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God, I hope I get it!

"Look at it from the editor's point of view. This is not selling out or "playing the game," this is framing your idea in a way that will strike the right chords with the newspaper and get your story into print."
--Joe Grimm, "Newsroom politics: Pitching a story"

Oh, here we go again. Forgive the theatre major for once again comparing the reading to something in show business, but this kind of reminded me of what you're not supposed to do when auditioning. I think it's just kind of interesting to notice the differences. As an actor, you can never really fulfill what you think the director wants to see in an audition, because you don't know exactly what they're thinking, and even if you do, if you try to tailor your audition to be everything the director thinks is a good audition, you're not going to have a very genuine or creative audition. As a newspaper writer, though, I don't know if you have as much of the luxury of creative independence. That sounds kind of cynical. Maybe it is. However, even actors have to do what the director tells them in the end. If you're going to get your work out there, you need to be willing to collaborate with people, and newswriting seems like one of the most collaborative types of writing. You have to collaborate with the people you interview and your editors; no one completely operates in a vacuum. And ultimately, you don't have to completely change your idea to fit an editor; as Grimm says, you can try pitching your idea to different editors to see if it's more appropriate for one section than another. If you don't get cast at one audition, you can always go to the next one and try again. So in both newswriting and acting, you still need to hone your talent to meet certain criteria, but you don't necessarily have to compromise your creative integrity as long as you have a clear vision that you know is compatible with some people, if not others.

Comments (2)

My high school drama teacher told me that he found peace at one point when he told himself that going to auditions during the day was his job. If he was lucky enough to be cast in a show, then the rehearsals and performane were his reward. In a similar way, if you take the pitching task seriously and you get good at it, you'll have more opportunities to write the story you want to write.

You make an excellent point about the collaborative nature of news writing... the professionals aren't getting paid simply to put their own ideas on paper. The editor can't have 10 people covering the Renaissance Festival and nobody covering school board meetings.

Wendy Scott:

I really think your comparison is interesting. Your opening quote to your post really grabs my attenetion because a pitch is like a game. Normally you only send a pitch to one jounralist unless is on a international basis. Though gathering the information and selling it to that one particular jounralist is a series of spaces in a game because your moving and contemplating on wheather your story will be published as a lead in there particular paper.

I liked how you related the actors the directors in your overall post. It references the journalist having control over the person pitching the particular letter.

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