Getting newspaper articles published depends greatly on the size of the newspaper that you approach. If you are not a journalist and do not have writing experience, there is still a good chance of your getting an article printed if you go about it the right way. You need to know the methods for the particular newspaper you want to submit articles to as well as have a basic understanding of how the newspaper industry works.
- Sign up to be a freelancer. Most newspapers with medium to large circulations rely to some extent on local freelancers. Calling the features editor is the best bet for getting a foot in the door. Features are human interest stories, and they are the most likely type of story to be accepted from freelancers. Medium to large newspapers, with a circulation of 50,000 or more, may have meetings where local freelancers can be assigned features or other news items to write about.
- Come up with an interesting idea. If your article is about something that has not been written about locally, it will be more interesting to an editor than something that has already been covered. This will increase your chances of getting published.
- Write spec work. If a medium to large newspaper does not have a formal freelancing network, it may be worth it to write a speculative article and send it in. If this is sent with a follow up phone call, it can get you noticed by the section editor, who decides what will go to print. Be sure to send it directly to the editor of the appropriate section.
For small newspapers, the story is very different. They usually have very small, overworked editorial departments, and welcome a story that can go in as written. This means making the item a complete story that will not need editing. Make sure the grammar is correct and that all of the facts have been checked. More than one source should be used.
- Study AP style. Associated Press style is the standard style used by American newspapers. If the article is already written in AP style, it is much more appealing to an editor, who will not have to rewrite it for publication. Keep in mind that many locals in small markets send in articles, and there are always some that are poorly written and cannot be saved. Make sure yours stands out as worthy of going to print.
- Write in an inverted pyramid style. This means that the broadest parts of the story at the beginning, tapering down to the smaller details.
Now you know how to get work published. Find something unique to write about and get started on that next newspaper article. Good luck!