Author Archives: Constance Alexander

About Constance Alexander

Constance Alexander is an independent journalist in Murray, Ky. She is attending Health Journalism 2013 on an AHCJ-Rural Health Journalism Fellowship, which is supported by the Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

What you know and who you know: getting editors to bite #ahcj13

Freelancers, start networking now, because “who you know really does make a difference,” said David Corcoran, editor of Science Times of The New York Times.

He and two other editors — Tyghe Trimble of Men’s Journal and Scott Hensley of NPR — shared their insider’s tips for independent journalists Friday morning at Health Journalism 2013.

Corcoran presented five actual story pitches and asked the audience to guess which one that made it to print. The winner hit all the high points. In her proposal for a story about lions invading suburban spaces in Kenya, Stephanie Dloniak mentioned her mentor, whom Corcoran knew personally. The Kenyan dateline made it stand out. Dloniak, also had valid credentials as a wildlife biologist, and her pitch provided an organizational framework for the story — including how her young kids were on “lion lockdown” because of the situation.

Pitching magazine articles requires the same attention to detail, and Trimble, senior editor at Men’s Journal, reviewed the essential do’s and don’ts. He stressed the importance of knowing a magazine and all its parts before sending a query. Since submission rules vary from one publication to another, and from editor to editor, freelancers need to do their homework for every pitch. Understanding the audience of a publication is also important, and Trimble recommended taking a look at a magazine’s media kit, which outlines demographics for potential advertisers. Continue reading