Tucked away in the long article in NEW YORK Magazine about Jonah Lehrer by Boris Kachka is the tidbit: What editors want pitched is the good idea.
The need for that good idea can be forgotten as we go through the mechanics of presenting the nuts and bolts of how we are going to do the story, the clever headline we will have, and all the wonderful sources we have access to.
It's more important that our editors see us as being an idea factory than anything else. If we consistently pitch them the ideas, they will forgive us for our other editorial transgressions.
The secret to keep the machinery in that idea factory humming is to take our time doing our work. That includes laying back on the couch and reading the print VANITY FAIR, slowly. Not leaping to respond to every email. And sorting through ideas instead of compulsively pitching them. Not every idea is a homerun.
The less I do the more editors like what I do.