Query Letter for Jazz Jam Feature Story

** This post was written as an assignment for my Digital Journalism class through UCSD Extension.

Ms. Jane Doe

Editor, Southwest: The Magazine 


Dear Ms. Doe:

The sounds of a jazz jam blare out from Blind Lady Ale House, a craft beer and pizza place in San Diego, California, every Thursday night. Different musicians show up every time, but host Robert Dove goes one step further and changes the lineup of the house band every week as well. One week the pianist is a professional visiting from Tokyo, the next week it’s a high school student. There’s no time for rehearsals, so the opening note is the band’s first together as a quartet. Sometimes everything clicks and even audience members who were just there to eat pizza with their family can tell that the musicians are really gelling.

Dove runs the jam like a classroom, creating an environment that’s open to anyone who wants to step up. But he also holds musicians accountable to a high level. He is a teacher by trade and never stops chatting or signaling to the other musicians, both onstage and off. There has been an upward trend of live jazz in San Diego and many other cities in the United States, thanks in part to non-traditional venues like breweries and restaurants hosting live music. 

I propose an article of 2,500 words that explores this trend and the people that drive it, beginning with host Robert Dove. There are musicians who jam with him weekly, fresh faces that are there for the first time, as well as audience members who go to a different jam nearly every day of the week and some who happen upon the music accidentally. 

Placement in the April 2020 issue would be timely as International Jazz Day is April 30 and the New Orleans Jazz Festival happens the same week. A sidebar would be included listing jazz festivals in all Southwest Airlines cities that host one.

I am a writer who has lived in San Diego for 20 years. I have written online articles for various outlets which can be read via my website 


I travel a lot for my job as a scientist. I always strive to get to know new places as if I were a local and not a tourist. This has also helped me see San Diego in a new light, to look beyond what it’s known for and find unexpected treasures like this thriving jazz scene. I have already interviewed Robert Dove and multiple musicians that attend his weekly jam session. 

Thank you for considering this story. I hope you agree that highlighting jazz music in San Diego would surprise and engage your audience. Most people don’t associate one with the other. This story is designed to encourage your readers to see all destinations for more than just what they’re popularly famous for. 

I look forward to hearing from you. 


Melissa Miller