“A few weeks after my daughter was born we rushed her to hospital when she became unwell. It turned out she had a heart problem.
Thankfully after a few weeks when she almost died, she was well enough to return home but she might need further surgery in future. We would like to sell our story to raise awareness of heart conditions and to thank the hospital for everything they did. So we feel angry and very disappointed that although we have approached lots of newspapers and magazines with our story, no-one is interested!”
Alison says: One of the best things about journalism is being able to help someone to gain awareness of a cause or a charity.
However getting a story into a national newspaper, magazine or on TV is extremely competitive. Unfortunately there are literally thousands of illnesses and conditions – and equally as many charities (with fully staffed press offices) all trying to raise awareness for their causes – and it is impossible to print all of them.
Therefore stories need to have a unique angle to make them sell. A unique news angle might be if your daughter had some sort of brand new pioneering treatment that saved her life. Or for example, something could have been done to prevent this illness when you were pregnant that could alert other mums to be. Otherwise if there was some sort of negligence on behalf of the doctors or hospital, you have been denied life-saving drugs – or controversially, life saving treatment will only be available from abroad.
In the absence of these, stories can be saleable if they are topical. If, for example, a celebrity reveals her baby has suffered from a similar ailment. When Angelina Jolie underwent her double mastectomy, all papers suddenly wanted a similar real-life story. So this can be enough to get your story in.
There are of course a whole host of other details that can make a story placeable, which is why it is always worth running a story past us. However, having spoken with you at length, thankfully your story is more straightforward. Your daughter had a heart problem that no-one could have foreseen or prevented and she was given excellent care. She is now well, although will be monitored and might need further surgery in future.
So while as journalists we understand why you feel passionate about getting publicity for your story (don’t forget, many journalists can relate because of course they have families too!), this isn’t going to be a story that will sell right now. If the subject becomes topical though then it might well do in the future.
Read more: Gaining awareness for a charity or cause