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The Root Seeks Smart, Timely Pieces Affecting African-Americans for Its 60/60 News Cycle

Time has seen the news evolve from monthly and weekly reports on current events to the 24/7 news cycle. However, digital outlets like The Root, a hub of news, commentary and analysis from a thoughtful black perspective, aim to satisfy the masses that demand updates on a minute-by-minute basis. Managing editor Lyne Pitts calls this the 60/60 news cycle.

For writers pitching The Root, timeliness is just one component. Pitts recommends that freelancers focus on quality writing and reporting on issues in pop culture, politics and more that affect African-Americans. Stories should be about something current and the tone should be “very reactionary” and “smart in that reaction.”

Pitts adds that:

If you’re thinking it, we’re probably talking about it. That’s the way pitches need to be in terms of timeliness, focus and reaction to what’s going on. If you send me a pitch on Friday about something that happened on Wednesday, we may have already moved on.

For more on what editors are looking for, read: How to Pitch: The Root.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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Breaking Into Content Marketing

Brand-Journalism-ArticleAnyone who considers herself a “serious” journalist might balk at the thought of working for the advertising side of a company. But facing the increasingly dire state of journalism today, many writers are hopping on the branded bandwagon, at least part-time.

There are the obvious benefits to content marketing, like a bigger paycheck and looser deadlines. But many journos may not realize the creative freedom they’ll have when it comes to writing copy:

As [James Del, the executive director of Studio@Gawker] told me, “Branded content — when done properly — is not supposed to be a slimy advertorial that forces a writer to bend [his] own viewpoint to that of a corporation. The best branded content is like any other arrangement between a patron and an artist. The topic of coverage may be decided on in conjunction with the brand, but the writer should be left to editorialize on that topic as they deem necessary.”

For more advice on transitioning into content marketing, read: 7 Reasons to Break Into Brand Journalism.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Pitch Parents, Parents.com With the Modern-Day Mom in Mind

Parents-ArticleParents, which focuses on millennial moms, is on the hunt for fresh new writers. The monthly mag offers plenty of opportunities for freelancers — it’s 70 percent freelance written, after all — who can write from personal experience in a friendly, nonjudgmental tone about everything from potty training to breastfeeding.

And if you’ve got experience writing for the Web (and can turn copy around quickly), you shouldn’t hesitate to send your pitches to the pub’s online counterpart, Parents.com:

A majority of the site’s readers are pregnant or moms with babies, so pregnancy and infant coverage are of particular interest. Deputy editor Diane Debrovner advises freelancers to clearly define which section of the website they see their piece fitting into when they pitch: “Getting Pregnant,” “Pregnancy,” “Babies,” “Toddlers & Preschoolers,” “Big Kids,” “Parenting,” “Food,” “Health” or “Fun.”

For more on what editors want, read: How To Pitch: Parents.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Connect With a Mentor

How-To-Land-Mentor-ArticleThe term “mentor” can mean different things to different people. Usually it’s someone in the same field as you, who has been in the industry longer and who can guide you throughout your career.

Finding a great mentor can be life-changing: he or she can inspire and motive you, expand your network and push you to achieve true career success. So how can you establish a real connection with someone you respect from afar? Well, once you’ve identified the mentor you want to approach, there are a few ways to handle it:

[Megan Dalla-Camina, positive psychology workplace expert], explains that you can seek an introduction from a mutual connection or send an email directly to the person and ask for 30 minutes of his or her time. “Be specific in your request,” she points out. “Open-ended requests can scare people off.” Tell your potential mentor what you admire about him and three things you want to ask during the 30-minute meeting. If the initial connection goes well, find out if your contact is willing to meet on a monthly or quarterly basis.

For more advice, including where to find a mentor, read: How To Land a Mentor and Boost Your Career.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Make Your Editor’s Job Easier

editors-want_articleFreelancers are always looking for ways to score recurring gigs. Creating a lasting relationship with your editor is a great way to keep the assignments rolling in.

There are a few basic things you can do right off the bat: be timely, courteous and professional. Be honest and open if you can’t make a deadline. And most importantly: make sure that your article is thoroughly fact checked:

Chandra Turner, executive editor of Parents magazine, says that nothing drives an editor crazier than reading a wonderful piece and having it fall apart in fact checking. “[Writers] should source all their content. Have your backup for everything that you’ve written.” [Elena Mauer, deputy editor of The Bump, print and online] emphasizes the importance of fact checking too. “Make sure you talk to an expert, or you’ve looked up a study or you have some sort of a credible resource that says this is true.”

For more freelancer advice, including how to create a killer pitch, read: What Editors Really Want From Writers. 

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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