Category Archives: articles on writing

Write for your local newspaper

START LOCALLY

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Are you ignoring  a great potential market that is right on your doorstep? I’m talking about your local newspaper.
It may not be glamorous or glossy and it may not pay big bucks, but it needs to fill its pages day after day, or at least week after week, with material that you are in a wonderful position to provide.
It’s also an ideal place to start,if you haven’t yet been published and are nervous about querying the big glossy magazines.
Although it will probably provide a small amount of national or even international news, its importance lies in its local angle. The editor wants to know about people,places and events in the area the newspaper covers.
But it still needs some research before you rush off a query about your nephew’s kindergarten teacher who moonlights as an opera singer.

  • Read the publication thoroughly from front to back making notes about the types of topics that are covered.
  • Note how how much space is given to community events/ education issues / profiles of local people  etc.
  • Read several editions to check if some topics/columns are regulars and are always written by the same person. If so your chances of writing on this topic are less than on a topic which is always written by different people.
  • Look through the list and see which section you could contribute to.
  • Brainstorm some ideas making sure they have a local angle  Perhaps an interesting off-the-beaten-track  local site/ someone with an unusual hobby/ a special activity at  your children’s school
  • .Develop one or two into full-blown queries indicating why you think it would be a good story for your newspaper.
  • Check the paper’s masthead to see which editor covers your topic and send off your query.
  • If you haven’t heard anything within a week, drop another email checking on your idea.
  • If they aren’t interested in these ideas, don’t give up. Think of some others and query those.

GOOD LUCK
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Photos help you write your articles.

provide photos for your articles

 

Apart from pens, paper and a small recording device, there’s one  other tool that you would be wise to carry with you wherever you go.  I’m talking about a camera- a simple, digital point-and-shoot (aka PhD press-here-dummy) model that you can get today for around $100.

Even if you don’t intend to include photos with your article, they can serve as an illustrated notebook for preparing your article.

Yvel
Yvel jewelry factory

 

This photo for example helped me to remember and describe the Yvel jewelry workshop I visited. I only  got an article assignment several  months after my visit. But looking at the photo reminded me of  the varied  backgrounds the students came from and  the different mother tongues. Now they all  talk in faltering Hebrew together as their one common language. I remembered the warmth, both physical on the cold day and socially as indicated by  their smiles. You can see theirhappiness at being taught a useful trade and a way of making a living and supporting their families.

But that isn’t the only way you’ll find that photographs come in useful.If you chance upon an  interesting spot whilst on holiday and decide to write about it , you will amost certainly need photographs to accompany the article. You may or may not be paid extra for the photos, but without them there is no article.
If you write a profile of someone always take a few photos of them and their surroundings. Many publications don’t have the budget to send a photographer with you and will need a photo to illustrate the article. The photos will also remind you of the room/office  in which you carried out the interview. You may not have noticed the paintings on the wall / the photo montage of his children / the types of book on the bookshelf ( you can zoom in and read the titles) all of which will help you ‘paint’  a broader picture of your subject.

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