Your success is not a story

Please read this before pitching me.

The most common pitch I get goes something like this: Hi, I’m X, I think you should write about [how I or my company achieved some great success]. 

For instance, “How I went from 0 to X number of TikTok views,” or “How I build a million dollar business at 25,” or “How I built a great amazing company that is changing the world and making everyone’s life better in every way.”

These are not stories, they’re PR.

Unless your story ties into some larger cultural trend, or holds some type of important wider significance, I am not interested in covering it. And frankly, it’s not newsworthy. 

It’s my job to tell compelling stories that inform and reshape how people view the world. Stories without a larger narrative don’t travel and they’re a waste of both of our time. Look at how many Forbes Contributors out there post stories of people’s successes (often in exchange for money). They never resonate.

These stories aren’t interesting to readers primarily because they have no tension aside from the subject (who is only framed positively), overcoming some perceived obstacle. They pretty much always gloss over what’s really going on and they don’t leave the reader with any surprising revelations or tangible ideas to think about.

Just to be clear, I don’t want people to stop reaching out to me. I love when people introduce themselves or share a little bit about who they are and what they do. But, I’m much more likely to work with you if you reach out offering to help me, rather than ask for free promotion.

Flag an emerging new trend to me, send me a funny meme, give me a tip on a big breaking news story or trend. I love all of these things! You can always find me at taylor.lorenz@nytimes.com or on DM. Even if I can’t respond I try to read every message.

I’m also always here to help students or any young person with any questions about journalism, media, the NYT, whatever! Just don’t ask me to write a puff piece on your great success.

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