Students will learn to turn their story ideas into fully developed pitches. A pitch enables students to explain their story succinctly and also keep their story focused during the production process. Click on the Activities Tab to complete the lesson.
Students learn to think critically about how journalists and producers make choices -- specifically concerning characters, ideas, and story structure -- and how those choices determine the direction of a news piece and how compelling it is.
Understanding how to pitch a news story will help students determine what important civic issues are at the heart of the story they want to tell.
An account of past or current events. In journalism, stories are presented with a combination of people, facts, and typically includes a beginning, middle and end.
A person or other physical being in a narrative. Stories are made up of different characters who provide information and help shape the narrative with their knowledge, experience and perspective.
The process of changing and updating your work based on feedback with the goal of making it stronger. To successfully revise your story, listen to other perspectives, be open to reconsidering parts of your story and remember not to take feedback personally - it's about the story, not about you.
A description of what your story might be and WHY it’s important. An outline of your story idea and the steps to achieve your goal. A summary of what you hope to accomplish in your story
Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences. (ISTE)
Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical. (ISTE)
Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals. (ISTE)
White board, chalkboard or other visual board
Explain to students that journalists have to PITCH stories to their editors or bosses to get their approval to work on a piece. These pitches have to be quick, detailed, and compelling in order to convince editors that the story is worth the time and investment.
Estimated time to complete: 20 Minutes
STEP 1: Ask students if they have ever “pitched” a plan to anyone. They may not be sure if they have. Then ask students if they have ever tried to convince a parent or teacher to let them do something (go to a friend’s house, sign up for a sport or activity, get an extension on an assignment, etc.). Young people are actually pitching all the time!
STEP 2: Ask for a student volunteer to talk briefly about a time they successfully pitched a plan to someone. What made their pitch successful?
STEP 3: Ask students what similar (or different) elements a journalist might include when pitching a story to an editor.
Answer: a news pitch includes:
Ask students what they think an elevator pitch is.
Answer: a pitch that could be delivered during a short elevator ride (30 seconds or less)
Estimated time to complete: 30 Minutes
STEP 1: Break students up into their production groups (unless students will be producing stories by themselves).
STEP 2: Give students five minutes to brainstorm and make notes about how they could turn their story ideas into elevator pitches.
STEP 3: Ask groups to choose one member to present.
STEP 4: Ask one student in the class to be the timekeeper and put 30 seconds on the clock.
Each presenter has 30 seconds to give their story pitch to the class and must stop when the timer goes off.
After each pitch, ask the rest of the class these questions about the presented pitch.
STEP 5: After the pitch presentations, give groups the SRL PITCH TEMPLATE. Students should make a copy then take their time filling this out, making it as strong as they can, based on the feedback they received from their classmates.
Optional: Once students have started production, do the elevator pitch activity again. Practicing their elevator pitch at any time in the process can always help students figure out the best direction and the real heart of their story.
During the next week or so, or whenever they are ready to get started on their pitch, students should do as much RESEARCH as they can.
REVISE your SRL PITCH SHEET as you learn more information about the topic, story, and characters.
Remind students a pitch is just a plan. It’s very likely things will change once you start reporting and filming. That’s okay! Having a solid plan will help you as you make choices along the way.
Estimated time to complete: 10 Minutes
Ask students: Why is it important to create a pitch before you start producing or writing a story?
Ask students: How can sharing your pitch with other people help make your story stronger?
Estimated time to complete: 5 - 10 min
Self-reflection is important. Distribute copies of the Exit Ticket for Pitch Your Story.