Tweeting Shrimp

Tweeting Shrimp

IMG_7918-1Last week I wrote a post about chasing snapping shrimp down the Pacific Coast and sent it off into the internet-sphere. The whole piece/story/adventure revolved around a Radiolab podcast on the little crustaceans with the fire of the sun in their palm, so after I wrote it I shot a copy Radiolab’s way just for fun.


I love Radiolab. In a world where most science reporting is more about the controversy and who said what about something than on the basic facts and merits of the matter Radiolab brings a sense of wonder to the genre. They tell their stories with nuance and complexity, allowing the pieces of this world that are amazing to stand on their own. (If you want one of the best examples, check out their story The Rhino Hunter, one of the most stunning pieces on the complexity of modern conservation I’ve ever heard.) I wait each week for the next episode to download; their success at telling longform stories in the Twitter Age is remarkable.

So it was nice to see their name tagged next to mine. YEAH!

Pitching Like Crazy

So I have a day job, but in the modern media environment I would feel remiss if I wasn’t pitching all the time too. A steady job is the surest way to lure yourself into obsolescence, I’m sure of it, so I always have a story or two headed to NHPR or somewhere else.

Lately, however, I’ve been trying to pitch elsewhere, and to some big names. I’ve sent a few things into the New York Times over the years, never with success, but I’m trying a little harder lately. I’ve also been talking with an editor at the Boston Globe, which at least has some regional connection. I also had a brief chat with NPR, for whom I’ve done production work but not done stories. I’ve also got something lined up for PRI’s The World, so hopefully that’ll go.

It sucks to get told no, or to hear nothing back at all, but I figure the only way to get in there is to pepper them with stories until one lands on an editor’s desk they can’t refuse. I’ve got a few good ones out right now, and when I get shut down by one person I turn around, tweak it and send it on to someone else.

I’ve already got tickets to California for a story I’m determined to sell, so that one better land somewhere. I’m also arranging to go to Peru for another, so that one better not strike out either. But no matter what, I’m a veritable pitching machine. If you get an email from me don’t be surprised if the subject line says, “Article Query.”


This story aired the other day, and I didn’t get around to posting it. A few minutes in there is a guy who is a lobbyist for the cement industry who talks about the tiny amounts of the pollutants released by burning hazardous wastes in cement kilns. He actually lives in New Hampshire, and that sound bite was my first ever work to appear on NPR. So that’s cool. It’s not a whole story, but I still posted a photo of the check when it came. Hopefully there are more of those in my future…

The whole series by the way, Poisoned Places, is really cool. I love it when broadcasters go investigative. The subtitle Toxic Air, Neglected Communities, made me think of covering Berlin. Few people want to dig into industrialization’s downside.