The Pitch

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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 website for the whole piece.

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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.”

Read more at New Hampshire Public Radio.

Best News All Day 2-25-13

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Good morning. Today marks the first installment of my new series of (semi-) regular morning news round-up posts, Best News All Day.

Now, New Hampshire is a small state and there isn’t always a ton going on here. I would, however, like to use these posts to shed light on more interesting and less reported stories. So here we go…email me at is you have any feedback.

– The New Hampshire House is considering an idea that would even make Walter White‘s skin crawl (at least in seasons 1 and 2).

– Portsmouth has hired a new parking director. He has suggested some good ideas, like a shuttle and bike share. Hopefully he will find peace with the angry vegans.

– Rochester School Board has been trying some pretty innovative tactics to improve attendance and student performance, but is that change coming too quickly for some?

– For your daily politics fix, this NHGOP complaint filed with the AG is breaking. Perhaps the complaint should be amended to something like: “for filing a budget we don’t like.” I’m not sure, though, if that’s against the law.

– A Right-To-Know violation hearing got ugly in Marlborough. No offense to my former UL colleagues, but I think you buried the lead here. There was a request of all town records from 1960 to present? That seems like a lot of casual reading. Which then resulted in this? (From the UL story today:)

When releasing the records, Select Board Administrative Assistant Sandra LaPlante gave “all sealed non-public town records from 2002 and 2010 in the electronic records. LaPlante said she did not realize she had released the confidential information (until the petitioner) listed it as a right-to-know violation in the contempt of court motion last June.”

Good day and happy reading.