23/6/2014 (The Kiwi/Kerry Connection)
This part of the process was a learning experience and there’s a lot to tell. I’ve been working on a project recently to build a connection between the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve (I.D. S.R.) in Ireland and the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand. Earth and Sky Observatory, home of the New Zealand reserve, who I work for, sent a gift to Kerry to establish a connection between the two gold tier status locations.
I wanted to get a few articles published about it all and my aim was to get an article published in a national newspaper and a regional newspaper in Ireland. I also wanted to get three articles published here in New Zealand.
I’ve had three articles published in print and several published online in the past, so I’m quite new to this part of the writing process. I sent a pitch to the editor of The Kerryman newspaper in Ireland and spoke to him on the phone. He was interested in reading the article itself and so I sent that to him the following evening. The maximum word count was 400 words, which was only a short article.
It took two weeks to get a reply. My intention was that Earth and Sky would send the gift to Kerry but to keep the gift as a surprise until they opened it. I wanted to get an article published in at least one of the newspapers to build up the anticipation in the press over in Ireland. So I was on a deadline myself to get the article published before they received the gift.
I also sent a pitch for a different article to The Irish Independent, one of the national newspapers in Ireland. It took a while too for them to get back to me. I had a timeframe of two weeks to get a reply and so my options were to either chase them or just let it ride and maybe neither of them would reply to me at all. So I chased both newspapers to try and get an answer. I did send out pitches to one or two other newspapers with varying responses. The Irish Times newspaper said they would be interested in publishing an article about this project after the official opening ceremony of the gift.
I got an email from The Irish Independent after two weeks to say that they had already published an article on this topic in their newspaper that week under another reporter’s name. It was a remarkable coincidence though that most of the text and quotations used in this article were the same as in the article I sent them!
The good news though was that the editor of The Kerryman newspaper said he would publish the article I had sent him. So I was very happy about that. True to his word, he did publish it (albeit a slightly edited version) and it appeared with my name at the top in The Kerryman newsapaper in print and on the digital version on the 2nd April. So I did achieve my aim of getting two articles published in Ireland, even though it wasn’t exactly how I planned it.