I quit my job to make it on my own. Now what?
On this Friday, a little bird dropped off the 21st edition of Missed Pitches.
Have you quit your job recently to spend your time better in things you love?
It seems to be a thing, as Kevin Roose pointed out in his most recent New York Times story about the new “YOLO economy” spurred by a pandemic year. Roose’s reporting appears to focus on a segment of young workers who are bored and flush with cash and eager to pursue other more risky endeavors.
The reality is that many others have left their jobs out of sheer burnout, loss, despair, or simply to save their own sanity.
If you’re among those who quit your job for the sake of exhaustion and mental health, I want to hear from you. I think this could make a very interesting reported piece for this newsletter. Shoot me an email at email@example.com or DM me on Twitter if you’d like to talk to me about your experience.
Journalists under assault | The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is seeking journalists who have been arrested, assaulted, tear gassed or had equipment damaged or seized in the course of reporting. They may be able to help.
**Shout out to my co-editor Abigail Geiger for helping putting together this edition of Missed Pitches.
If you have any rejected pitches that you’d like to volunteer for this newsletter, send it over using this Google Form. Give me a follow on Twitter at @MissedPitches for updates and shout-outs. Support this newsletter; buy me a cup of coffee! // rungomez
The nipple pasty is here to stay (by Renée Reizman)
Only LeVar Burton can replace Alex Trebek (by Jody M Amable)
The divisive battle over one South African lake (by Jaco Prinsloo)
Black and out of place at an HBCU (by Hailey Johnson)
Made-to-fade tattoos is the new fashion tattoo (by Emma Banks)
Best of freelance Twitter
NOTE: The following rejected story pitches have been lightly edited for space and clarity.
The nipple pasty is here to stay (by Renée Reizman, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The nipple pasty has had a long evolution, from modest covering to bold fashion statement. In art history, nipples have been obscured with flowers, flora, and fruit, and fashion has innovated and iterated these symbols into a decorative accessory.
The piece considers how breasts have been painted openly in art history, especially via the goddess Venus, but contemporary modesty regulations—in fields of advertising, photography, media, and the web—require female nipples to be hidden. Flowers became a popular way to get around censorship while still emphasizing the femininity of what breasts represent, and now in fashion, this circumvention of censorship can be more transgressive than going braless.
Dancers, sex workers, high fashion, and music cultures are among those that have given the pasty a new, stylish life. The modern nipple pasty can be glamorously bejeweled, (for an example, look at the ones Cardi B brilliantly wears in her Hustlers cameo,) or simply duct-taped into an X of defiance. As fashion basics at raves and music festivals, they take the forms of marijuana leaves, reflective alien faces, and iridescent crosses. Some even artfully adhere real flower petals to their breasts. If modesty standards don’t change, the nipple pasty is here to stay.
Only LeVar Burton can replace Alex Trebek (by Jody M Amable, email@example.com)
I’ve been feeling very protective of Alex Trebek these last few months.
Jeopardy was a huge deal in my family, so I got kind of annoyed when, after his passing, I saw others expressing love for him. I know it’s not true, but I can’t make myself believe anyone loves him like my grandparents and cousins did. And now, as people throw around names for a replacement host, I believe there is only one that could make the Amables proud.
Long-running champ Ken Jennings kicked off a slate of interim hosts a few weeks ago. Fans on social media have reacted with, at best, a lukewarm enthusiasm to most of the options presented, and at worst, all-caps anger. Instead, they’ve been pushing for someone whose name, as far as I know, hasn't ever been mentioned by staff: LeVar Burton.
The push for LeVar Burton shows a lot of others seem to be protective of Alex’s legacy, too. Fans have rallied around him, starting a petition and constantly haranguing the Jeopardy social team about it. True, the guest hosts thus far have stage presence, but they're missing something. Through years of iconic roles and gigs, we know LeVar has the charisma to carry a show, plus the warmth that made Alex so loved. Through both examples from his career and pure personal opinion, I’d love to detail why LeVar Burton is the only way for this series to survive.
