Pitch (document) for Audio 2

Your “Audio 2″ will be an interview with an international student at UF.

The interview must NOT be conducted until AFTER you have made your pitch, orally, in class, on Sept. 10.


You cannot conduct the interview until after your pitch has been approved.

The pitch assignment includes both a printed document and a presentation by you in class. “Presentation” is a little exaggerated. What it really is, is a pitch — to the instructor and your fellow students. (Covered in Kern, Chapter 12. READ IT.) If your pitch fails, you will have to re-do it within 24 hours. If your pitch fails miserably, you will have to find a different interview subject AND write a new pitch.

IMPORTANT: Before you identify your intended interview subject, COMPLETE the Blog Post 3 assignment. It will help you think about STORIES.

Choosing your interview subject (rules and requirements)

Why so many rules? To push you outside your comfort zone.

  1. The student must be enrolled full-time at UF now, in fall 2013, and living in Gainesville.
  2. The student must NOT be enrolled in the College of Journalism and Communications.
  3. The student must be in the U.S. on a current and valid student visa. Therefore, the student CANNOT be a permanent resident (Green Card holder) or a citizen of the United States. ASK THEM what kind of visa they have, e.g. F-1. If they don’t know, find someone else.
  4. The student must have grown up in a foreign country or countries. Ideally, the student came to the U.S. specifically to attend UF. Note: U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States are NOT foreign countries.
  5. The student cannot be from China or Taiwan. Sorry, but in the past we just had too many stories from those countries. (Note that Hong Kong is part of China.) The rest of Asia is fine.
  6. DO NOT select a student who went to primary school, middle school or high school in the U.S.
  7. It is okay if the student is from an English-speaking country — but those students will not be the most interesting ones to interview.
  8. The student must not be your friend or your relative, including by marriage.
  9. The person can be either a graduate or an undergraduate student.

The story (requirements)

The story you produce from this interview (or interviews) must focus on some aspect(s) of this international student’s experience in the United States. It does not need to be school-related. It’s pretty open.

It’s a story you will need to discover by talking with your subject! (BEFORE the interview!)

What listeners should hear in your story is something new, something they did not know before.

Listeners should have a feeling or a realization about the people from other countries who come here and live among us. Something warm and happy, or horrifying, or shocking, or sweet and wonderful. You’ll have to explore, by asking open questions.

So this is not about hard news or facts. This assignment calls on you to find a story in a person, and get that person to tell you about it.

Some people don’t have any stories. Make sure you find an international student who has at least one good story to tell.

The pitch document (requirements)

This must be printed before class and handed in during class.

The pitch itself (one paragraph of text) must be able to convince an editor that this person has an interesting story.

Your pitch document must include a LIST of the following:

  1. The international student’s full name,
  2. Age,
  3. Home country,
  4. Type of visa he/she holds for U.S. study (be specific),
  5. College at UF,
  6. Major,
  7. Current degree program (e.g. bachelor’s, master’s, etc.),
  8. ufl.edu e-mail address, and
  9. Cell phone number.
  10. PARAGRAPH: The story idea. Be specific.

Make sure to include YOUR FULL NAME at the top of the document.

Being a real journalist

You need to find your interview subject, have some conversations, gain his or her trust, and explain very clearly that even though you will be conducting this interview for a class assignment, the edited audio file will be on a website where anyone can find it and listen to it. DO NOT HIDE behind the “I’m a student” fake front. Be a journalist.

It is essential that you not downplay or gloss over the fact that this will be online. As a journalist, you MUST be able to get someone to talk to you with the full knowledge that he or she is doing so in a very pubic and exposed way. This person should be comfortable with you and willing to let you record and use his or her personal material.

Talking to people is a big part of being a journalist. You might need to talk to a lot of people before you find a good one. Get started early.

The pitch you give in class

Read all of the assigned pages in Kern for this week and use that information (especially the part in Chapter 12) to pitch your story.

You will NOT be reading to us. DO NOT read your document.

You will be briefly and convincingly trying to convey why this story is worth hearing. You should be able to do it in 5 minutes or less.

You don’t have to tell us everything about the person to pitch the story. Only the interesting bits.


Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 2 p.m. (in class).

Have your printed pitch document ready when you enter the room, and please do not come late.


About Mindy McAdams
I teach courses about digital journalism at the University of Florida. I love to travel. I ride a Vespa. You can find me on Twitter (@macloo).

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