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Call for Pitches: April 14, 2016


We’re looking for pitches from freelancers on several themes. See list below. If you feel you have a story that fits or you have a new idea, please let us know!

We’re also always interested in pitches on any of our ongoing beats: prisons, poverty, corporations’ undue influence, reproductive health, climate change and the environment. We’re still looking for reporters who are themselves immigrants for our Immigrants and Elections miniseries–per that recent call for pitches.

**NewsFlash — We’ve gotten a non-profit subsidized license to try out Hearken software. We’re stoked to have our freelance producers and reporters experiment in using it with us. See http://www.wearehearken.com/ and if your story would benefit from seeking audience input upstream, tell us about that.

Incarceration Issues: We’re looking for stories detailing the effects of the prison systems on children and families, delving into life after incarceration, and stories examining sentence reduction reforms at the state level. For instance in California, Prop 47 passed in fall 2014. It reduces drug possession and five other felonies to misdemeanors. Are other states making changes similar to California’s Prop 47 ? What have been the preliminary results in California and what of the backlash by those opposed to the sentencing reform?

Climate Change: “Climate Resilience” and “Social Cohesion” are terms used by environmental justice advocates and academics to mean various things. We want sound-rich stories that explore these terms in practice.

It could be a local clean energy project, local economies. How are communities working not just to survive but thrive? How are low-income communities, expected to be hit hardest by climate change developing ways now to cope “later?” How are people of color led organizations and networks particularly exploring the justice angle in “climate justice?”

We’re looking for stories that break out of the gloom and doom, wonk-talk or science-load, and instead give a glimpse of people coming together to take steps now.  

Pitch us stories about various bottom-up and grassroots organizing methods and tactics. Perhaps a profile of someone who was either uninterested or overwhelmed and depressed about the crisis but is now engaged. How did that personal and political transformation take place?

Guns: We’re looking for stories that bring new perspectives on guns, gun violence, mass shootings, and the ways in which they affect women and men differently. These could be personal stories. They could also be more investigative or explanatory pieces. We’d also welcome other pitches related to guns, maybe a look at one of several states’ legislation to allow or ban concealed carry on college campuses.

Transgender: There is an organized backlash running astride transgender political movements. More than a dozen states have introduced legislation that would limit transgender access to public spaces and programs— spaces like bathrooms, sports teams, and locker rooms. A portion of those bills would also allow for businesses and individuals to discriminate against transgender adults and children based on religious or moral beliefs. Pitch us a story from one of the states that would allow discrimination based on religious or moral beliefs, or, one on Los Angeles Unified School District policies that help trans kids and their families during the coming out process. LAUSD has been the model for school districts across the country.

Elections: Pitch us a story on the presidential elections that is unique. Stories that do not focus on the horse race itself but some other angles or structural issues such as voting rights. For example, we did a piece on the electoral college. Or a story from the grassroots mobilizations leading up to the elections for instance Democracy Spring or Democracy Awakening in April about govt corruption and campaign finance reform. Or stories generated from  the many other gatherings and protests planned for outside of the conventions. What do Black Lives Matter movement people have planned? Rather than “covering” these events we’d be interested in a follow-along with characters and scenes, and digging underneath the obvious.

Community First Response: When it comes to meeting people’s immediate needs – food, housing, healthcare, and safety – our friends, families, and neighbors are often the first responders.  We are looking for stories about groups of people who are taking community first response to the next level, creating projects (formal or informal) that are rooted in values of mutual support, and can be replicated.  For example, a group of neighbors helping local small businesses address violence and conflict without involving the police or government agencies.  We are not looking for segments on nonprofits or government agencies that provide services.

Specifications

Making Contact is an award-winning, 29-minute weekly magazine/documentary-style public affairs program heard on 120 radio stations in the USA, Canada, South Africa, and Australia. Amplifying voices and perspectives rarely heard in mainstream media, Making Contact focuses on the human realities of politics and the connections between local and global events, emphasizing positive and creative ways to solve problems.

This call for pitches is for segments of about 8 minutes(unless otherwise noted), and we pay $450 per story of this length. We also occasionally take longer pieces (12 or 26 minutes).  

As with any pitches you send us, please check out our show and read our guidelines before you pitch. https://www.radioproject.org/production/submission-guidelines/

Consider the following. Does the story:

  • Link grassroots issues and human realities to national or international trends?
  • Give listeners a historical, political, or social context of major national and international events?
  • Shed light on social and economic inequities?
  • How will the piece motivate the listener to act?
  • How will the voices or point of view expressed differ from what is heard in the commercial media?
  • Explore any alternatives or solutions?

Send pitches to pitches@radioproject.org. Please be detailed but succinct, and include a description of your idea, narrative/story arc, interview subjects, scenes, and sounds/ambi. If you’re pitching to us for the first time, please include a brief bio and relevant audio clips.

We will review every pitch, but it could take us a couple weeks to get back to you. So, please be patient

We look forward to hearing from you!

Laura Flynn, Jasmín López, Monica Lopez
Making Contact producers

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