As I mentioned here, I'm taking some time to commission and edit pieces for the WASHPOST @PostOpinions. A ton of you pitched me after I made that announcement (I owe many of you responses, for which I thank you for your patience). Let's talk a little bit about what makes a pitch work for us.
An argument needs to include both a proposition and a persuasive defense of that proposition.In our hypothetical example, that might mean that you want to argue that the media institute a total blackout on coverage of Trump's tweets.And then you'd have to convince me.
Second, I'm rarely going to accept personal essays. That's no bias against the form, which when well-done, I like. But there are a couple of things that make it a difficult fit for an op-ed section. Personal experience is rarely inherently newsworthy. And it's generally anecdata.
And if your personal experience is representative of a wider phenomenon in a way you can back up with data, there's a strong chance that it's been written about before. As with all things, there are exceptions to these rules. But it's unlikely your pitch will be the exception.
Framing matters a great deal, too. @harrisonstephen's great piece on @Wikipedia's 18th birthday caught my eye because he had a sharp observation about what makes it different from other social spaces on the web.
Original research and reporting are going to be big sells, too. I have a piece I'm editing now where the author just went out and counted something and came up with some smart observations about what she counted.Help me see something I wouldn't have noticed on my own.
I'm interested in bringing new voices,but I hope won't feel constrained by your identity. If you're a @WritersofColor, you don't have to pitch me about race. If you're conservative, you don't have to write about the GOP. If you're LGBT, you don't have to write about LGBT issues.
We can, and should, play with form, with some limitations.I'm interested in smart pieces about culture, but I'm more likely to accept pitches that identify trends than reviews or essays that talk about a single piece of culture, unless they open up a larger conversation.
For example, if you want to pitch me on "Green Book" or "Vice," those are movies that are stirring up bigger discussions. But this is a place where the work is the *peg*, rather than the actual subject. That's a useful distinction to keep in mind for culture pitches.
A few other basic thoughts: If I give you a word count, please don't blow dramatically past it. If you're going to miss your deadline, please let me know in advance. And if you're not open to edits, maybe don't bother pitching me. I will edit you.