The divisive battle over one South African lake (by Jaco Prinsloo, firstname.lastname@example.org)
In January, two bulldozers carved a gaping trench in the beach at the St Lucia Estuary lake, South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Conservationists and ecologists were outraged, charging that the mechanical breach of the lake jeopardized a decade-long project to restore natural functionality to the estuary, after 60 years of human interference had decimated one of the country’s ecological jewels, and that local interests had hijacked the process. But the local community were overjoyed, and at least one respected scientist has said that it was the only way to save one of South Africa’s most important fish nurseries, and perhaps also the biodiversity of its entire east coast.
I’d like to propose a reported story (1200 - 1500 words) about the divisive battle over the St Lucia Estuary.
Black and out of place at an HBCU (by Hailey Johnson, email@example.com)
For many black students, going to a predominantly white institution, or PWI, can bring the feeling of being out-of-place as these schools are predominately white. With this, many go to historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCU, to feel a sense of community where they are not the only student of color in their classes.
However, as I study this semester at Emerson College, where I am a student, and at Howard University, where I am an exchange student, I feel out of place at both.
This essay would explore the differences between the two colleges (from discussions on race, where at a PWI, students will say that “the police brutality last summer was bad, but did not upset them” while at an HBCU, this same discussion will provoke tears.) I will also talk about why I feel out of place at both. I grew up being called an “oreo” — a term thrown at black people who are deemed Black on the outside white on the inside — and because of this, I do not feel as though I fit in at my HBCU. But I’m also too black for a PWI.
Made-to-fade tattoos is the new fashion tattoo (by Emma Banks, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A new “made-to-fade” tattoo studio is changing our ideas about ink. The gap between conventional tattoos and temporary ones seems astronomical, but Ephemeral, the new “made-to-fade” tattoo company, wants to fill it.
Using an engineered ink that purposefully fades after 6-12 months, Ephemeral's founding team — which is made up of men of color raised in traditional households, where tattoos were expressly forbidden — hopes to insert some inclusivity into a typically unwelcoming industry.
Ephemeral ink is applied by certified artists in the same way as traditional tattoos and made from FDA-approved materials that are medical grade, bioabsorbable, and biocompatible polymers. Over time, the ink particles become small enough to be removed by the body.
For this story, I would speak with some of the founders of Ephemeral as well as tattoo veterans who may — or may not — welcome this change to their industry.
MUD/WTR - Pitch stories related to psychedelics, mental health, adventure and humor to Elizabeth Limbach at email@example.com
Chapterz Magazine - The magazine is seeking pitches from young/Black/LGBTQ+ people about tech, including opinion pieces on the future of tech, accessibility and inclusion in tech. Pitch to Rachel Datey at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jewish Currents - Pitch reports, analysis, features, investigations related to Jewish culture to Nora Caplan-Bricker at email@example.com
British Journal of Healthcare Management - Pitch stories about health geared for an academic journal to Isobel Clough at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wild Hunt - Pitch stories about African Diasporic traditions; work from Indigenous writers interfacing with Paganism; travel writing; "Kitchen Witch" cooking articles with lots of personality; or simply explainer pieces on Gaianism, Brujera, and Minoan Paganism to Eric Scott at email@example.com
Best of Freelance Twitter
NOTE: This space is dedicated to featuring one worthy Twitter account that provides an invaluable service to the freelance community.
via @KaleighRogers (April 20): Writers! It's a great week to pitch us @FiveThirtyEight! We have a thorough pitching guide (including rates!) and would love to hear from you. My DMs are also open if you have any questions/want to bounce around some ideas.
via @janetfreynolds (April 21):Wearing my freelance editor hat right now. @different_leaf is looking for #freelance #writers for our quarterly #cannabis magazine. Interested in tossing your name into the hat? Have ideas? Pitch at the link.
via @lisquart (April 19): Report for @econhardship on California poverty and inequality and wealth. Or propose a personal essay or photo essay on said subjects. You can send me pitches: we are looking to support.
via @amakastudio (April 20): Submissions are now open for our fashion & beauty section! Raising hands Pitch us a story via firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions must be in the form of pitches, rather than pre-written stories.
Future Founders is hiring a Content Writer - Remote
National Hockey Now Network is hiring Beat Writers in local markets - Dallas, Washington, Minnesota, Seattle, Toronto, Montreal, Buffalo, and New Jersey
Footnote is hiring Assistant Editors - Washington, D.C., Boston
Digital Pathways is hiring a Writer - England
The Desert Sun is hiring a News Editor - Palm Springs