in which you answer these questions:

  1. Your name is
  2. What is the story?
  3. Who are all the players in this story?
  4. What kind of social, political, and economic context surrounds the story?
  5. What visual components does the story have (how will you treat it visually)?
  6. Is this a team story or will you do this solo?
  7. What different angles does the story have that might be assigned to team members?

Need help with story ideas? Try this document.

The news budget meeting

Production's beginning

Starting with Week 2, even-numbered weeks at News Central begin with a news budget meeting. Newsrooms throughout North America have daily (or twice daily) news budget meetings. At those meetings, lesser editors "pitch" their top stories.

At a newspaper, a senior editor decides which stories will go on Page 1 and how they will be displayed. At a television station, a news director makes similar decisions. Along with a senior producer, the two decide how the newscast will line up.

Your role in the Budget Meeting

At News Central (this class), each student is considered a lesser editor. At the biweekly news budget meeting, you are expected to come prepared to "pitch" a carefully considered story. You submitted your written pitch the previous Friday. You may be asked to share with the entire News Central team your story idea, the various avenues (angles) that story might take, and how it might be presented in print, on the Web, and in a TV newscast. Your goal is to "sell" others on your idea as a worthy project.

You send your proposal to your instructor by e-mail before noon on the Friday prior to the budget meeting. Your proposal, 2-3 paragraphs in length, will 1) briefly describe the story idea – what the story is; 2) if the story is not an event but is a depth piece or feature, identify the news hook; 3) list some of the elements of the story (what documents you might use, what sources, what images or video etc.); 4) Tell how this might play out differently in print, online, and on TV; 5) make sure you answer the questions posed at the left, under "Pitching a story."

Part of your reports grade, your leadership grade and especially your participation in this class is based on what you bring to the budget meeting. Do you come prepared? Do you contribute ideas to the news discussion? Do you actively participate in the meeting? Do you select stories that interest other members of the class and inspire them to "sign on" to your team?

At the conclusion of each biweekly news budget meeting, each student will have an assignment. The project leader will fill out a "Story Planning Worksheet" form online the day of the news budget meeting.

Due dates

During the spring semester, 2015, story production will be governed by these dates:

Cycle Story Pitch Date Budget Meeting Date Package Due Date
1) Jan. 16 Jan. 20 Jan. 29
2) Jan. 30 Feb. 3 Feb. 12
3) Feb. 13 Feb. 17 Feb. 26
4) Feb. 27 March 3 March 12
5) March 20 March 24 April 2
6) April 3 April 7 April 16
7) April 17 April 21 April 30

Breaking stories

Note: If something happens over the weekend (or Monday) that makes for an outstanding story, you may pitch that story during the budget meeting - IF you abandon your claim to the story you pitched on Friday.