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How to Pitch Queen City Nerve

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At Queen City Nerve, we pride ourselves on being a community newspaper, which doesn’t just mean reporting on stories important to our neighbors, but inviting them to write for us, too.

You don’t need journalism experience, just a keen interest in community issues and a willingness to work with our editors to tell those stories. (Of course, we welcome seasoned journalists, as well!) 

Queen City Nerve reports on news issues including activism, local government, policing, small business, housing and homelessness — with a strong focus on issues that impact communities that all too often go ignored or unheard.

We are also just as serious about our coverage of local arts, music, culture, food and the like. All we ask is that any story idea be timely, well thought out and based in or around the Charlotte area. 

We welcome pitches for reported feature stories, Q&As, quick online write-ups and event previews. Our story payments range from $50 to $100 based on length of the story, a writer’s experience and other factors.

Disclaimer: In most instances we do not pay for op-ed column submissions.

We recently launched a Black Journalism Fund, which uses all profits from the release of our book Legacy: Three Centuries of Black History in Charlotte, North Carolina to pay Black journalists who often go underrepresented in the media industry. 

We also encourage immigrants, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and women to pitch us.

If you haven’t worked with us before, here are a few pointers on how to craft a pitch and capture our attention:

  • Read our paper and website to get a sense of our voice and examples of stories that we cover.

  • Google your idea. See who else has covered it, and what new angle you can approach your coverage with. This should be included in your pitch.

  • Think local! Make sure your story highlights an issue or person that is based in the Charlotte area. This does not include traveling musicians who are playing at a Charlotte venue.

Never pitched before? Here’s an example of what we’re looking for:

PurposePitch
HeadlineNorth Charlotte Starbucks baristas fight for union. 
Who, What, When, WhereEmployees at Starbucks in north Charlotte’s Mallard Pointe shopping center have announced their intent to unionize, becoming the first Starbucks workers to do so in the Charlotte area.
WhyEmployees have made allegations of retaliatory dismissals for two employees who had discussed organizing, cultivation of a hazardous work environment, and employee mistreatment including misgendering and other transphobic behavior.
SourcesI will speak to employees who are organizing these efforts and inquire with management at the location for comment. I will also speak to labor organizers with the NC State AFL-CIO about obstacles to organizing in North Carolina.
Story typeThis story will be a reported story and be approximately 1,800 words. (This is meant as an estimate and doesn’t necessarily need to be figured out beforehand, as it can be discussed with the editor after pitch is received.)

Send your pitches to editor-in-chief Ryan Pitkin at rpitkin@qcnerve.com with the words “Story Pitch” in the subject line.