FRIDAY, OCT. 26 / Perfecting The Pitch

By: Ada Wood

After an eight-hour bus ride and meeting some fascinating people from the student media at Georgia Southern on Thursday, the 2018 CMA Fall National Convention really took flight early Friday morning.

The first panel I attended was one of my favorites from the entire convention. Titled “Perfecting the Pitch,” Katie Myrick from Global Press taught students how to do just that.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. What strategies did they really have for me to get better at pitching to my editor? The answer was a detailed process for more in depth, analytical and meaningful stories.

The Global Press pitch process has four main steps: action, reaction, consequence and context. Action is what is happening at the most basic level. Reaction is how communities and people are responding to the action and which perspectives are most important or most unique for the story.

Consequences is a step I often forget in pitching my story, and sometimes even in writing it. This step looks at the previous two and works to identify what is going to change and what the first two steps signify on a broader level. Lastly, is context; what the readers need to know to understand the story, be it historical, political or cultural information.

The other panels I attended that day were just as interesting. These included the topics of “fake news,” FBI strategies for interviewing and reporting the opioid crisis. The last panel of the day, “Writing Long” was one more highlight.

Mark Siebert led the discussion on how to tackle long-form feature pieces and not lose the reader on the way. I often prefer writing longer pieces, so I was grateful for the advice. One fact that caught my eye in the presentation was that stories of over 1,200 words receive more clicks, longer engagement and more interaction according to Pew Research and the API.

The whole day was filled with learning and thought-provoking topics. Each panel gave me knew ideas of how to transform my writing and try new, creative techniques.