Many fiction writers choose journalism for the profession of their main character.
After all, journalists make good narrators, and they are often where the action is.
Below are a few of my favorite fictional journalists, who inspire me with their talent, wit and sense of adventure—along with guidance on how to approach them with a pitch.
- Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher
From the 1985 movie “Fletch.”
Everyone’s favorite undercover journalist, Fletch spars with everyone from his editor to a millionaire bigamist to a corrupt police chief to get the story. All while spewing sarcasm and wearing clever disguises.
How to pitch: When you call with your pitch, lead with, “You probably wouldn’t be interested in this story anyway.”
- Lois Lane
From the “Superman” comic books, movies, and TV series. She first appeared in 1938.
A journalist for the Metropolis newspaper the Daily Planet, Lane’s work routinely makes the front page. She’s ambitious, impulsive and will do anything for a scoop.
How to pitch: Tell her you want to pitch your idea in person, and ask her to meet you someplace dangerous, such as an abandoned amusement park or the old water treatment plant.
- The Lone Gunmen
From the 1990s TV show “The X-Files”
A group of three government watchdogs/computer hackers, the Lone Gunmen publish a counterculture newspaper called The Lone Gunman. One of the three (John Byers) once worked in PR for the Federal Communications Commission. Though not exactly journalists, the Lone Gunmen are thorough in their research and reach a broad audience.
How to pitch: Bring a paranormal element into your story, and ask for their help in “getting to the bottom of it.”
- Phil Connors
From the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day”
Phil Connors is a quintessential jerk of a newscaster (or, in Connors’ case, meteorologist). He’s dismissive of his co-workers and disdainful of his work, yet he expects everyone to admire him because of his status. His reporting is banal and forced. Perhaps he should give up journalism pursue a career in IT.
How to pitch: Tell him you need a celebrity to bring your story to life. Whatever you do, don’t mention Punxsutawney Phil.
- Hildy Johnson
From the 1940 movie “His Girl Friday”
Rather than be distracted by her imminent wedding, Johnson—goaded by her conniving editor/ex-husband Walter Burns—goes after a story that will clear a man sentenced to hang for murder. Her pursuit of front-page glory includes bribery, blackmail and harboring a fugitive. You can’t help but admire her tenacity and focus.
How to pitch: Pitch your story in a way that appeals to her sense of urgency, such as, “I can’t guarantee that someone else won’t come along and run with story.”
- Rita Skeeter
From the Harry Potter series.
Written to be one of the most unscrupulous and inaccurate journalists in history, Skeeter is not even a great writer. She uses far too many adverbs.
How to pitch: Appeal to her ego, “You’re the only one who can help us break this story.”
How about it, PR Daily readers? Who are your favorite fictional journalists? How would you appeal to them?
Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor and a regular contributor to PR Daily. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.