Washington Square Park during the Fall

Getting Published

Demystifying the process

 

Journalism students face a Catch-22: They need clips to get clips.

At NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, we help students feel comfortable pitching, by providing resources and workshops. We also help create opportunities for students to be published.

 

Pitching Basics for Writers

Pitch an angle, not a topic

Climate change is a topic. How billions of sea life in the Pacific Northwest died during a four-day stretch in June is an angle. Make sure your article has a clear thesis.

Think like an editor

Remember that an editor often must pitch your story to other editors. Make it easy for her by being clear in the email (and in your mind) what your story is about.

Come up with a headline and a dek

This exercise will help you find and clarify your thesis. The hed and dek may not stick, but they will help an editor understand what you’re pitching.

Why you? Why now?

Know the answers to these questions before you pitch. If the answer to “why now?” is “because I was able to get the person on the phone” or “because I think it’s interesting,” keep thinking about your idea. What reporting or access can only you share? Why is running your article important now?

Know the publication

Read the newspaper or magazine to which you’re pitching. Familiarize yourself with the different sections and series. Does the publication take freelance? Has it covered your angle already? The more you read, the more targeted you can be in your pitch.

Be specific

If a pitch feels too general, an editor likely won’t commission your article. Think of what you would say to a friend about your work. You wouldn’t speak in generalities; you’d tell them about the aspects of the story that most excite you, the elements that feel most important.

Make the pitch short

In your pitch, aim for three short paragraphs, tops. If you can get the email shorter, then even better. Pitch the story in a paragraph and give the editor some sense of why it works for his section. Then briefly, give your credentials.

Find the right editor

If possible, email the editor who covers your area of interest. Look at the publication’s masthead, follow editors on Twitter, read “how to pitch” pages. If you can’t find an editor’s name and email address, don’t worry. General pitch email addresses also work, but it’s always better to email a person.

 

Pitching Resources

Editors at many publications explicitly tell writers how to pitch. Take a look at these “How to Pitch” pages. They are helpful whether you want to pitch these particular publications or not.

How to Pitch The Cut

How to Pitch The New York Times (or, well, anywhere else)

How to Pitch Marie Claire

How to Pitch Longreads

This American Life: Sample Pitches

Need help with your pitch? Join the Pitch Collective

 

Workshop your pitch with Whitney Dangerfield, the publications director, and your fellow students.

Thursdays, 3:30pm – 4:30pm beginning Sept. 15.

NYU Journalism Institute, 20 Cooper Square, Room 600.

Event Poster - Pitch Collective - See page for details

 

Coming up this semester, we’ll have panels on:

How to freelance successfully

Get advice from two experts:

Alyson Krueger, a graduate of Magazine and Digital Storytelling, regularly writes for The New York Times and other publications. Elizabeth Flock graduated from Literary Reportage. Her features and films have appeared on the PBS NewsHour and in the New Yorker among other publications.

Watch the Video

Pitching Audio Stories

December

What editors wish freelancers knew

Spring Semester

Pitch Slam

Spring Semester

 

Opportunities

The publications director is working with editors to create opportunities for students. Check out the “Getting Published” newsletter for tips from students, Q&As with professional writers and editors, and calls for pitches.

Archive: September | October

Let us know when you’ve been published by filling out this form.

Submit Form

Illustration of a hand writing

 

Meet Whitney Dangerfield, Publications Director

Whitney has more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She was most recently a senior editor at The Atlantic. Before that, she was the digital editor at Serial and This American Life, a senior staff editor at The New York Times, and an editor at National Geographic Magazine.

Email: whitney.dangerfield@nyu.edu
Phone: 212-998-7912
Office Hours:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays (Room 641)
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Other times by appointment.

Whitney Dangerfield