How to Start Writing Locally — Making Pitches

Your writing website is finally in order (internal link) and you’d like to start writing locally, perhaps for an area weekly, a community paper or a local news website. I’d recommend you query an editor with ideas, not just a link to your URL.  Don’t always come to the editor for ideas, take the initiative and propose stories yourself. Make pitches and make yourself more valuable.

Here’s a very long suggestion list I made before writing for the new team at the West Sacramento News-Ledger. (external link). I’d probably limit it to ten today. None of these pitches are lengthy or detailed. Editors are busy people and they know almost instantly if a story seems worth pursuing.

Just two of these pitches were accepted but I always keep a list of ones that weren’t. A new editor may come on the scene and they may have a different focus. As you write your accepted stories, continue to develop new pitches and keep sending them in.

1.) Sail Inn update. This local landmark is under new owners and is undergoing renovation. I wrote about its close a while back. (internal link) Will it reopen soon?

2.) A report on the Port. (internal link — story accepted) I’d find out what they are doing these days, who is operating it, and what the future holds. Everyone sees the port but few know what’s going on there. Much more than just rice.

3.) A look at the current home residential real estate market in West Sacramento. I’d talk with two or three agents/realtors about what it’s like today in Southport, Broderick, and Bryte. Interview new home owners to see why they decided to buy in West Sac.

4.) A look at the current commercial real estate market. There’s quite a bit of commercial going up in the Southport area. Time to find out why.

5.) Houses of worship. A short interview with the people behind three major religious centers in West Sacramento: the Sikh Temple, The Russian Baptist Church, and The City of the Dharma Realm.

6.) How are our trees doing? An interview with the city arborist.

7.) School update. The high school is always doing something of interest.

8.) A report on Nor Cal beverage, a powerhouse in our community. I live near the production facility near the port. Five hundred people employed! (external link)

9.) A report on the UPS facility on Harbor.

10.) A short report on each of the West Sacramento fire stations. Maybe a paragraph or two on each. (Story idea accepted but never written. This idea did generate another story that was written, an article on a firefighter auxiliary named CERT (internal link))

11.) A report on how the new library is doing.

12.) What about original writing for movie reviews? I can also do an original gardening column. How about information on Ships In Port?

13.) Mediterranean Food and Music festival. Sept. 12 and 13. (Newspaper sent photographer to cover the event.)

14.) Where to fish in West Sacramento. Talk with fisherman and the local bait shop. I could draw up a map.

Bugs Bunny Pitches

By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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