1. You learn a variety of jobs, instead of
just one, like the employees of larger papers.
2. Last minute changes or breaking stories
keep you on your toes.
3. Close rapport with your editor can be
compared to a one-on-one with a writing instructor. Learning the pluses and
minuses of the business can save you time and money.
4. Editing and proofreading other staffs work
improves your own writing.
5. Being a reporter tunes you into several key
elements of good writing -- accurate note taking, being flexible and picking
up on the expressions or unspoken words of people.
6. Your typing speed can increase. Before each
paper goes to press, enormous mounds of copy must be typeset, everything from
fill material, court news, and obituaries to legal notices, headlines, and of
course your articles.
7. You may learn a new computer program at no
cost to you. I learned the PageMaker program, which is used by many newspapers
and publications. The correct use of different fonts for text and headlines
was an important resource, too.
8. Learning layout skills is always a plus for
your bag of tricks. This know-how is learned only through practice. Learning
how to make the copy fit the available space is essential, but making a news
page attractive must also be mastered. This delicate balance takes planning
and a keen eye, but most of all it takes practice, practice, practice. If you
ever plan to write a newsletter, this is invaluable.
9. You learn valuable advertising, marketing
and photography skills. My interviewing skills took a giant leap forward, as
10. Perks beyond a paycheck are part of the
territory, too. A weekly byline and a multitude of clips and photo credits
become a nice addition to your portfolio.
11. Dont over look the contacts that are made
in the newspaper business. A variety of businesses, government bodies, school
administrators and celebrities will remember who you are. Each one makes a
nice network for future freelance possibilities.