Regardless of whether you’re pitching a feature, a shorter article or multimedia, there are things we look for when commissioning content.
Stories behind the headlines
The Cable aims to focus on ‘value-added’ reporting that gives the reader more than they’d find in the daily news cycle.
The personal experience is often the most important part of a piece. So whether you’re covering the impact of a service closure, a new council policy, or a new positive social project, make sure you find contacts to talk about how they are personally affected.
We want our content to speak to communities in Bristol, so ask yourself, why does your story matter and who does it matter to?
If you’re planning a great feature, ask yourself whether you could follow it up with an interview, an opinion, voice piece or follow-up on the same topic.
It’s all about Bristol!
We publish content with strong Bristol links – and don’t normally publish stories which do not have a local focus (although many stories may have wider – as well as local – relevance). If you’re questioning whether your idea is too tenuously linked to Bristol, it probably is.
We aim for the Cable to be interesting and relevant to a wide-ranging Bristol audience. Please bear in mind if covering a very technical or academic topic that you will need to demonstrate that you can make it accessible and relevant to a broad range of readers. Likewise, unpack any jargon or specialist language that you use.
It’s good to be a bit provocative! We’re interested in opinions that may challenge readers, so avoid preaching to the converted. Engage critically with your subjects.
When is good news, news?
There is loads of great initiatives happening across Bristol, from charities to social and community projects, and unfortunately we can’t cover them all. If you plan on covering a positive initiative in Bristol, please consider whether the project is doing something truly innovative or new that may have a wide impact on people in Bristol.
Also consider whether it’s a candidate for the print editions’ ‘Celebrating the city’ page, where we run shorter articles about interesting, positive initiatives.
Also please bear in mind that ‘people involved in the [national/international/somewhere else project] come from Bristol’ is not normally a strong enough hook for us to consider it as a topic for the Cable.
In general we are more interested in the human stories of the people who may benefit from, say, a certain social project, than the people running it.