How to Pitch a Story to Tellus
There are generally two ways in which writers find things to write about: inspiration and perspiration.
The inspirational method happens when you see, hear, or read about an event that pisses you off and, before you know it, you are knee-deep in an article that dozens of other people are writing at the very same moment. This happens all the time with breaking news stories: everyone wants to throw their two cents into the pot. Very human.
The other approach is the one where you have to put time and effort into ferreting out the stories that are going to become breaking news but aren’t there yet. This method is more likely to go viral because you could be the only person thinking about that angle on a story.
Regardless of whether you have a bee in your bonnet or you have stumbled on something that is going to turn into a hot topic, the procedure for pitching a story is the same, as described below.
You don’t have to pitch your stories. You can just submit them and, if they are publishable, we will find a way to publish them…but you might want to find out who might be working on the same story. Here’s how you do that:
- Covering a breaking news story is every writer’s dream…but that doesn’t happen very often. If you are lucky enough to be right there when news happens – or you are close enough to get there – that’s a golden opportunity, as long as you obey rule number one: don’t get in the way.
- If you aren’t right there when news happens, you can still cover breaking news stories by reporting on the coverage of those breaking news stories. For every breaking news story published, there are probably a hundred stories that cover that story.
- Breaking news stories include crime stories, murders, suicides, the deaths of famous people, major accidents, natural disasters, financial flip flips, legislative action, sporting events…anything that is happening in the here and now, but these things don’t happen every day, so that’s where research comes into the picture.
- Find a story you want to write about: Check in with major news organizations to see what they are covering. This includes the major dailies, the few remaining weekly publications, and the monthly magazines, all of which are now really operating like daily publications. Don’t forget overseas resources such as The Guardian and the Times of London. They all have websites. Monitor them. Monitor your social media sites. Visit places like AOL, Yahoo, Google News. If all else fails, click on the Repubhub button at the top of this page. They list literally hundreds of articles from less well-known publications.
- Check Tellus for recently published articles on the same subject: We don’t mind publishing multiple articles on the same stories as long as they shed new light on the story in question, but it is a good idea to find out if we have published anything on your subject in the past 24-48 hours. To do this, Just scroll to the bottom of the home page, enter the key word you want to search for into the search window and press enter to begin the search. Warning: the stories do not appear in chronological order, so be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page.
- Pitch your story to the editors: As the number of people writing articles for Tellus increases, the number of people who are submitting articles on the same subject at the same time will also increase. If you don’t want to waste your time writing a story that has already been published or been assigned to someone else, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org describing the article you want to submit. Just send us your lead paragraph. We will tell you if we have something in the queue on that subject or if anyone else is working on a similar article. You can still write any article on any subject, but we may have to delay the publication of articles so that they don’t run over each other. First come, first served, but if someone else pitched a story first, they get first dibs.
- Make sure the subject is something we want to publish:We don’t mind publishing multiple articles on the same subject, as long as they focus on different aspects of the story, but there are some stories we just don’t want. Examples: we will not publish anything related to any member of the Kardashian family, nor will we publish anything about Barron Trump. Don’t waste your time writing something we won’t publish. As a general rule, we are not interested in anything that happens on any reality TV program, or gossip about celebrities, especially if they are celebrities we’ve never heard of before. Ask first.
- Deciding which stories to cover is based on three factors: the popularity of the story, your personal interest in the story and any special knowledge that you may have about that subject. If a story is getting lots of coverage, you might want to steer clear of it, or you might want to jump in with both feet if you think you have something to contribute to the conversation. Deciding what to write is a personal decision, but it also defines who you are as a person and as a writer. Don’t write about things you don’t know about….unless you are willing to put in the time to learn about the subject.