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freelancing columns

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by steeltown, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. steeltown

    steeltown New Member

    After six years of working as a sports writer and sports editor (for a small newspaper), I'm considering the possibility of getting out of the journalism biz for a little while. Nonetheless, I'd still love to write a weekly sports column, and I'd probably be willing to do it for very little money (maybe a few bucks for beer).
    If I relocated to another area for a non-journalism gig, what would be the best way to go about offering a weekly column to local newspapers (circulations range from 10,000 to 30,000) without joining a staff as a full-timer? I'm thinking my odds are pretty slim.
  2. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    We have a freelance sports columnist. He was hired over a decade ago, after he quasi-retired. He had 30-something years in TV, so the idea was that he would be the veteran, sage voice that balanced out the newbies hamming it up. Works more the other way around, in reality.
  3. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    I worked at a small weekly, three stops back, where the town had a retired major league catcher. One day he comes by and pitches (pun intended) to our ME the idea of him writing a freelance column about baseball dealing with from time to time, local high school baseball, the state colleges and the major leagues. The ME went for it, we paid him the grand sum of $20 per column. I've went to the paper's web site about two minutes ago and he's got a new column up there this week, he's still at it.
    So it is possible, but, it's not likely. Had he not been a retired major leaguer, there's no way the ME would have listened to him.
  4. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    I see your point, you're right.
  5. steeltown

    steeltown New Member

    That's what I figured. At small to mid-sized papers, the only freelance colunists you typically see specialize in hunting, fishing or distance running. Guess the only way this is going to happen is if I stay in the biz.
  6. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    there's not a day that goes by that i don't get multiple e-mails, snail mai and phone calls trying to pitch a freelance column. i've never read on of them and don't plan to. that being said, we do run an outdoors freelance column once a week and pay the guy a grand total of zero, zilch, nada. we let him plug his web-based radio show at the end of the column and that's it.
  7. steeltown

    steeltown New Member

    I have, however, noticed part-timers getting an opportunity to contribute weekly columns. But I don't know if I'm up for working 20 hours a week in addition to another job just to make this column come to fruition.
    As a sports editor, I used to get e-mails from soccer moms and old men from the local church choir about freelancing columns. Guess some people don't think you need a journalism degree to be the next Mitch Albom.
  8. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    I've been at places that have had freelance bowling, running and tennis columnists. usually, they suck, and after about a month or two, the columnists lose interest after they find out it's not as easy as it looks.
  9. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    If you had come to my small papers and offered to freelance a youth sports column or summer pony baseball/traveling girls softball column, you would have been given a warm welcome and a generous stipend. Even if it had to come out of my own pocket.
  10. steeltown

    steeltown New Member

    That's something along the lines of what I'd be looking for, playthrough. I'd be happy writing about youth sports (little league and prep), interesting sports personalities in the community and an occasional (localized) piece on one of the nearest pro teams. It would be a step down from what I was doing in the past, but it would certainly scratch that journalistic itch that I fear I'll always have.
  11. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    Forget the newspaper column. Get a great blog going and find someone to back you, via advertising.
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