Friday, July 15, 2016

Pitch me

A lot of people ask what kinds of story ideas I look for these days. Here are a few ideas. Okay, more than a few. This isn't intended to be all-inclusive (despite its length), but at the very least it's a pretty good start.

Wildlife and Endangered Species:
  • Species newly declared endangered or extinct (recoveries are nice, too)
  • Newly discovered species
  • New threats to species
  • New conservation programs
  • Conservation milestones (good or bad)
  • Human-wildlife conflict (and mitigation techniques)
  • Stories about wildlife that illustrate broader issues
  • Broader issues that can bring together several smaller stories 
  • Other stuff that's slipped through the cracks
  • Stories about the people behind any of the above
(In general, I don't care what kind of animal or species someone is studying or trying to conserve. I'll write about anything from whales to algae, and I like to cover a broad mix of species types from all corners of the world.)

Other Environmental Topics:
  • Green technologies, both for consumers and industry
  • Pollution, especially plastics, e-waste and light pollution
  • Climate change -- new data, new threats, or new mitigation techniques
  • Forestry issues
  • Water/drought
  • Urban sustainability
  • Stories about specific places that help to illustrate broader worldwide issues
  • People fighting the good fight
  • Important events in environmental history that have added relevance today
  • Personal stories and struggles about all of the above 

Science and Technology Careers:
  • What it's like to work in a given field
  • Important (emerging?) skills or that people should have (this can be hard skills or soft skills)
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Societal issues, such as women in tech

The Arts:
  • Novels, comic books or movies -- if they're about any of the above

The Maybe Stuff:
  • I'm not too concerned with domesticated animals, whether they're pets or for agriculture, but I won't completely rule out stories about them.
  • Portland, Oregon stories -- Hey, that's where I live. Try me.
  • Philanthropy -- I enjoy telling stories about people doing good things, but I don't really have a venue to tell those types of tales right now. Still, if it fits into the broader themes above, you have a better chance.
  • Weird history -- I love this stuff, but again, I don't have too many places to write about it lately.
  • Animal behavior or psychology -- Other journalists focus on this, so I usually leave it to them. On the other hand, if it plays into conservation issues, hit me up.

That's plenty, right? Well, here's one last caveat: I'm mostly looking for stories, not just facts. Give me something personal, something to care about, something that will inspire my readers to take action. That's what I'm looking for most of all.

Well, now that you've read this too-long list, let's see what you've got. I make no guarantees or promises about what stories I'll cover, but I look forward to hearing from people. Drop me a line any time at johnrplatt [at]

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