Scaffolding toward self-efficacy: Preparing underrepresented writers to pitch as freelance authors




Hoermann-Elliott, Jackie
Williams, Margaret V.

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Prompt: A Journal of Academic Writing Assignments


This article describes a Pitch Assignment, designed by two journalists turned faculty, to increase support and self-efficacy for writing majors enrolled at a minority-serving institution (MSI). Pedagogical theory to support pitching processes and development is substantially undertheorized. Much of the extant literature focuses on academic writing and editing for undergraduate research; this article extends that discussion by focusing on the needs of underrepresented students seeking careers in nonacademic fields. Those needs include opportunities for increasing confidence and skill for such nonacademic work as freelance writing for newspapers and magazines. For this assignment, students write a pitch for a preview or review feature they will write later in the course. This assignment scaffolds how to analyze, prepare, and successfully pitch to target publications of students’ choosing while developing a sense of self-efficacy that will transfer into future professional writing contexts. The authors conclude by reflecting on how this assignment might be approached differently by other instructors and how support for diversity might be offered in other ways.



Pitches, Self-efficacy, Scaffolding, Undergraduate students, ,Journalism, Technical and professional writing, Freelance writing


This is the published version of an article that is available at Recommended citation: Hoermann-Elliott, J., & Williams, M. (2023). Scaffolding toward self-efficacy: Preparing underrepresented writers to pitch as freelance authors. Prompt: A Journal of Academic Writing Assignments, 7(1). This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.