As part of the process of making my documentary I had to pitch my idea to my tutor and my second marker.

I had to come up with a 3 minute pitch, meeting various criteria, such as: who my target station and audience was, why my idea was original etc. This pitch will make up 15% of my final grade for the project.

The Pitch

Outline your idea:
Did you know that 1 in 10 people in the UK carry the bacteria which causes meningitis, and yet within young adults this increases to 1 in 4?  That means I am much more likely to contract a disease which typically kills 10% of its victims in the first 24-48 hours after the first symptom, than you are. A disease which until I started this project I had barely heard of, one which I thought only affected babies, and one which I certainly couldn’t name the symptoms of. And even if I survived I could end up with brain damage, I could lose an arm or a leg or my sight and hearing. In my 7 minute documentary I want to explore the devastating effects of this terrible disease, why young adults are at a greater risk, why more people don’t know about it, and what we can do to spot the signs and ultimately save lives.

How is it original and topical?
Meningitis only tends to pop up in the news for certain reasons: in local news, if someone dies in the area from meningitis and it makes the local paper, or during meningitis awareness week every September. But apart from that it’s not something which gets much coverage, and certainly not in documentary form, or on Radio 1. I think this subject will be topical as long as people continue to die from it.

How is the piece appropriate for the target audience/publication specifically, opposed to competitor programmes?
I want to focus my documentary around young adults, 15-19 year olds. This fits well with my proposed target station, Radio 1. In a recent report done by Newsbeat, it revealed that the station reaches 10.8 million listeners weekly, reaching 40% of all 17-24 year olds. I think this piece will fit well into their stories programmes, many of which are about health and lifestyle.

Potential interviewees:
Danny Sweatman = I am going home to interview Danny in November. His brother died during his first year at university in his halls from meningitis. We will discussing everything from the phone call which informed him of his brother’s death up until today and his campaigning for awareness of the disease.

Melanie Corney = Survivor who was misdiagnosed with gastroenteritis and was mistreated for 3 days until meningitis was detected. Her family and friends were told to say goodbye as her organs had begun shutting down. She now suffers from hearing problems and organ issues, and campaigns to raise awareness. I want her to talk me through her experience of having the disease. 26-years-old.

Meningitis Now = Leading UK charity. I want to find out what is already being done to raise awareness, support for grieving families.  I also want to chat to them about symptoms and how to look out for your friends and family members.

Medical professional = Talk to them about what the disease actually is, what it does to your body, why it’s so devastating. Also discuss the vaccinations available and the different types of meningitis.

Online elements and how they will appeal to the audience?
One of my main online elements will be a video diary of someone who hasn’t had the vaccine, leading up from them talking about why they want to have it done, film them actually having the injection, and then them afterwards.  I will also try and publish relevant news based articles, infographics of statistics about meningitis, an idiot’s guide to the symptoms, helplines if you think you have it and a support tab for people with links to helplines for everyone affected.  I’d also like to complete some vox pops where I will describe the symptoms of the disease and see whether people can actually name the disease, to go alongside a survey.

How will you attract traffic to the site?
Most of the traffic for my site will come from social media pages which have been created to go alongside this project. Links will be posted on Facebook and Twitter, and links to these social media pages will also be visible on my site.

How does it fit in with the target strand?
My actual documentary will be tailored to sound like a Radio 1 story, with features such as regularly changing bed music, atmospheric description of what’s going on, language which will be understood by the audience.  The topic of this documentary itself also tailors itself to that age group because it will be mainly be talking about their peers.


Featured image credit: Dawn Arlotta