WBUR’s Last Seen podcast is back. In 2018, Season 1 investigated the largest unsolved art heist in history — the holy grail of art crimes. For Season 2, we’re trying something brand new: curating an anthology of true stories about all kinds of people, places and things that have gone ... missing. This collection is about what losing them means, why we keep searching, and whether or not they could — or even should — be found.
We plan to have a partner in curating the new Last Seen. That partner? You. Last Seen will become a pitchable anthology feed for any journalists, reporters, producers and regular people with a story to tell who are willing to collaborate. We hope that collaboration will go beyond accepting freelance pitches. Any collaborator whose story we include will retain ownership of the story, along with us. If someone wants to make a TV show, book, podcast, movie out of the story you bring to the Last Seen feed, we won’t pursue that opportunity without you at the table.
We’re looking for your true tales of what’s disappeared — with or without a trace. If you have a true story that you think deserves the podcast treatment, we want to hear from you whether or not you want to make this story or just suggest it. We also want to be open to creative interpretations of "people, places and things that have gone missing." Could a feeling go missing? Could a person go missing from your life but not from the world? Could we talk about something philosophical or existential? Yes! We are especially looking to highlight the stories and voices of those who have historically been marginalized or silenced. We accept pitches at any stage, from a new idea to an existing story that can be adapted from radio, print or digital media. If we decide an idea is worth pursuing, WBUR’s iLab will provide production support to turn your story into a non-fiction podcast episode in our anthology.
Depending on the level of our collaboration — from you suggesting a story that you want us to report, to you reporting the story and bringing it to the world via the Last Seen feed — our rates will vary somewhat widely. But as a large public radio organization with national ambitions for our content, we pay competitively. We will negotiate an appropriate fee with you when accepting your pitch, based on the scope of work and time commitment required to produce each audio piece.
Strong pitches will include:
- an outline of the story you’d like to tell and who will be in it
- the big idea or question it will explore
- how it ties into our theme of people, places and things that have gone missing
- what stage of development your story is in
- why you are the right person to tell it
- your access to the story and various sources/characters
- relevant links or reading material/reporting on the topic
- what tone, sound and shape you hear it taking
- a little about yourself and samples/links to past work
A note about story structure and roles:
We are open to a variety of story structures, voices and roles for this anthology — and that’s something we’ll discuss in our first pitch meeting with you. Maybe your story needs a host who will introduce it and then toss it to you, the producer, who will serve as a narrator or trusted guide for the listener. Maybe you, the producer, are telling a host your story and having them respond to it along the way. Maybe there’s another storytelling format you think will best serve your particular story and style — if so, please tell us! Let’s get weird.
Please send your written pitch to LastSeenWBUR@gmail.com. We will do our best to respond to every pitch.
We are no longer taking story pitches for Season 2, which we expect to launch in January 2022. However, we're always open for pitches, and welcome your story submissions for future seasons of Last Seen. Since Season 2 is now in production, it may take us a little longer to respond to your pitch, so we appreciate your patience as the season gets underway.