I've been working on my first article for my J800 class, its due this Wednesday, and I'm still in the process of editing it - but I decided to pitch it to the Cap Times, which is a local news outlet here in Madison. They expressed some interest in it which I was excited about, but they told me flat out that they can't afford to pay me for it, so we'll see what happens. I sent it to them anyway, just to see if they might be able to use it and give me the byline.
Pitching articles can be really difficult, and in all of my journalism education it isn't something that any professor has ever gone over. So I turned to my back-up teacher: the Internet. I looked through a lot of sample pitches and came up with what I think was a convincing argument on behalf of my article. I think the most important thing to remember when pitching articles is to identify the reader base of whatever news organization you are going to pitch to. It has to be something that is written to the level of the audience, but also that will have particular interest for them.
Sending in my first pitch for an organization that I didn't previously work for definitely made me feel like a newbie. I know that being in school is a great time to get my feet wet (pretty much my only opportunity considering I need to be making money once I graduate) but its awkward for me to have experience in some things and no experience in other things. Fingers crossed this article will work out.