It's resume day!
The next step in getting started in the freelance writing world is to spread your resume around in the hopes of snagging a job or two. My experience has found that this works much better in person. In fact, I have not obtained one single job by emailing my resume. (I hope that changes in the near future.)
With your list of newspaper information, plan a driving trip to the newspapers. Start with the ones closest to your home and go from there.
When it's resume day, just relax, dress nicely, and get your stack of resumes, which by now should be inside the folders with cover letters in front and writing samples in back.
If you are a fumbler like me, carry only the folder with the resume in it and a card inside the office with you. Take a nice big deep breath (or two) right before you walk in the door.
Introduce yourself to the first person who acknowledges you and ask for the editor by name. If it's a small newspaper the editor is most likely there. While the editor is fished out of the bowels of the building (they could be doing anything from typing furiously to trying to get the press running) take another nice deep breath. You need to give off the impression that you are competent, professional, and timely.
Hand the editor your card and your resume and say you'd like to do some freelance work for them. Just like that. Very short and to the point. As in, "I'm Michelle Wallace and I'd like to do some freelance work for you." I didn't say it exactly like that the first time but very quickly learned to do so.
They'll either say they have something or they don't have anything at the time. If they have something for you, express willingness to do whatever is needed without appearing over-eager. The goal is a standing position but a few pieces on a trial basis wouldn't be bad either.