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How to pitch your story to 5 On Your Side

You can talk with News Director Art Holliday on stories you would like us to cover.

ST. LOUIS — By now you may have seen my 30-second promo where I invite you to write to the news director at 5 On Your Side. We genuinely want to find out what’s important to our viewers. So far, there have been some interesting suggestions, like doing a story about creating a more regional approach to the homeless problem. The point is, we want to hear from you because some of the ideas we get from viewers are quite good.

How do you pitch a story to KSDK? As the video message states, my email address is newsdirector@ksdk.com. You can email me, and I’ll consider your pitch, discuss it with our news managers, and decide whether to pursue it. It doesn’t mean we’ll do every story pitch, but we will do some of them. We need your help to reflect our entire community.

Let’s begin with the basic information we need while deciding whether to pursue telling the story you pitch: the who, what, when, where, why, what does it look like, and what’s next:

-What is your full name, phone number and email address?

-What is the story is about?

-Why does the story matter?

-Who is affected by the story?

-If it’s an event, when and where does it take place?

-What happens next?

-It’s television, so we always need to know what the story will look like… tell us about the video opportunities. Will someone be doing something that we can videotape? Are there photos, home video, or other media?

-Give us advance notice. A recent story pitch was interesting, but the main activity, young people on flight simulators, was already over and the only thing left to shoot was the graduation ceremony.

If you supply that information and make a compelling pitch, we may cover your story.

What else are we looking for?

We’re looking for compelling stories and interesting people throughout the St. Louis region in Missouri and Illinois. It could be a serious story; it could be a story about someone needing help; it could be a story about a person or organization making a positive difference or solving a problem; or people doing something cool or interesting.

Here are a couple of other things you may not know about 5 On Your Side.

I was recruited by my bosses to become news director to help steer our coverage toward inclusive journalism. Our region is quite diverse, whether you’re talking about race and ethnicity, zip code, politics, ability and disability, gender, income, activism, and sexual identity and orientation. If you don’t see yourself or your perspective represented on our newscasts, let us know your point of view. 

Our goal is for our news to consistently reflect our entire community. We are looking for opportunities to go to regions beyond St. Louis city and county and include more underrepresented voices.

Our parent company TEGNA is accelerating its pace of diversity and inclusion in hiring, advancement, management training, and storytelling. Behind the scenes, KSDK’s entire staff has taken multiple sessions of inclusive journalism training. We have begun internal audits of our television and digital news to hold ourselves accountable. We have a diverse Community Advisory Board of influencers who have been encouraged to provide input about our news coverage. Our challenge statement to the 5 On Your Side staff is this: Did your work today reflect the diversity of the St. Louis region?

Which brings us back to my promo providing my email address, so you can tell me what’s on your mind…and pitch your story!


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