What’s involved in sending a pitch as a marine science journalist?

May 28, 2024

You might have heard a freelance marine science journalist mention that they're going to send a quick article pitch to one of their editors. But do you know what's involved in pitching? Spoiler: it's often not that quick! Here's a bit of insight from my own experience...

Me: "I'll just send a quick article pitch"...

The quick pitch

☎️ Getting in touch with my marine biologist contacts to see what as-yet-unpublished studies or new conservation initiatives they have in the pipeline

👀 Looking through journal newswires and pre-prints to find gems for a story

💡 Once I've got an idea, deciding which publication it might be best for

📚 Reading a few issues of the publication and thinking about whether the story is a good fit. If so, which section it could work for?

🔍 Searching old issues and the website archive to see if they've already featured something too similar

🕵️‍♂️ Researching who the correct editor is and finding their contact details

🐦 Check out their social profiles. Have they shared any tips on what they're looking for right now or the types of stories that work/don't work for them?

✅ Checking their submission guidelines

📝 Writing the pitch!!!

🎣 Checking to make sure I've covered key points. E.g. why is my story interesting for them, why now and why should I write it?

📨 Sending my pitch

⌛ Waiting for a response

👋 Sending a gentle nudge (if appropriate/relevant) if I haven't had a response before I try the story elsewhere

🔄 If it was a no / no response, starting from point 3 (thinking of a publication) and trying again

It can be fairly exhausting before you've even got the commission. And sometimes you have a great story that you just can't place at all! But the hard work is worth it when it pays off and you can share a cool story. In my time as a marine science journalist, there have been lots of stories I would loved to have written about that I wasn't able to place. But I've also been able to share some great stories too. To read them, check out my portfolio.