University Marketing & Communications

November 30, 2017

Pitching stories to the UMAC Editorial Board: Q&A

Jamie Swenson

The UMAC Editorial Board would like to invite you to pitch up to three of the best stories that your unit plans to publish in the next four to six weeks.

We meet twice a month to discuss all the pitches we’ve received and where they might fit on our communications platforms.

Who’s on the Editorial Board?
Representatives from UW News, Columns Magazine, the UW Alumni Association (UWAA) and the UMAC Content, Web, Campaign and Internal Communications teams.

How has your strategy changed?
Two years ago, UMAC had a team of writers hungry to track down story ideas and write them ourselves. Today we have less time to devote to that hunt, but we know you’re creating all kinds of fantastic content yourselves. The Editorial Board wants to support those efforts.

What type of pitch are you looking for?
We’re looking for pieces you’ve already published or are prepping for publication in the next four to six weeks. The Editorial Board may be able to promote your content through the following channels:

  • UW home page: main slider, three tiles and fun facts
  • Columns Magazine
  • Social media
  • Campaign newsletter and website
  • UW Insider and other internal communications
  • UWAA newsletters, websites and social media platforms

What does a successful story pitch look like?
Say goodbye to the old pitch form! The Editorial Board now accepts pitches by email on a rolling basis. Please send a one-paragraph summary of your story to Jamie Swenson. Be sure to include any time sensitivity (e.g., the content relates to a specific conference, holiday or other event) and your expected publication date. If you have a target audience or platform, please let us know.

Here’s an example of a strong pitch from Chelsea Yates in the College of Engineering:

Aiming for the STARS

First STARS students graduate with engineering degrees

UW College of Engineering’s STARS academic redshirt program is graduating its first students! Launched in 2013, the STARS program is designed to increase the number of students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds who graduate with UW engineering degrees by providing them with extra academic support, community, mentoring and funding. While at the UW, STARS students participate in a “redshirt” year their first year during which they develop study skills and deepen their foundation in math and science to help them succeed in their engineering studies. Because of this redshirt year, STARS students typically spend five years at the UW. However, there are four students who have completed the program — and their engineering degrees — in four years. This is extra-cool because the students are all women and are majoring in different engineering fields. The story will include interviews with each student about why she chose to study engineering, how STARS impacted her UW experience and what she plans to do next. UW photographer Mark Stone is working with me on photos of the 4 students.

Expected publication date: 5/29

What happens after I pitch?
The Editorial Board will discuss all story ideas submitted since our last meeting and decide what we can share through which channels. We will follow up with everyone individually about next steps.

Thank you! We look forward to partnering with you to share the remarkable work being done across the University of Washington.

Note: This is an updated version of a July 2017 post.