NASJA - BostonEricWilburNov19ProDev

NASJA Meeting in Boston

The Nov. 15 meeting during the Ski & Snowboard Expo was well attended by members from predominantly New England and Middle Atlantic states. The session included pitch tips from broadcast journalism teacher and Boston Globe sportswriter Eric Wilbur. He is also newly appointed digital editor of the New England Ski Journal.Wilbur polled several Boston area ski editors for tips on snowsports stories they are looking for. Wilbur has solid New England credentials: He grew up skiing at Black Mountain, a place that is still largely unchanged from when he learned how to ski 35 years ago. What do editors want? Eric explained:

  • Pitch out-of-the-box ideas that might have New England connections while highlighting the skiing lifestyle in other regions. Maybe there’s a New England mini-club based at Whistler, or a New England club that visits the Alps the same week every year and has fun stories to tell. Consider “where are they now?” angles, resort comeback features, debate which pass is the best, or as another example, simply why small resorts still matter.
  • Keep your pitch brief (and not suck-uppy). No editor has time to read long pitches. They should be a couple of sentences about why the story matters and why readers will care. Subject line on the email should be short and simple and clear that it’s a pitch. Indicate whether you have access to high resolution photos to accompany the story. Proofread your pitch – sloppy pitches will lead editors to believe the story might be sloppy as well.
  • Think about the headline. Editors want a piece with a headline that will grab readers’ attention, and giving editors a hint of what that headline could be up front is super-helpful.
  • Make sure the story is exclusive. Nothing is more of a turn-off than a pitch that suggests an update or a refreshing of something done previously for another publication.
  • So much coverage of the ski industry is about infrastructure, amenities, capital improvements, but the most compelling topics are people-oriented … the liftie who has seen, heard, lived it all over the course of a few winters or a few decades, or the snowcat groomer who has a perspective few others get to experience.

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