The Simple Way To This Assigning Editor’s Heart

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about whether to approve a writer’s pitch. It lacked one crucial element. If it had been present, it would have been a sure-fire win in my book.


If a writer’s pitch contains numbers that establish a trend, or establish that someone or something is worth a feature story, I am much more apt to approve the story. That’s because numbers are a near failsafe. Even if the story comes in under par, I know I’ll be able to rewrite it into something decent if there are numbers.

“Numbers” for me can mean a study (when I’m on the ball I’m apt to check a study’s size and methodology), or a conclusion that seems well established. Is a grocery store the only one of its kind in Brooklyn? I’d quiz the writer on how he or she knew.

Numbers could also represent change: a company’s growth, or a neighborhood’s development, for instance.

Numbers not only give me a feeling of security as an editor, they are a sign that a writer has put some effort into the pitch. That’s double security: I can rewrite the story if I have to, and it seems fairly unlikely that I will, because the writer is a professional.

Truthfully, I recognize that numbers are also a shortcut that writers and editors rely on too much, in lieu of the real analysis and reasoning. But a fact is a fact: In a week where I have a scant amount of time to make decisions about which pitches to approve, and which to delete, numbers often put one writer’s idea right over the top.




Powered by Disqus

Comments are closed.