By Luis Vieira, AAEA Member
A significant part of my career has been dedicated to international stories featured in media outlets from different countries. I’ll lay out some of the things that I believe helped me to consolidate as an international reporter with a specific focus in the agricultural sector.
The first thing to have in mind is not to be afraid of pitching these international stories. It is something that can be valid for every story, but always worth mentioning, especially if you think that sometimes selling international issues is challenging. Secondly, you would start pitching stories that you either have a very good angle considering your personal professional profile. In my case, I started that by offering my coverage about Brazil to a US newspaper with a strong international share of publications, but I noticed that they did not have a correspondent in Brazil. I was a good fit being an English-speaking Brazilian Journalist.
Remember, for all freelance pitches, editors will assess the potential interest of readers, but also the quality of your report. These are the reasons why I think that is key to justify that you have the best angle considering your profile and your story in mind, mostly if this is the first contact with the editor. An example can be a story about Italian sauces from the farm to the table. If you are an Italian descendent who travels frequently to Italy and visited many farms there already, then you have a good angle!
Another recommendation I’m happy to give is to keep a close eye on the countries you are interested in the most. By following the current trends and key people in that country, you probably will find the story that the audience of a specific media outlet wants to read. Always have at the tip of your tongue, the population number, the predominant religion, and the challenges they face, and what’s different from your audience. If you travel internationally, be sure to talk to a lot of people. In that case, you can benefit from traveling by leisure and telling the world what you have found there.
Even though most stories are local, what every reader/viewer wants to know is about what a human has done and it’s better if this story can be helpful, bringing some teachings. Therefore, pitching international stories is not very different from your local report printed in your paper. Give it a shot!
Luis Vieira is a Brazilian Journalist and has over 10 years of experience as an ag communicator. In the US, he has contributed with publications such as Successful Farming and Farm Equipment. He is also the host of the ConnectedFarmer YouTube channel. After living some years in Argentina, Luis moved to New Jersey, in the fall of 2021.