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How To Get Your Reality Show On The Air

PitchRealityTVShow

So you’ve got a great idea for a new reality show. Now you just have to get it picked up by a network. That’s easier said than done. Reality television is a competitive business these days, and it seems like every month someone’s discovered a new charismatic crop of weirdos (the folks of Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo Boo and her family, etc.) for TV audiences to fall in love with.

So what can you do to make your pitch stand out? In the latest Mediabistro feature, industry vets give tips on how you can impress network execs. Step one: Work on your idea:

Bill Hunt, executive producer of Austin Street Productions, whose expertise includes lifestyle programming and documentaries, said it’s also important to recognize the potential of current themes on TV. “Networks love shows that are the same as other successful shows [yet] different in a unique way,” he said. “Look at all the tattoo shows or the pawn-broking shows — when something is successful, you want to find a different hook into a hot topic. Right now humor seems to be in demand, à la Duck Dynasty.”

For more advice on pitching your TV show, read: How To Pitch Your Reality Show Idea.

– Aneya Fernando

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.

Jozen Cummings on How He Became the NY Post‘s Dating Reporter

JozenCummings

It’s safe to say Jozen Cummings never imagined he’d become a professional matchmaker of sorts. The former arts and entertainment writer is now a dating reporter for The New York Post‘s Meet Market column, where he sets up singles on blind dates in New York City.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, Cummings discusses what it’s like setting up blind dates for strangers, the accidental success of his blog and how he scored his dream job:

Your background is in arts and entertainment, so how did you end up a dating reporter?
It was the first job that I ever got where I went in not knowing anyone. But when I saw the opening for Meet Market, I said “This is the job for me. This is the job I want.” I know that people know about my blog, but I never use it as a way to sell myself or my qualifications. I still feel strongly about this: you want a professional job, you’ve got to show the most professional work that you possibly can. So none of my clips were dating-related or anything like that. But I knew that it would help to show that I care a lot about this topic of dating, so I did send a link to my blog. Kind of like a bowtie.

To hear more about his writing process and how he cultivated an audience for his blog, read: So What Do You Do, Jozen Cummings, Blogger And Dating Columnist For The New York Post?

– Aneya Fernando

Earn $1 A Word and Up at This Foodie Pub

EatingWell

EatingWell strives to be the place ‘where good taste meets good health.’ This food-centric pub is all about healthy recipes, nutrition news and interesting narratives on the origins of our food.

The mag is looking for investigative pieces on nutrition and science-based articles on subjects like food sustainability. New writers who manage to break into the book often establish fruitful relationships with editors there:

Features need to be well researched and thorough; a news angle or a hook to a trend also helps. “Nourish” is an essay column about how food nourishes us in unexpected ways. It is open to top literary talent as well as new writers. Travel stories are welcomed only if they have a clear tie-in to health and come with easy recipes that meet the EatingWell nutrition guidelines. What the editors prefer are pitches in which the writer can show a personal connection to a particular locale and its cuisine.

For editors’ contact info and more tips on breaking into the book, read: How To Pitch: EatingWell.

– Aneya Fernando

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.

Siempre Mujer Day of the Dead Benefit Draws Celebs, Raises $55,000 For Arts Education

2BeFunky_Marrero_Vega_Models (1).jpgFishbowlNY headed out to the El Museo del Barrio last Friday for the annual Day of the Dead benefit, co-sponsored by Siempre Mujer magazine. The event drew more than 450 people, including Telemundo host Adamari Lopez and Latin-fusion singer Xenia Rubinos, who gave quite the performance.

The benefit included one-of-a-kind costumes created by Susan Jaramillo and models, at left, flanking Siempre Mujer editor María Cristina Marrero and Meredith Hispanic Media publisher Enedina Vega, in full ‘Day of the Dead’ makeup.

Also in attendance, David Lipke, menswear editor of WWD, Christian Cota, fashion market director of Vanity Fair and Isabella Behrens, associate market editor of Vanity Fair.

The benefit raised $55,000 with all proceeds supporting El Museo’s Latin American and Hispanic arts education programs.

– Aneya Fernando

How To Negotiate Pay Increases as a Freelancer

LifeAsAFreelancer

Becoming a freelancer full time can be an overwhelming undertaking. The reliability of your old job is long gone, replaced with a constant need to hustle for work.

And that’s not even going into the money issue. Freelancers often deal with a fluctuating financial situation. Some months you be may have more clients than you know what to do with, other times — not so much.

That’s why it’s so important to know what your work is worth:

I’ve found editors rarely pay much in increases; they have a budget for stories and that’s that. However, if you’re a steady contributor, you may be able to finagle an extra $50 or so. If the work isn’t too demanding, it might be worth your while to keep this client. Or perhaps you can negotiate other benefits. For example, instead of all rights to the work, your client takes only one-time rights, so you can easily sell the work (and make money) elsewhere.

To get more advice on freelancing, read: Pros and Cons of Life as a Freelancer.

– Aneya Fernando

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.

