Freelance Writing for Community Newspapers


Being a full-time staff writer may or may not be your goal. Another option is to be a freelance writer for local papers. They may be called “Messenger” or “Community News” or some other variation of this. They only keep two or three full-time staffers and use freelance writers for the rest. Some pay by the word while some may pay by the article and they don’t usually pay extra for photos. One great thing about writing for small community newspapers is the variety of writing experience you will gain. You may write articles about community festivals or town meetings. You may pitch an article idea for something that interests you or you may be assigned articles. You will learn to write on deadline; you will learn how to find and interview sources and how to come up with catchy headlines. You will also learn how to let your work be edited and changed. If you’re smart you will learn from those edits how to craft a good article so that fewer edits will be needed in the future. But, you will also learn how to work with an editor because no two will be alike. One may love your writer’s style and voice while the next one may not like your writing at all. This happens with magazines sometimes also. But, as a writer, you learn from each experience and constantly strive to improve your craft and talent. Who knows? One day you may become the editor and have the opportunity to plan, organize and put out a community newspaper.

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