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How did your life collide with the headlines in 2007?
Iraq, the subprime crisis, Facebook, immigration, oil prices - 2007 had no shortage of hefty headlines. We'd like to hear about how these and other major news events of the past year affected you. Where did your life collide with the news in 2007?

What's your holiday performance story?
The office talent show, the neighborhood caroling posse, the school pageant ... At holiday time we often sing, dance, and dress as shepherds. Did you bloom in the warmth of your audience's adulation, or freeze up like the snowman you'd rather be building? Did your holiday performance change your life or that of someone close to you?

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Weekend America Story Competition Story Guidelines

Weekend America is the place for Independent Producers' work. We want to hear your narrative pieces, sound-rich features, stories from your region of the country and unusual characters you've come to know. We're interested in 3 to 9 minute pieces in your own unique narrative style.

What makes an ideal Weekend America story? Stories that bring listeners one or more of these characteristics:
  1. An element of surprise.
  2. Soul and intimacy. or what we like to call "soul-timacy."
  3. A great story telling moment.
  4. The ripple effects of an event on people.
  5. An attempt to pick apart assumed knowledge, or "PAAK."
  6. The ability to hear the faces in a story.
  7. A point!
  8. Reflects America.
  9. Permits audience participation in the storytelling.
  10. Is just plain fun.
Since its launch in October 2004, forty percent of Weekend America's content has been commissioned from Independent Producers.

Pitch Your Story

Weekend America's producers need your insights, observations and journalistic story-telling skills to enable the program to cover all corners, philosophies, events, diverse personalities and cultures found in America.

Weekend America aspires to be a different kind of public radio program. What we want from independent producers is stylistically different than what you may pitch or produce for other public radio programs. We do want the same serious, thoughtful and in depth story-telling, but we're looking for styles that fit in with our weekend companion sensibility - a style that matches the energy of our program and our hosts.

When pitching, succinctly describe the idea or story in 4-5 sentences. Give us the most salient and engaging talking points. We want to know what the gist of the story is and why we should be interested in hearing it. Use language that leaps off the page, engages and provides a sense of what the piece will sound like. Use a teaser that will command our attention from the very first sentence. Yes, it is critical to have a good idea, a good story and someone good to tell it. But if you can't say it in the pitch, then chances are you won't be able to say it in the piece itself.

Suggest how you wish to approach the story. Is this a first person narrative with the subject of the piece? Is it a reporter-narrated piece with interview clips? A spin-and-chat with our hosts (i.e. host interviews reporter; reporter plays tape as a DJ might spin records)? An interview? Is this a sound rich piece? What is that sound? Tell us about the central characters - the talent (e.g. narrator, interviewee) who will bring the story to life. Keep in mind that Weekend America is not a news program and rarely uses the straight, NPR-type reporter pieces. If you are not sure how best to tell the story, then we will help you figure that out.

What Are We Interested In?

Weekend America is designed to fit the sensibility and lifestyle of midday and afternoon listeners on Saturday. It is a weekend companion that is friendly, relaxed, intimate and conversational -- but also smart, informative, substantive, relevant, alive, fun and sometimes offbeat and quirky.

Virtually all subject areas are fair game -- current events, public affairs, human interest, arts and entertainment, culture, pop culture, music, live events, recommendations and tips, consumer and environmental issues, science, medicine, technology, literature, sports, fitness, outdoor adventures, travel, food and libations, and more. Weekend America is not a news show, but it will have news. It is not an arts magazine, but it will have arts. It is not about any one thing.

We are interested in "one-off" stories, mini-series, and regularly recurring segments on a theme or subject (e.g. science). We are also interested in works-in-progress, previewing works, going backstage or behind the scenes, going center stage, eavesdropping, hearing commentaries, satire, humor, sound montages and soundscapes, short stories, and mini-dramas.

To become more familiar with the sound and style of Weekend America you can listen to previous shows, either online, by podcast or call us. We'll send you a CD.

Weekend America's producers will respond to all pitches within 2 weeks. In the case of responses to series callouts, expect responses two weeks after the closing date.

Enter the story competition...

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