Earn $1 a Word at This Lifestyle Pub That’s Not Just for Southerners

GardenandGun

Garden & Gun: the name really says it all. This Southern bi-monthly pub (with a circulation of roughly 300,000) is focused on the lifestyle and leisure of those in the South — and beyond.

The mag features articles on art, literature, music, architecture, design, travel and food. And, of course, gardening. As far as the “gun” side of things, the pub has plenty of pieces on hunting, and it even has a conservation section. G&G’s content is 80 percent freelance and although it may appear to be strictly Southern, that’s far from the case, according to deputy editor Dave Mezz.

“We’re focused on the South, but we are a national magazine,” said Mezz. “We have readership that extends well beyond [the South], both coasts, all over the country and beyond.” Freelancers can [definitely] send a query on topics outside of the South. One example might be a piece on Southern winemakers in California. “They’re not in the South, but they come from the South [and] they bring a certain sort of philosophy with them that’s rooted in their upbringing,” said Mezz.

To get more tips on how to get published in this mag, read: How To Pitch: Garden & Gun

– Aneya Fernando

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 Get Your Personal Essay Published

CraftPersonalEssays

The personal essay is enjoying a surge of popularity. We share more personal information online than ever before, whether it’s on social media, blogs or even national publications.

Personal essays force you to observe your life from a different perspective, to get inspired from your own experiences and to be brave and share controversial opinions. But first, you need to get your work published:

Unless you already have a relationship with an editor or publication, you need to write your essay before sending it out — rather than selling it as an idea in a pitch letter. Carinn Jade, blogger at Welcome To The Motherhood, prefers to have a particular market in mind when she’s crafting her essays. “It’s really about knowing the periodical or site, knowing their voice and point of view and tailoring [your piece] to fit with their content.” She recommends reading profusely, finding publications that speak to you and trying to join that community instead of doing a broad search for markets.

For more tips on writing personal essays, read: Your Life in 1,000 Words: The Craft Of Personal Essays.

– Aneya Fernando

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.

Soledad O’Brien On Pursuing Stories She Believes In

SoledadOBrien

Soledad O’Brien has embarked on a new journey, and she couldn’t be happier about it. The former CNN morning anchor recently launched Starfish Media Group, a multiplatform company dedicated to uncovering empowering stories from around the world.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, O’Brien discusses the challenges of starting her own company, her thoughts of the current state of cable news and the importance of pursuing stories that remain uncovered by the mainstream media:

You’ve said that Starfish Media Group allows you to explore topics that you care deeply about. How would a broader adoption of that model affect journalism as a whole?
In a way, I think what you’re seeing already among viewers is that exact model. People are interested in things not necessarily covered by the mainstream media, so they download things online. The categories are growing because people find out that they’re not able to get information about stories that are of interest to them on the evening news. So I think that’s already in place and it’s only going to become more so….I think that there’s a sense of “I have a story to tell” or “I would like to see my story reflected” somewhere, especially in a nation that’s more and more demographically diverse.

To get career tips from O’Brien and more info on her company, read: So What Do You Do, Soledad O’Brien, CEO of Starfish Media Group?

– Aneya Fernando

Earn Up to $2 A Word At The Freelance-Driven Discover

Discover

Discover magazine is going through a bit of a makeover. The pub recently relocated their headquarters from New York City to Milwaukee and they’ve added a new editorial team. This science-driven monthly even has a revised mission statement: “To provide content that informs, inspires and entertains people who love science.”

Discover is 95 percent freelance written, and they need writers on all platforms. Editors are looking for strong multimedia content for their website, and if you’re into long-form writing, they also have a series of digital eBook singles. The pub’s editor-in-chief, Stephen C. George, says that the freelance field is wide open:

“Freelancers are our lifeblood,” George said, referring to the substantial amount of content that is freelance driven. When it comes to pitching, “We’re hungry for pitches from established science writers as well as those just starting in the field,” he said. Of immediate need are features on technology, physics, chemistry and other hard sciences. Archaeology writers, take note: “If there’s a great archaeology story out there — which I’m desperate for — I’d take it for [the] March/April 2014 [issue]!” said George.

For editors’ contact info and more tips on how to get published in this mag, read: How To Pitch: Discover.

– Aneya Fernando

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.

Narratively Seeks New York-Centric Stories

Narratively

Narratively, the year-old website dedicated to New York stories, is the antithesis of the fast-paced, twitter-obsessed, homogeneous content that now pervades many online pubs. It was recently included in Time’s “50 Best Websites 2013” and boasts over 100,000 monthly visitors.

The site is committed to long form journalism and to stories that are under the radar. With 100 percent of its content coming from freelancers, storytellers of all forms of media are welcome to pitch:

The site’s tagline, “Local stories, boldly told,” is an apt description. Of the concept, editorial director Brendan Spiegel says, “We were all writers and photographers and reporters in New York who were interested in telling local, in-depth stories — human-interest stories; profiles of colorful characters, people and neighborhoods. The kind of thing that you don’t really see anymore now that newspaper metro sections are shrinking, and there’s not a lot of high-quality local journalism anymore.”

For editors’ contact info and pitching etiquette, read: How To Pitch: Narratively.

– Aneya Fernando

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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