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Virtual PitchFest

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020; 11 a.m.–4 p.m. ET

Gideon Gil, a managing editor at Stat, listens to a pitch during the 2018 Freelance Pitchfest.

Attention independent journalists!

Editors from some of the top magazines and newspapers are going virtual to meet you! Bring your best ideas to the AHCJ Virtual PitchFest.

This session has been created to give you an opportunity to pitch your ideas virtually one-on-one with editors from selected publications.

To participate, you will register for two time slots with the editors of your choosing and pay a flat fee of $35. If time slots are available on Sept. 28, members who have already registered may select an additional editor time slot, at no additional charge.

At 8 a.m. ET, Sept. 30, if we have Virtual PitchFest editor spots available, even if you have already selected three appointments, we will open the remaining spots until filled.

You need to arrive virtually with specific pitches for the editors, as well as clips, resume, business cards, etc. More details on how to share these during the session will be forthcoming.

We have provided information below about what each editor is looking for, so please use that to your advantage. Do your homework on each editor prior to your appointment.

Get strategies to succeed: 


AHCJ webcast We strongly recommend watching an exclusive webinar for AHCJ’s freelancers on Friday, Oct. 2, "Pitching your best stories during the pandemic," featuring: 

  • Roxanne Khamsi, independent journalist

  • Cori Vanchieri, features editor, Science News

  • Pamela Weintraub, psychology and health editor, AEON PSYCHE

  • Moderator: Maryn McKenna, independent journalist

Please note: PitchFest FAQ

Read more: About successful pitches.

Learn about the editors and what they are looking for.


  • You must be an AHCJ member to sign up for PitchFest appointments. AHCJ reserves the right to cancel appointments of anyone who is not qualified.

  • This opportunity is available to members at a nominal fee to help offset the cost of production; price includes the webcast. There is a flat fee of $35 for appointments.

  • Each appointment is for 10 minutes.

  • You will NOT be able to change appointments after the sign-up period ends.

  • You may sign up for only one appointment per each editor and your selections are not final until you submit your payment of $35.

Important dates

Wednesday, Sept. 23, noon ET

  • Open for sign ups online for up to two appointments per AHCJ member

  • First-come, first-serve with limited availability 

  • Up to two appointments at $35, payment required to reserve your spot.

Monday, Sept. 28, noon ET

  • If time slots are available, members who have already registered may select an additional editor time slot, at no additional charge

  • Anyone making their initial registration on or after September 28 will still pay the $35 fee for up to three appointments, subject to availability

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 a.m. ET

  • Any remaining times open until filled. You will be able to add appointments even if you have already selected three appointments.

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m. ET

  • Sign up period concludes; appointment calendar closes for the event

  • Calendar will close when all appointments are filled on or before Sept. 30

  • AHCJ cannot guarantee the length of time an editor nor the calendar will remain available before closing

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. ET

  • Virtual PitchFest

Five Simple Rules for PitchFest Etiquette:

  • Show up. The editor has your name so if you schedule an appointment, be on time and show up ready to pitch. There will not be people waiting to fill in for no-shows during the virtual event; therefore, the editor will be sitting for 10 minutes waiting for the next freelancer. AHCJ will not be able to refund any money due to not showing up, changes or cancellations.

  • Prepare carefully. We've posted blurbs from editors describing what they want so read those to customize your pitch to what each editor wants. For example, news editors won't want to hear a pitch for a feature. Study the publication to make certain your pitch is a good fit.

  • Arrive on time. We will run on time and we will run like clockwork. If you are late, you forfeit your pitch.

  • Respect the time limit. You will have only 10 minutes to pitch the editor. At the end of the allotted time, please thank the editor and tell him or her that you will follow up with an email.

  • Understand the limits. Please recognize that attending PitchFest does not guarantee you a sale. It does guarantee you an opportunity to pitch virtually face-to-face to editors who are extremely difficult to access, even by email.

» How to make appointments

A link to sign up will appear on this page when the sign-up period begins (see "Important dates" above). Please take the time to learn about what each editor is looking for.

Freelance PitchFest FAQ

How does signing up for Pitchfest work?

Editors who will be appearing at PitchFest are recruited by Freelance Committee Chair Jeanne Erdmann in the weeks before the virtual event. The editors’ time during PitchFest is divided into 10-minute blocks. Sign-ups for those slots takes place in advance of the virtual PitchFest at a date and time that is announced in advance. You are allowed up to two slots at $35 during the advance sign-up period. 

If slots will be held open till Sept. 30, why should I sign up in advance?

We encourage you to sign up on Sept. 23 for several reasons. First, because it represents your best chance of getting the slots you want with the editors you most want to meet and, second, it gives you more time to prepare for the appointment.

Do I need to come prepared with pitches?

Coming with pitches is essential. Getting face-to-face time virtually with these top editors is a rare opportunity and shouldn’t be wasted. These editors have told us that they expect pitches that are fresh, detailed, and demonstrate that you have researched the publication in advance. Do not expect to be able to use the time to have a “get to know you” chat; editors have told us in the past that they think less of writers who do not present pitches to them.

What if I can't attend my pre-arranged time slot?

We ask you to show respect for the effort that has been expended to provide this opportunity for you by honoring your commitments to your appointments.

If you are on the fence about participating, we ask that you refrain from the advance sign-ups.

AHCJ is working with a software company to produce this event and will not have access to make last-minute changes or cancellations. We are unable to refund your money.

This is important: Do not ghost. The editors have told us in the past that they are insulted when people do not show; remember, they have your names in advance, and they will remember them.

How does PitchFest work logistically?

The event is virtual and you will have 10 minutes to pitch an editor. This software does allow for a visual meeting or audio only. If you have a camera and can meet visually, it would be ideal. You are able to access the appointment by browser or mobile device. AHCJ will send you additional information prior to the event covering logins, customer service support and general information.

An editor I spoke to said that s/he would like to continue the conversation. May I speak with them further.

Please exchange contact information with the editor for a future call. This allows us to keep the PitchFest running on schedule.

A final note:

With our annual conference being postponed, the PitchFest committee has worked hard to develop this unique opportunity for our members. Please take the time to graciously thank the PitchFest committee for their hard work and all of the editors for spending their afternoon listening to your pitches. AHCJ is thrilled to offer a virtual PitchFest for our freelance members and we want to thank you for your continued support and interest.