Engaging local journalists in the cities we cover worldwide is a key element of Citiscope’s mission. If you’re a journalist and want to write for us about innovation in your city, here are some points to keep in mind before sending your pitch.
Citiscope is focused on telling stories about innovation — new ideas for improving cities and the well-being of the people who live in them. It’s also important to us to go back to the story later and follow up: How has the innovation worked out in practice — achievements, setbacks, shifts in focus?
We have a diverse global audience of local government, civic and neighborhood leaders, NGO officials and corporate executives looking to sell products and services to cities. But as a journalist, it’s most useful to think of our audience as the mayors (and other top officials) of the world’s cities. These people are increasingly eager to exchange ideas across borders. They want to know what works in other cities, no matter the country or continent. And when ideas are shown to work, they may move to adapt them in their home cities.While top city officials are your audience, we think it is important to show the impact on the lives of regular people. Whatever the innovation, we want to know how it is affecting (and hopefully improving) the lives of ordinary citizens. We want their voices in the story.
You might call what we’re doing “solutions journalism.” We won’t assign a story in the first place if we don’t think it represents something innovative that other cities can learn from. This may lend an optimistic tone to many of our stories — but we’re not looking for puff pieces, either. Journalists can report on innovation and still ask tough questions. We have a duty to look for proof that an idea works, and to show where it falls short. Not everyone has to look good in our stories. Above all, what Citiscope wants is an honest appraisal of the situation in one city so that other cities around the globe can learn from it.
If you have a story idea you’d like to discuss, send an email to managing editor Christopher Swope at firstname.lastname@example.org.