My journey from non-published writer to regularly published journalist in a local paper began by responding to an advertisement posted by Lebanon Daily News looking for a freelance writer. In my email to the editor, I detailed my education and work history with emphasis on the classes that related to writing, grammar, and other English study. I also included all my contact information. He set up a face to face interview and had me fill out the necessary paperwork for payment. He gave me several sample articles to read to help me learn the writing style used in newspapers, commonly known as the AP or Associated Press style and sent me on a trial assignment to see if I had the skills that the paper was looking for.
After I attended the township meeting and wrote about it, the editor showed me the article after editing to help me improve. He assigned me to Jackson Township because it would be a shorter drive for me, saying that it would be my regular assignment from here on out. I have been reporting on the Jackson Township’s board supervisors meetings for most of the past two and a half years that I’ve been writing for this paper.
During this time, the editors have taught me how to write, what details need to be included, and what research needs to be done for a newspaper article. The township meetings are regularly on the first and third Monday of each month. This assignment normally provides me with two articles a month. Occasionally the meeting runs longer or has enough information on more than one topic, leading to two articles from one meeting, and increasing my pay. From being regularly published with a local newspaper, I have also gained the confidence that I can also be published in other publications, and make a part-time or full-time career as a journalist.
Julie Marie Maxwell is married and has cats. She has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, WI. She has been a teacher and a foster parent, and is now entering the world of journalism. She is published in a few periodicals but most her bylines are through Lebanon Daily News where she got her foot in the door of the writing world. A web search of Julie Marie Maxwell + Lebanon Daily News, or Julie Marie Maxwell + Jackson Township will bring up her most recent articles.
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