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Pitch Letter

Pitch LetterPitch letters are short introductions to a story that you would like a journalist to cover. They’re teasers. You should use them to pique a journalist’s interest. Pitch letters should explain why you want them to cover this story, why they need to read this press release, or why they really need to interview you about this topic.

Unlike press releases or media advisories, there are no hard-and-fast rules for pitch letters. Many are rather formal letters, others are tongue-in-cheek lists, such as “Top 10 Reasons You Should . . .” The one hard and fast rule regarding pitch letters is that they must be short—absolutely no more than a page—and it’s best to keep in mind that their intent is not to give the full picture, but an interesting glimpse.

Sample Pitch Letter

Dear Journalist,

During difficult economic times like these, more and more Americans flock to their local libraries. Libraries offer tools that help people get back on their feet—access to information for searching for jobs and small business opportunities, free access to the Internet and e-mail, as well as free access to recreational materials. Yet libraries in (CITY, STATE) and the nation are experiencing the deepest cuts in a decade.

On January 23, thousands of librarians from around the U.S. gathered in Philadelphia to launch “The Campaign To Save America’s Libraries.” We expect to do four national rallies, a 15-city radio campaign, and meet with many editorial boards around the country through the spring. During National Library Week, April 6-12, 2003, “The Campaign To Save America’s Libraries” will surface in every major American city. Our spokespeople will be available to talk about any one of the following topics:

  • The Campaign—budget cuts and lack of funding in libraries
  • Pay equity for librarians—Everyone loves librarians, but librarians can’t live on love alone
  • Patriot Act—an act that allows the FBI to come to libraries without search warrants to track what patrons read and what Web sites they surf
  • CIPA, the Children’s Internet Protection Act, a case decided in federal court in Philadelphia, now before the Supreme Court.

To arrange an interview with someone from the American Library Association to talk about what is happening to libraries in your community, please contact YOUR NAME at PHONE NUMBER.

Excerpted from the American Library Association’s A Communications Handbook for Libraries, published in Summer of 2004. To see A Communications Handbook for Libraries in full, please visit: http://www.ala.org/ala/pio/availablepiomat/online_comm_handbook.pdf.

  • Montana State Library
  • P.O. Box 201800, 1515 East 6th Avenue
  • Helena, MT 59620-1800
  • Phone: (406) 444-3115
  • Fax: (406) 444-0266
  • msl.mt.gov