This project has to be about more than what I can produce on my own.
That means we are always on the lookout for good writers who are curious enough to ask that next question.
Marty Peercy has the distinction of being our first freelance writer and he is doing a great job covering what he is interested in the most: local government.
We are meeting the public’s needs by having him do a column as he sits in on more government meetings than most people would imagine possible.
Shoe leatherNotes from Editor Brett Dickerson on the process of getting the news to you
So, we need more freelance writers interested in writing about all aspects of the news in it’s many forms. It doesn’t matter if you have prior experience. We will help orient you to the demands of news writing and gathering.
Here is some information to get you started as you consider writing the news for us.
Freelancing the news is HARD.
- It takes more time than most freelance writing.
- It requires more intellectual discipline than most writing.
- The public holds the writer far more accountable than with other types.
- The public expects the truth.
- The public feels ownership of the news.
- The structure of a news story is not the usual narrative story-telling.
- Is it in the public interest?
- Is it something that other publications have not addressed or not addressed well enough?
- Can you develop the story in 500 to 1,000 words?
- Do you have sources who are willing to go on the record?
- The whole story needs to be in the lede, which is 30 words or less.
- Short paragraphs are the rule. Don’t be afraid of one-sentence paragraphs.
- Quotes give the story life.
- Meet the deadline. Working on a news story longer seldom means it’s better.
Promote on Social Media
- The editor and others often promote stories on social media.
- But, it’s your job, too.
- Engage commenters on Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit.
- Don’t fight with commenters if they are negative and unfair, but if your work deserves defending, ask a friend to come to your defense.
- Don’t run down other publications.
If you want to know more, just find me on Twitter @BrettDOkc. My DMs are open. Or, go to the Oklahoma City Free Press page on Facebook and click the “Send Message” button. Or, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!
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