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Article Ideas from Newspapers
by Judith K. Bierman
Whether you live in a bustling metropolis or the
smallest of towns, there is a wealth of article ideas readily available at your
fingertips that can be used to write and sell your freelance writing.
Where can these ideas be found? In virtually
With a good idea and a well-crafted query
letter, you are sure to find just the right magazine to publish your article. My
first publishing credit was a feature article in Dog Fancy. I had no
expert credentials to boast of and didnt work with dogs. But I did own a dog
and when I opened the Milwaukee Journal early one morning, a photo of a
lovely Golden Retriever caught my eye.
Sadly, I learned the animal had died shortly
after eating a partial bag of chocolate morsels that its owner had planned to
use in baking brownies. A red alert went off in my head. "Why did this animal
die from a seemingly innocent prank?" Reading the story, I learned that
chocolate, especially the semi-sweet variety, can cause adverse reactions in
canines that may result in death.
Like me, the dogs owners knew nothing about
this problem, known as Chocolate Toxicosis, and did not seek help for the animal
until it was too late. I was determined to spread the word in the hopes of
saving other dogs from this fate. A well-read magazine like Dog Fancy
seemed the perfect place and I sent a query letter to the contact person listed
in their entry of the current Writers Market.
What I received shortly thereafter was a green
light to proceed with the article not with any guarantees of it being
published, but on speculation (spec). The approval to submit the article came in
March and they requested receipt of the manuscript by June for consideration in
their December issue.
My favorite weekend activity is to sit at my
desk with the Sunday edition of all the local and major newspapers in Wisconsin,
where I live, scissors in hand, to clip any news reports which I believe can be
turned into salable articles. While the headline news can be quite interesting,
avoid anything that identifies Associated Press just above the article. These
same articles are available to virtually everyone in the country including the
magazines you want to write for. Stick with the section for local news, where
human-interest stories abound. Then start sending out those queries!
Dont know what to write about? Make a date with
a pile of your local and regional newspapers and let the ideas abound.
© Copyright 2005, Judith K. Bierman
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