Second pitch

For my second radio podcast, I wanted to talk about Frida Sofia, the 12-year-old girl who was trapped under the rubble of the elementary school she went too after the 7.1 earthquake hit Mexico. Her name became a big hit on social media, using the #fridasofia. Many people prayed for her safety and hope she would make it alive. The Mexican TV network, Televisa, live stream the rescuers trying to find this little girl and claim to have seen her tiny hand waving and saying she’s tired, according to Turns out this was all a lie and she never excited. Slate states that this trending hashtag was used for more viewership on televisa. The problem with this topic is who can I talk too? If I talk to people of Mexican culture, it’ll probably not be in English, unless I get people who do speak English. But I think it would’ve been better if it were people who were actually there.

My other pitch would be about the challenges 8th graders go through in preparation for high school. What are the steps and how they manage all of it plus school work.

Class Agenda – Wednesday, Sept. 27

As a reminder, your scripts for the 4-5 minute radio feature are due on Wednesday, October 4. This means you will need to have already conducted your interviews by then.

IMPORTANT: When you go out and record your interviews, DON’T FORGET to record 90 seconds to two minutes of ambient sound/room tone in the location where you conducted your interview. It should become a deeply ingrained habit to wrap up the interview and say “Now if you don’t mind, I’m just going to stay here and record a couple minutes of nothing!”

In-class exercise: Script Writing

I’m going to give you the raw tape of an interview I recorded recently, and you can also use excerpts from other sources (public speeches found on YouTube etc.—this is considered fair use) to fill out the story. Give it a listen, decide on four or five sound bites of no more than about 20 seconds each (with maximum three of those coming from the interview), and write them into a short script that provides full context and background on the situation.

Download link here.

For future reference, if you intend to use any audio from these extra sources (if recent public statements by the mayor are relevant to your story, for instance), a good resource for ripping the audio is Audio Hijack. There is a free version.

Remember that the template for writing a script looks like this:


AMBI: (natural sounds and room tone go here)

TRACK: (your narration goes here)

ACT: [NAME]: (transcription of soundbites goes here)

TRACK: …and so on

Remember that you’re writing for the ear, which means simple sentences, conversational style, and lots of description. Be careful to write into and out of the sound bites in a way that clearly introduces the speaker and sets up what they’re going to say.

If you’re not finished writing the script by the end of class, that’s okay: just make sure you email it to me by Monday so we can look at them together in class.

Let me know if you need equipment!

Pitch For Second Podcast

For my second podcast, I would like to cover today’s food crisis. I would like to interview some people on what they think about all of the food that’s man-made, food that has things that humans aren’t suppose to consume such as wax, metal and plastic that’s found in food. I would want to cover those who grow their own food, shop at food markets to see how they are spreading the awareness about how certain foods that contain toxic, slow-killing ingredients.

Class Agenda – Monday Sept. 25

Pitch Workshop

Before we get into your pitches, one common issue I want to address (and this is something almost all new journalists often struggle with) is that, by and large, they’re too broad. In many cases, they’re lacking an angle.

What is an angle?

It’s the lens through which you report the story. The main takeaway.
The point.

Every topic has multiple possible angles. Sometimes your angle will be obvious, as with many breaking news stories. Other times it won’t be as immediately clear. To be fair, with some stories, it’s impossible to know your precise angle until you’ve done some pretty substantial reporting, which may or may not come before the pitch stage. But at the very least, your pitch should include some acknowledgment of this and mention what your plan is. “I will find a family whose story is

The first step of coming up with a story idea is to say “I want to do a story about X.” But in many of your early pitches, this is essentially where the pitch stops. It’s broad; it’s vague; it could go many different ways. A helpful way to think about developing an angle is to say “I want to do a story about X and how or why… Y.”

Here are some examples of narrowing a broad topic down to a story with a compelling angle:

“I want to do a story about private budget bus lines.”

“I want to do a story about the proposed new healthcare bill.”

