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Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Writing
the Local News
Facilitator: Christina Lorenzen
If you have always wanted to be a writer, there's no better place to start than your local newspaper. News writing for the local papers is a genre in itself and you need to learn the ropes to get in the door. The good news is that most local editors often don't have staff writers and rely heavily on freelancers or "stringers" as they are called in the news business. You will learn how to contact the editors like a pro, how to get and complete an assignment, and build a steady income.
Week 1: Learning about your local newspaper(s).
Before you can discuss writing opportunities with the
editor, you need to know as much as possible about that newspaper. Learn how
to study your "target"
Week 2: Contact.
Contacting the editor fully prepared with resume, samples and professional attitude. Editors are looking for team players and with the right attitude and knowledge you can walk out the door with an assignment in hand. We will put together a writing resume and sample. We will also discuss what to do when you do not have any published clips.
Week 3: You've got an assignment, now what?
A lesson in writing the news feature. We'll discuss the parts of the article and the "pyramid" that news writers work by. We'll also discuss working with experts, interviewing and quoting. We will work on putting a first draft together, developing from first to final drafts, and proper submission of your article to the editor.
Week 4: Developing lasting relationships.
If you've done a good job and handed in your work on time, you are an editor's dream writer. We'll discuss the traits that editors look for in writers and how to keep the work coming. How to go beyond occasional features and secure a regular spot within the paper as a stringer/reporter for your paper. As you are branching out and writing more, we'll discuss knowing your rights. To expand your income, we will learn about rewriting your work with a new slant for reprint sales.
About the Facilitator: Christina Lorenzen has published over 70 articles in newspapers and magazines. She spent over four years as a feature writer and still works as an education reporter for her local weekly paper. In addition to teaching online, she presents workshops throughout libraries and bookstores on Long Island, New York.
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Books recommended on this page are not required reading for participation in the course.
Associated Press (AP) Guide to News
Writing - The Resource for Professional Journalists
This practical handbook is the ideal writing style guide for all reporters, writers, editors, and English and journalism students. It covers all the essentials of good news writing, according to the styles and guidelines set forth by the Associated Press -- with lively examples from today's newspapers.