Pitching to non-science journalists

24th May 2017

By Fiona Lethbridge 

On a Wednesday evening in November a group of Stempra members gathered in the Betsey Trotwood pub in Farringdon to hear from three journalists that work for outlets or on beats that we might not often think of for our science, technology, engineering or mathematics stories.

We heard from James Waterhouse, a reporter at BBC Newsbeat; Roisín Dervish-O’Kane, a features writer at Women’s Health magazine, and Kirstin Kidd, Deputy Picture Editor at New Scientist.  It was an interesting and eye-opening account of the kinds of stories that work for non-science journalists and for magazine-style publications and programmes.

We heard from James and Roisín about the importance of case studies and how key a personal account is for certain stories and for their target audience.  Kirstin shared a selection of brilliant images that have made the double-page spread in New Scientist, and reminded us to think about visuals when working with scientists on stories.

All three panellists emphasised the importance of doing our homework and knowing our audience when we’re deciding who to pitch to.  The good news is that they all want to hear from us more!  General and magazine-style outlets like BBC Newsbeat and Women’s Health are interested in STEM subjects, and all three panellists said they are very happy to be pitched to.  Roisín in particular emphasised that she’s keen to hear from scientists because they can help inject evidence into the stories she covers.

It was a really interesting and useful evening for those that attended – the journalists got a lot out of it too by making lots of useful contacts in science comms and PR!  We also streamed this event live, which turned out to be popular and worked well, so we will be looking to do that again at future events.

Thanks to everyone that came along!

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