“I want to do a story about the German election results.”

“I want to do a story about the impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.”

“I want to do a story about Tibetans in exile.”

So while we go through everyone’s pitches today, I want you to be asking yourselves and your classmates what the angle is and what possibilities there are if you’re not seeing one.

Also, because the assignment includes photos for the web, pitches for a story like this should always include a mention of what type of visuals you’re likely to submit along with your script.


Second Podcast Pitch

I am sharing two pitches I have for the second podcast assignment, or “wrap” piece as I think both have separate challenges, and execution requires a fair amount of cooperation from the subjects of the story.

Pitch #1: The Brooklyn Paranormal Society “provides paranormal investigations, haunted house investigations… and more” throughout Brooklyn.  On their website tip line, they solicit for tips on haunted locations, and for those with paranormal abilities. For this second “wrap” assignment, I would like to do profile the Society and join them at one of their upcoming events, “The Summoning of H.P. Lovecraft” on October 2nd.   The feature would profile the society, and incorporate interviews with organizers, and participants.  Some natural sound ideas would be of whatever natural sound occurs at “paranormal” events or “summonings.”

Pitch #2: There is a growing population of people choosing to live in vans, and RVs in my neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  Hashtag #vanlife is trending.  My second pitch proposal is to do a profile of some folks living in RVs in Brooklyn and investigate why and how they choose this lifestyle.  Is it financial? Or just a lifestyle choice?  The project could also incorporate the perspectives of city officials, and the legality of parking an RV on the street, in the city, can be explored.

The second podcast pitch: Seamless and fashion

I am apologizing for the late pitch submission. I had a hard time to decide what could be interesting. If you don’t mind, can you please advise which if the two topics have a promising potential.

  1. Seamless kills restaurant industry in NYC

I have a friend who recently opened a restaurant in Soho. One of his first comments, after being opened for a few months, is that how harmfully Seamless and other similar platforms affect his restaurant. Instead of going out for a nice dinner his clients prefer to stay in and order something out. Which is still a somewhat of an income for restaurants, but Seamless’ 20% fee cut the income too close.

It is not the first time I hear that story. When I worked in restaurants, owners were always stressed about high seamless orders especially during lunchtime. I am thinking to interview waiters from various restaurants and chefs.

This topic was in the news last year. I have not seen anything else about it recently in the news, and, therefore, would like to explore it.

2. Fashion photography, behind the scene world

I am planning to interview an up-and-coming fashion photographer Arton Sefa who just recently shot for German Vogue and was signed with a talent agency Sonja Heintschel. I want to introduce listeners to the insight world of the glamorous fashion magazines’ pages where most of the time creators of behind the scene world are overshadowed by big brands and fashion models. I want to learn what it takes to be commissioned for established designers and publications. What is the process, how much photographers earn, who comes up with ideas for the photo shoot, how hard/easy to get models, designers clothes, locations? In addition, what it means to be signed with a talent agency? How much of the commissions the talent has to share with an agency? Does the agency bring more jobs or photographer still has to search for jobs?

Aside from the upcoming fashion week in Paris, I think fashion photography is relevant to today’s situation in the fashion industry because access to the cameras is wide open and anyone with an interesting angle has an equal chance to shoot for magazines and maybe brands. Yet, it is not only talent, it is also politics and connections. Who knows who? I am curious to know how new names can break into the industry. Does social media have any input?

Podcast Pitch #2

For my wrap up feature I’d like to do a story on Baruch’s upcoming production of Next to Normal. I recently saw a flyer for it hung up at Baruch, and since that is one of my favorite Broadway shows, I decided to look it up. I found their Facebook page and from the looks of it, it’s a completely student-run production, and they have a go-fund-me page open for people to support the show. The show is about mental illness and i think covering their reasons for choosing the show/the production efforts/practices from an audio standpoint would make a great podcast. Hopefully it will be mutually beneficial, and might encourage students to donate to/attend the show.