How to pitch a story using XY “And what’s interesting…” test

Online Journalism 2

In an article in Transom Review, NPR radio reporter and journalism instructor Alex Blumberg offers some great advice for determining if you on the right track to finding a good story and pitching it to an editor.

He suggests that reporters pitch a story using what he calls the “XY And what’s interesting… test.”

He writes:

You simply tell someone about the story you’re doing, adhering to a very strict formula: “I’m doing a story about X. And what’s interesting about it is Y.”

So for example… “I’m doing a story about a homeless guy who lived on the streets for 10 years, and what’s interesting is, he didn’t get off the streets until he got into a treatment program.” Wrong track. Solve for a different Y.

Y = “… and what’s interesting is there’s a small part of him that misses being homeless.” Right track.

Y =

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