Pitch clinic: week 7

I am reviewing pitches sent by freelancers. As a reminder, if you want to send one my way to get feedback, please email jessica dot reed at theguardian dot com with the subject PITCH CLINIC. Or write it here on Medium and tag it #PITCHCLINIC. Your submission will remain anonymous.


Hi Jessica,

In a psychiatric hospital in Buenos Aires, conversations between patients and therapists are far from confidential. Instead, every Saturday these conversations are broadcast through the airwaves as part of the first and largest radio program run from inside a psychiatric ward.

What a great first paragraph. You set the scene, tell me why it’s unique, and make me want to keep on reading.

For 25 years, La Colifata, meaning “crazy lady” in Argentine slang, has bridged the gap between mental health patients and Argentine society. Since then, more than 50 radio stations from Europe to Asia have replicated the Radio Colifata model.


Mental health patients are often pushed to the fringes of society, but Radio Colifata allows them to share their stories on their own terms. In turn, Argentines can understand mental illness by catching a glimpse of life inside Hospital Borda. Listeners are often shocked by patients’ ability to clearly and coherently articulate their emotions and challenges.

I would focus on one patient who has benefitted from the program to tell this story and would also bring in other voices from experts and listeners. I have spoken to the program director to ensure that it’s possible to attend a live recording at the hospital and interview the participants.

So you did your homework, talked to people, and probably will have access? Great.

I am a freelance journalist based in Buenos Aires and I cover Latin American politics and culture for publications including LA Times and BBC. I would love to work with The Guardian on this piece and I look forward to hearing back from you.



What I liked about this pitch: It’s a good story.

What I didn’t like about this pitch: I wish you would tell me more about the patient you want to focus on. I assume you met him already? Is he still there? Is it happy to be identified?

Would I publish: Possibly. The pitch did ring a bell, and I realised I heard this story before on a French radio show, of all places. I then googled it, and the NYT did it in 1996. The Atlantic in 2012. You need to truly convince me we can do it better, or differently. Email me?

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.