>Our Thanksgiving trip to California provided the opportunity to check out some new newspapers. Any one of them might turn out to be a great market–or not. When you walk past a rack of free papers, always grab one. If they’re not free, consider spending the 50 cents or dollar to buy a copy. This is your chance to see the actual paper, not the condensed version on the Internet. As always while market-hunting,
check the bylines and look for taglines at the ends of the stories. Also glance at the staff box somewhere in the first few pages. And don’t overlook the offbeat papers.
For example, while waiting for our daughter to come down from her office at a Hayward, CA auto auction place, I found a rack full of the Automotive News–or something like that. I have minimal interest in cars, but somebody else I know might be interested, so I looked. Every article is staff written or done by an advertiser grabbing some free publicity. Forget that.
However, we stopped for lunch on the way home at a restaurant called Heaven on Earth. It’s at Quines Creek, south of Roseburg on I-5. If you’re ever in the mood for a huge and tasty meal accompanied by Christian background music, stop in. Their baked goods are amazing, and they gave us free apple crisp just for being there. Anyway, they had a rack of free papers called The Christian Journal. And you know what? It’s almost all freelance. Unlike most papers, which make you grovel for guidelines, this one had the information right under the staff box. They are looking for “uplifting” pieces 300 to 600 words, and they pay actual money. The stories aren’t bad. Christian pubs might not be your thing, but it’s an example of what you can find if you check out every newspaper that comes your way.
Even if they don’t use freelance, you can learn about the area and maybe get some ideas for articles for other papers. If, for example, they published a post-Thanksgiving feature on how to make Christmas shopping easier, you could do the same thing for your local paper.
So grab those free papers and start reading.