On a weekly basis, I get a large number of requests to do a story on one subject or another. What ends up on the air is usually the result of a great pitch. If you have a story to tell but you're not getting any reaction from a reporter, then something is wrong with how you're pitching your idea. It should go without saying but since I just received this kind of message, I guess I have to mention it. Sending angry, frustrated messages will not help in getting your story on the air. I would say, that's a big no-no.
Instead, focus on making your pitch simple and to the point. Remember, we're trying to go through a large number of emails. If your email is long and rambling without getting to the point, we'll most likely move on to the next. Quickly answer the 5 W's: Who, What, Where, When and Why. WHY is it important? If it's a common story, make it different. Have a different angle and a face to go with the story. It has to be of interest to the viewers and if it's a subject that's been done over and over, making it unique is the only way to go. Since, we are talking about television-- a visual medium, think about the visuals that can advance the story.
If a reporter shows interest and gives you a specific time when he or she can shoot the story, make it happen. If you make it too difficult, reporters will mostly likely have to pass. It usually has to do with their schedules and nothing more.
While it's good to be persistent, don't be annoying and definitely don't harass a reporter or you'll end up getting nowhere.
Finally, be respectful of a reporter's decision to say yes or no to a story. Once a reporter is on-board with your story, he or she still has to pitch it to a producer who may or may not like the idea. So, be patient. If you have a good story to tell and you pitch it right, it will get out to the masses.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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