Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting started in the print market: Tutorial part 2

Collecting writing samples

A big part of looking for a writing job is presenting writing samples. I can just about guarantee that editors will want to see your work first.

I had chosen several nice pieces that I had written for the paper I worked for and took them with me in newspaper clipping form. Not everyone has these but anything in print is the first preference. But of course many people do not have print samples in the first place. That's what they are out there trying to get.

The next choice for writing samples would be anything published, online or otherwise. Many people have had pieces published online at places like Associated Content, Constant Content, or one of the many tips/how to websites. Print those out on paper if you have them.

If you don't have anything published at all, print out something you have written.

If you need to write something to submit as a sample, here's a story idea: Interview one of your friends who is a community volunteer, a sports parent, a youth group leader, or some other such selfless person in the community. Write the piece in third person with a length of about 300-600 words. Use a program that has spell-check (like Word) and have someone edit/proofread it for you.

Some inside information about print media: Newspaper people think print is the Alpha and the Omega of all mediums. (Now you know where I'm coming from!) Many small newspapers are still run by second and third generation newspaper people who have ink for blood and may be up in years. They tend to view other mediums as inferior and may even be suspicious of the Internet. That's why it's really important to have a sample that has been published in print or at least is physically on a piece of paper.

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