Pitching stories is not my strength. It’s difficult to find a subject I want to write about, let alone try to find a place for that story to eventually land. As a relationship with an editor develops, it often becomes easier to discern which stories her or she will like and on what stories they will pass. But those first few pitches can be a beast.
General story ideas usually come to me by regularly checking in with fruitful sources. These can be government websites, industry events, or key people who have a unique perspective on an area of expertise I find interesting. Local newspapers are good for identifying trends, which they usually report on piece by piece. I can then pitch a big picture look at the story to a publication with a broader audience. When I’m struggling to come up with something that will really work for a certain publication, I find the best cure is to browse the publication’s website. What kind of stories do they post in the top spots? Are they humorous, newsy, contrarian? Most importantly, have they done stories similar to my pitch idea?
After my first few pitches landed with a thud, I finally got a bite at New Hampshire Public Radio. When the idea hit me (after reading stories about the subject in the local newspaper) I had a gut feeling this would be the one that worked. It fit in well with the kind of stories they’ve posted — newsy but a little quirky, too. You can read a portion of it below, or click through to the NHPR.org website for the whole piece.
As Scooter Popularity Revs Up In Portsmouth, So Do Parking Concerns
Walk along any street near downtown Portsmouth and you’ll likely hear the buzz of a moped motor. Recently, these small motorbikes have been whizzing along Portsmouth’s streets in greater numbers and packs of scooters can often be found parked along the sidewalks and in alleyways near the Portsmouth waterfront.
But this rise in moped ridership – and where they’ve been parking – has raised some concerns among business owners and city officials.
“In recent years and particularly this year, there seems to be a dramatic increase in scooter type vehicles being used in the downtown part of the city,” said Portsmouth City Attorney Robert Sullivan.
“These vehicles are able to park on the sidewalk or where regular vehicles cannot. It’s actually been suggested that this is the reason they are being used.”