If your publication or station has assigned you a story, all the planning just described is the first stage of your investigative process. But if you are a freelance journalist, such planning is crucial to crafting a convincing pitch for an editor. A good pitch is a short presentation that explains what the story is about and should be able to persuade the editor to run it. It needs to contain the following elements:

  • > An interesting headline
  • >   A revised story outline
  • >   Why the story matters to the publication’s readers
  • >   A brief account methodology
  • >   A timeline
  • >   A budget

Some media outlets also expect ideas as to how the story should be presented, such as video clips, graphics or podcasts, while others leave such issues to editors and designers. In any case, bear in mind that the publication might not accept your pitch. You should only pitch the essential information, and not present critical findings, so you can pitch your story to another newsroom.