Making Contact Call for Pitches

From the good people at Making Contact. Pitch away! -mia

Hi Freelancers,

Making Contact is an award-winning, 29-minute weekly magazine/documentary-style public affairs program heard on 140 radio stations in the USA, Canada, South Africa and Ireland.
Showcasing voices and perspectives rarely heard in mainstream media, Making Contact focuses on the human realities of politics and the connections between local and global events, emphasizing positive and creative ways to solve problems.

We are seeking pitches for some specific themes for the first part of 2013. Please scroll down for more detail on each theme.

1. Collective Bargaining and “Right to Work”

2. Domestic Use of Drones
3. Reproductive Health and Justice

4. Transit Justice
5. LGBTQ Healthcare Issues

1. Collective Bargaining and “Right to Work”

What is collective bargaining, anyway? Fights over collective bargaining in Wisconsin and Ohio have hit the front pages over the past couple of years.  But what are we actually talking about—do Americans understand? The same goes for “Right to Work”—another phrase tossed around all the time in stories about unions.  What does it mean?

We are seeking sound-rich pieces that ‘show’ the audience, through story telling, what ‘collective bargaining’ and ‘right to work’ are and how they function (or don’t function, depending on who you ask). We are not seeking academics, or even union leaders, to explain these concepts.  Instead, these stories might take us through an ongoing labor struggle (or perhaps one that you have archival tape from) which makes these concepts clearly understandable.  Or we might follow a worker as he or she transitions from a union to non-union job (or vice-versa) and starts experiencing the difference.  Think creatively. Also note: by making clear why people support ‘collective bargaining’ or ‘right to work’, we also want to make clear why others are in opposition.

2. The Domestic Use of Drones

We already have a piece in the works from Alameda County, CA, where the sheriff wants drones and is facing resistance from the community.  It will deal with the surveillance of protesters, and the ‘slippery slope’ between what law enforcement agencies say they want to use drones for, and what they could potentially be used for in the future. We are looking for stories that take on other angles in regard to drones being used on US soil.  Some possibilities:

– Drones near the US/Mexico border

– The potential usage of armed drones in the US

– Ways in which local communities have successfully organized to change local government’s drone policy, or to force them to create such a policy

3. Reproductive Health and Justice

We’re looking for stories that find the human dimension in policy-heavy battles for access to birth control, abortion and the economic resources needed to choose to bear and raise a child.  We especially want to explore the specific impact of reproductive health access on women of color and young women–people most affected by public policy debates that often don’t include them. We are not looking for a specific format or angle, but some possibilities are:

– “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”: their genesis and history, which neighborhoods are they most prevalent in, and their connection to larger political movements.
– Hormonal birth control and the role of the large pharmaceutical companies in the development and promotion of certain methods over others. Natural methods of birth control/fertility awareness–what are the structures and obstacles to that?
– How is the Affordable Care Act, and various state’s responses/revisions to health reform, affecting women’s access to reproductive healthcare?
– How do women resist restrictions of access to reproductive health services and abortion? Before Roe v. Wade, the Jane Collective created a safe, underground abortion network for women in Chicago. What alternatives exist currently for women/girls who lack access to safe, legal abortion?

4. Transit Justice

Issues relating to public transportation policy intersect with issues of economic inequity, air quality/climate change, race and regional demographics, mobility, age and gender.
We're looking for stories that examine systems and structures together with individual characters/community members and how their lives are affected by their region's transit policies.

Possible themes:

– Urban organizing around transit justice–eg: On the Move/Boston, Portland OPAL’s Bus Riders Unite/Portland, Bus Riders Union/Los Angeles
– Challenging “car culture” in urban communities of color

– Coalition-building between transit users and transit workers

5. LGBTT2IQQ Healthcare

We’re looking for pitches about healthcare issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, inter-sex, queer and/or questioning people (LGBTT2IQQ). We’d like to hear how the current healthcare sector does, or doesn’t meet LGBTT2IQQ needs, and alternative models that are being tried, perhaps outside the mainstream medical system. Some possible ideas:

– The campaign against "therapy" that claims to "convert" people’s sexual orientation. In California, a bill banning this kind of practice was signed into law but blocked by an appeals court.
– Struggles for healthcare equality in health plans

– Access to LGBTT2IQQ appropriate healthcare in rural and poorer areas.

This call for pitches is for segments of about 8 minutes, but we also occasionally take longer pieces (12 or 26 minutes). For shorter pieces we generally pay about $300 per story, depending on the producer’s experience. As with any pitches you send us, please check out our show and read our guidelines before you pitch.

Consider the following. Does the story:

  • Link grassroots issues and human realities to national or international trends?

  • Give listeners a historical, political, or social context of major national and international events?
  • Shed light on social and economic inequities?
  • Explore any alternatives or solutions?

Send pitches to Please be detailed but succinct, and include a description of your idea, narrative/story arc, interview subjects, scenes, and sounds/ambi. If you’re pitching to us for the first time, please include a brief bio and relevant audio clips.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Jen Chien, Andrew Stelzer & George Lavender

Making Contact producers

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