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How to Turn a Local Story into a National Story

The difference between local news and national news has become increasingly blurred. Where once it was about geography, now it comes down to numbers – if enough people in enough parts of the country want to read about your town, you’ve got a national story. Achieving that reach is just a matter of packaging.

Seek Commonality

A national story reaches a broad audience, not only in number but demographics. Thus for a story to have extensive reach it must have appeal across age group, race, and interest.

Look for aspects of your story that transcend geography, culture, and lifestyle. Find a reason for people to care about it, no matter where they live, and make that the center of your pitch.

Tie your Story to a Larger One

National stories about hot-button issues or controversies will often use local stories as salient anecdotes. This humanizes what would otherwise seem abstract and too big to grasp. For example, a story about a hurricane that displaced thousands will often begin with one person or family’s experience.

Do Your Homework

There’s more to a news pitch than the quality of your piece. The media has to be selective at every level, and good stories get rejected all the time. As with anything else, you have to be patient and realize that you’re competing with a great number of people doing exactly the same thing as you. This situation therefore demands extremely meticulous due diligence. Use connections, do significant background research on your pitch targets, and know the audience. Sell your piece on its carefully selected merits, and your local story could very well achieve national exposure.

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