>My challenge resultsPosted: September 23, 2007
>I wouldn’t ask you to do it if I didn’t try it, so I analyzed two daily newspapers for freelance opportunities. Why two? The first one didn’t offer much hope. Here’s what I got:
The Register-Guard, Eugene, OR–medium-sized town and paper:
Sunday paper uses a little staff writing and a lot of wire service copy. Some of those wire stories are freelance but written for the Washington Post, AP or the New York Times. The only real freelance piece was a guest editorial about Iraqi refugees written by someone with experience in the subject. There was also an op-ed by Garrison Keillor, but he’s famous, so does that count? I’m sure the same piece must have been syndicated nationwide. So the Register-Guard is not a very good market for freelancers.
The Oregonian, Portland, OR–This is our big-city daily, which always annoys me because it ignores the coast, where I live. Its world revolves around Portland. However, it does have one freelance correspondent who covers something like three counties. She didn’t have anything in this issue, so no coasties. Here’s where I found freelance:
Opinion: The cover story on study-abroad courses was written by an Oregon State professor. I don’t know whether she got paid or not.
This section also has something called “Short Takes,” opinions written in 35 or fewer clever words, definitely unpaid.
I also found an op-ed piece by a University of Oregon law professor on recent Supreme Court rulings. Probably unpaid.
There was an interesting invitation on the front page of the Opinion section inviting writers to submit resumes and samples and become part of a select group to do a series of pieces. They would not be paid, but I’m going to apply. The exposure and clips would be fabulous.
Parade: This magazine is inserted in lots of Sunday papers. The articles are freelance or syndicated, but this is a tough market to crack. Try it if you dare and remember the stories need to have national interest.
Homes and Rentals: Yeah, I know zzzz, but lead story about condo developments with great views was freelance. The rest was syndicated.
Travel: This section sometimes has a lot of freelance, but this week, it was limited to the second story on page one, an essay about the memories souvenirs hold for the writer. Wish I’d thought of that.
“O”–Life, Arts, Books: One weekly freelance column by the delightful Chelsea Cain
The real opportunities are in book reviews. Four freelancers, two of them regulars, did six reviews in this section. The section also publishes one short freelance poem every Sunday.
Advertorial: These are special sections, sponsored by the advertising department. I can tell you from experience that they might be slightly sleazy but you can make big bucks and do a lot of fun stories, so don’t dismiss them. Once you get on their list, these can bring steady work. This Sunday has two such sections, one a guide to an upcoming home and remodeling show with five features by “special writer” Jan Behrs and two staff-written articles. The other section, “Learn On! A Guide to Higher Ed 2007,” includes five freelance pieces by Stephen Teater.
The Oregonian also publishes a big arts and entertainent section full of freelance reviews and features on Fridays and it has weekly neighborhood sections with lots of freelance for areas around Portland, but that’s not part of this study.
So that’s my report. What did you find?