Among the Texas Tech students helping record audio for our Lubbock days is Roxie Bustamante, who also recaps several sessions for us. Including this one:
Do you have the courage to present your story in front of a panel of experienced editors? During this session, freelancers had one minute to effectively pitch their idea for a story. The panel included editors and reports looking for a pitch that would fit within their company's scope. If the story idea was not something his or her company was looking for, the panel speaker would give advise on how the freelancer can mold and expand on their idea.
Some freelancers were lucky enough to fit their pitch within a minute, but others were not. Some freelancers were turned down by editors who feared the political aspect of the pitch would negatively impact their readership during the campaign season. Editors do not want to publish a story that advocates political stance on an environmental issue, because it could make readers think the organization is politically biased.
The panel members repeatedly asked how the freelancer's idea differed from similar stories that have already been published and how the story would inform or intrigue their readers to continue to follow the issue.
The story ideas ranged from hybrid flying squirrels to the need for Congress legislation to regenerate a Clean Water Act. All of the freelancers who mustered up the courage to present their pitch were given the opportunity to speak.