Got a question, press inquiry, idea to share or story you’d like to pitch? Contact us through the form below and let us know how we can help.
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How to Pitch a Story to 99% Invisible
Have a story that you think could work for our show? Freelancers have helped make 99% Invisible great, and we are happy to consider your ideas for episodes or articles. Please do let us know if your suggestion is just an idea you would like to share or if you are a reporter looking to produce an episode.
A few suggestions for would-be pitchers:
- We tend to go for stories that inspire wonder and reveal something surprising about the built world, or about the cities we live in, or about the way the world around us has been designed.
- We love stories that make people take note of something in the world around them that they never would have thought about before. We tend to *avoid* stories about things that are cool in their own right (example: solar power, green roofs, bike lanes) or pieces that are about someone and their really cool project (we call these Dude With A Project or DWAP stories). We are often looking for stories that reveal something cool or interesting or surprising about something you might have thought was boring.
- We also do a lot of stories that end up being good vehicles to tell an interesting history. So this story about Ponte Tower is ostensibly about an iconic piece of architecture, but it’s also about the history of apartheid in South Africa, and how that history shaped and was shaped by the built environment. And this story about the design of police uniforms allowed us to talk about the history of policing in the U.S.
- Our “cardinal rule” is “no cardinals” (i.e. no stories about nature or science; we focus on things built by humans.) We do, however, like stories about the built environment coming in contact with the natural world, and the design that happens at that intersection.
- When you pitch, you should have a sense of the overall narrative arc for your story: where will it start, what is the thesis (ie. what is the story about in a sentence or two) and how the narrative will develop over various scenes. These things can change a lot as the editorial process progresses but it’s good if the pitch itself has a basic arc that reflects how the story could unfold.
- Tell us a little bit about your media or storytelling experience, including if this would be your first time producing audio.
- Try to keep pitches to a page or less.
We do read every single pitch. Seriously. If we think it has potential to work for our show, we will get in touch with you, though it may take some time (current turnaround time is 2-3 weeks).
Ready? Use the contact form above to send us your pitch, and be sure to select “Reporter Pitches” from the drop-down menu. Please also be sure to include your phone number.