How to pitch me a story

I got this pitch after publishing a story on Jermont Tigner. While I won’t be pursuing it, I loved the pitch. This post will explain way. But first, the pitch:

Subject: Great Story About Jermont Tigner

My son Matt LaMunion is the dispatcher who took the call. Matt is 24 years old, single, loves his job there, and is making a career in public safety.

Matt told me about Jermont and sent me the link. I was a police officer with Dallas PD and got Matt into the Cadet program there when Matt was 17 and a senior at Plano High School so he started his LE career almost at Jermonts age. He was with DPD 2 years, then went to Lewisville full time in communications while enrolled in UNT near full time. Matt has been with LVPD about 5 years, he is also in his last semester at UNT for his BS degree in Emergency Management.

With Jermont being 15, having turned his life around and looking at what he wants to do for a career. Y-all ought to introduce Jermont and Matt, get Jermont up into the 911 center, put on a headset like a “ride along” and spend a half shift or shift with Matt. Matt could share his career path and it may be beneficial to Jermont. Matt is a good mentor, he had a lot of influence on his younger brother Mike who is 22. He could be a good mentor for Jermont and be another caring person who keeps Jermont progressing.

Getting them together would be a cool follow-up story for you as well. The person in charge of communications there is Lynda, I do not know her last name. Or you may know their PIO or a deputy chief.

I am still a cop, but left Dallas PD, for Fort Worth. So Matt and I are pretty close as I mentored him quite a bit in the career area. If you follow-up with LVPD and they move forward don’t Matt or anyone there know his Dad was behind it…. that would probably be very uncool having “Dad” involved…. LOL

If you need any help with anything in FW or Tarrant area keep my contact info and feel free to reach out.


Howard T. LaMunion, Jr.

Now, here’s what I loved about it.

Howard had an eye catching subject line, including a name he knew I’d recognize. If your pitch doesn’t have something similar, try something like “Cover story idea for neighborsgo about a new local business” or whatever it happens to be.

This shows that you understand what the publication is and tells me specifically what you want off the bat.

Next, he writes, “My son Matt LaMunion is the dispatcher who took the call. Matt is 24 years old, single, loves his job there, and is making a career in public safety.”

This is important because it tells me who Howard is and his relation to the previous story. It also introduces his son,  who he is pitching as the subject of a potential follow up, and places him in my coverage area. If he didn’t have this line or it was not related to my coverage area, I may have stopped reading here.

If you are pitching me for the first time and working in public relations, or not, tell me who you are with and who you are representing.  Then tell me why it’s relevant to my area. 

So, instead of what he wrote, you would have something like, “My mane is Adam Schrader and I work for the PR firm Schrader and Associates representing our client Coca Cola. Coca Cola, while not based in Lewisville, is looking to expand its offerings in southern Denton County.”

Next, while unnecessary, it’s nice to know how you heard of me. Howard wrote, “Matt told me about Jermont and sent me the link.”

Most pitches won’t have the following information, but it’s nice as it establishes credibility and rapport.

Howard wrote, “I was a police officer with Dallas PD and got Matt into the Cadet program there when Matt was 17 and a senior at Plano High School so he started his LE career almost at Jermonts age.”

This builds credibility because it gives me personal information about Howard, the pitcher, and why what he has to say is worth noting. It also has background information on his son which is necessary for understanding the potential story he’s pitching.

What I don’t like is that he used the abbreviation LE for law enforcement, which was distracting and almost made me stop reading.

I can’t say this enough. Never. Use. Jargon.

Next, Howard gives me more necessary background information. Having this information is crucial to journalists because we can think of what the lede and nut graf of the story are before the interview, and frame our questions accordingly.

He writes, “He was with DPD 2 years, then went to Lewisville full time in communications while enrolled in UNT near full time. Matt has been with LVPD about 5 years, he is also in his last semester at UNT for his BS degree in Emergency Management.”

Next, Howard tells me why this story is important, not just on a geographical base, but as a good human interest story with “Jermont being 15, having turned his life around and looking at what he wants to do for a career.”

Then he tells me exactly what he wants me to do. I just wish this was further up in his email as this was the whole point. It turns out he didn’t want a story, he wanted a video.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to make the video, but his pitch made me wish I did.

“Y’all ought to introduce Jermont and Matt, get Jermont up into the 911 center, put on a headset like a ‘ride along’ and spend a half shift or shift with Matt. Matt could share his career path and it may be beneficial to Jermont. Matt is a good mentor, he had a lot of influence on his younger brother Mike who is 22. He could be a good mentor for Jermont and be another caring person who keeps Jermont progressing.”

I also like that he provided a potential nut graf (if this was to be a story, not a video), with “[Matt] could be a good mentor for Jermont and be another caring person who keeps Jermont progressing.”

Next, he provides other options for me. I like that because it keeps my attention and tells me what could be done instead of a video.

“Getting them together would be a cool follow-up story for you as well. The person in charge of communications there is Lynda, I do not know her last name. Or you may know their PIO or a deputy chief.”

He not only provides other sources that could be used in the story, he offers his assistance.

In the future, remember that while I occasionally do video, I am a writer first. Instead of pitching me the video first, pitch it to me where Howard pitched the follow up story. I still want to know what multimedia I can include with the write up.

The rest of the pitch is kind of irrelevant, but it’s laid back and is still nice for building a personal connection.

One other critique is that Howard had many grammatical and spelling errors, a turn off for any journalist.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

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