Thursday, April 8, 2021

7 Newspaper Articles You Could Be Writing for Your Paper

by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

Conference season is just around the corner. If you’d like to pad your one-sheet with a few more writing credits before an upcoming conference, I have a suggestion for you. Consider writing for your hometown newspaper. 

Newspapers are in constant need of fresh content, whether your paper is a weekly paper, daily paper, or three-days-a-week paper. Because of financial constraints, newspaper editors often use freelance stringers to help supply that content. 

The pay might not be great, but the opportunity to add additional credits to a resume or one sheet may far outweigh the slim paycheck. And, many newspapers are amenable to faith-based material, so the rewards from sharing those stories are way better than monetary ones! 

Before querying your local newspaper editor about a possible story, familiarize yourself with the types of newspaper articles included in the paper. 

Types of Newspaper Articles

1. News Reports: this one is self-explanatory, and this type of article is often covered by a staff writer. However, sometimes only “big” news events get covered by the very slim staff of most newspapers. If you know of a news-worthy event that is seemingly “small,” in comparison to other community happenings, yet would appeal to a large number of readers, consider covering the event and presenting the article to the editor. News articles don’t convey opinions, but are straightforward and contain “just the facts.” News articles lead with a summary of the complete article and are written in an inverted pyramid format. 

2. Feature Article: these articles usually garner higher word-count opportunities. Lifestyle subjects fall into this category. I often consider these the “good news” kinds of stories. Feature stories are written to convey information, but also to entertain the reader. Profile pieces of community members fall into the feature article category.

3. Letters to the Editor: these short opinion pieces typically address a current community interest. Generally, anyone in the community can send a letter to the editor with the possibility of seeing their words in print. Though not a freelance journalism opportunity per se, an acceptance may get the attention of the editor for a future opportunity.

4. Column: many of the recurring columns in a newspaper come from syndicated sources, but freelancers have an opportunity to write columns, also. Most of the time, columns follow a theme, though some columns’ themes are broader in scope than others. 

5. Review: some newspapers, usually ones with a large circulation, include review articles of restaurants, books, movies, art exhibits, and more. These pieces are often open to freelancers, but query first to make sure you don’t waste your time covering a story that has been assigned to a staff writer.

6. Sports Story: another self-explanatory type of article and is more likely to be covered by a staff writer than some of the other pieces. But, again, a slim staff means not every game in the community will be covered, so you might could ask for an assignment, especially if you have a child or grandchild playing on that particular team. These news stories will often have elements of feature writing, too, to personalize the stories just a bit more than a “facts-only” article.

7. Entertainment Article: again, some of the smaller newspapers might not have a section devoted to entertainment. Stories for freelancers here might include upcoming cultural event announcements or coverage pieces following the event. Articles about “famous” people—actors, musicians, and other artists find their way here, but these stories are often secured in other manners than local reporting. However, if you happen to know one of these “famous” folks, you could always query the editor about a story with a personal interview. 

If you wow a newspaper editor with a story that’s well-written and appeals to the readership of the paper, you’ll most likely get lots of chances to contribute other stories. Newspaper credits build up quickly, and you’ll learn a lot about writing in the process. If you start now, you just might have a huge handful of newspaper credits by the time you pack up and drive to a conference! And then, you might even wow an editor or agent with your writing portfolio! 


Julie Lavender, author of 365 Ways to Love Your Children: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories, published by Revell, loves the portfolio of newspaper articles she’s collected over the years. “I’ve met the most interesting people in my community and had a blast writing about their adventures,” Julie says. “And the best part is, most of my articles are faith-based, so it’s a great way to talk about God in my newspaper. Connect with Julie on social media or at 


  1. Thanks for summarizing this for us, Julie. Good information, as always.
    Jay Wright; Upstate, SC

    1. Thank you so much, Jay! You are always so faithful to read and comment, and I truly appreciate that! Many blessings!!!

    2. Thank you so much, Jay! You're always so faithful to read and comment, and I truly appreciate that!

  2. Julie, I was fortunate to have a regular column in our hometown newspaper before we moved to another state. Now I have a thick folder of articles to show editors. Your suggestions really work.

    1. Thank you for sharing this! I've saved copies of all my newspaper articles in a portfolio, and it's so much fun to look back at all of them! I LOVE telling others' stories, and you are so right - it's great writing credits to show an editor!!

  3. As always, good information, Julie!

  4. Great thoughts, Julie, and some missed opportunities we don't always focus on. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, my friend! I do love touting newspaper writing, because it is definitely an untapped market for lots of writers! And its so much fun!!