If you are interested in freelancing for Marketplace, please read through the following guidelines. Contact information is listed at the end.
If you’ve listened to our programming, you’ll probably be aware that we produce Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report, Marketplace Weekend and Marketplace Tech.
Marketplace is a half-hour business news show that airs after the stock market closes, or after the working day, depending on the station that carries it. Marketplace Morning Report is an approximately 10-minute business news show that airs at 10 minutes to the hour ahead of the working day. Marketplace Weekend is a personal finance show that runs about an hour and airs on the weekend. Marketplace Tech is a daily 4-minute show on technology and innovation. Please listen to all the shows. Listening will give you a better idea of how to direct your pitches. Listening to the shows will also give you a better feel for the Marketplace subject matter and style.
When listening, pay particular attention to the features filed by staff reporters. They provide the best examples of the Marketplace style. The more familiar you are with their work, the more naturally the Marketplace style will come to you when you write, and when you pitch.
And pitching is paramount. The more concise, direct and targeted the pitch, the more likely it is to be accepted. The first question the editors and producers ask when reading a pitch is: “What’s the story?” The second is: “Where’s the money?” First, tell us what the story is, and do it in a single sentence. For example, a successful pitch began: “New York public hospitals have banned giveaways by formula manufacturers because they want more mothers to breastfeed, and for longer.” Follow up with the money: “Breastfeeding is cheaper for mothers. Formula costs about $2,000 a year; a breast pump costs just $250. “Add some color: “The formula makers have come up with a smart marketing campaign. They package the giveaways with other useful new-mom supplies in special goody bags. Private hospitals still allow the goody bags, but health authorities and pressure groups are trying to discourage the practice. Public hospitals have their own goody bags, which include cold packs to keep breast milk fresh.”
Now top off the pitch with a brief sketch of how you’re going to get the story done. Include suggestions for interviews and locations. If you can peg the pitch to a certain event, include those details. When you’re done, you’ll have a short, concise paragraph that will tell us exactly what your story is, how it’s relevant to the Marketplace listener and how you plan to put it together.
It’s worth remembering that we do not use phone tape in our feature stories. Spots yes, features no. There are exceptions: If your subject is in Ulaan Bataar and has no landline, for example. But that’s the general rule. If you’re filing spots, we like the phone tape to be as clean as possible. That means no Skype tape and do your best to avoid cell. Use a landline whenever possible, please. These phone tape rules can govern whether you’re able to report a story. And that, of course, affects your pitching.
Send your pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for the submission of pitches is midday Wednesday each week. The pitches are discussed and either accepted or rejected in a producers and editors meeting. You will be told shortly thereafter whether your story has been assigned or needs more information.
Submission and pitching guidelines for Marketplace from American Public Media.