Pitch guidelines for the Springfield Daily Citizen

The Springfield Daily Citizen welcomes freelance pitches. We accept pitches from students as well as seasoned journalists. Our freelance budget is limited. Rates are by negotiation and depend on the story’s complexity and the reporter’s experience.

Send pitches to Managing Editor Brittany Meiling: bmeiling@sgfcitizen.org

Here’s what we’re looking for:

What’s the story? This should not simply be a topic, like “homelessness,” but should be expressed as a declarative sentence: “Springfield churches are working together to address the issue of beds for unsheltered people in our community.” A pitch requires reporting. While you don’t get paid for anything until somebody approves the story, you still have to do enough reporting beforehand to be able to say what you think the lede is or might be. That reporting usually can’t be done entirely on the internet. 

Why should we care? Use all the same tools you’d use in a story — stats, quotes, vivid descriptions. Who is affected? Has this story already been covered by other local media? How does your story advance the public understanding? 

Do you have the skills? Do you know the sources needed? Does the story require data analysis? How do we know you can do this story? What kind of help will you need? 

How much work will this be? What’s your expected turnaround time, length? Any sidebars/extra features? Multimedia? Editors will want to know how much your story will cost them and when they will be able to publish it.

Don’t be boring. Really, this should be rule No. 1, and it’s a rule we try to follow ourselves, too. Sell us on your story. Your pitch is a chance to show off your writing as well as your thinking skills. What’s interesting about this story? Surprising?

Finally, thank you for pitching us. We appreciate your interest in helping the Springfield Daily Citizen fulfill its mission.