Newspaper Contracts

Hi Angela,

Just got done reading the letters to the editor. Linda Odum sent in a letter with the information, “Most newspapers do not have contracts and the writer is free to send an article to as many places as she wishes.” I would caution other writers to check with these newspapers before making such an assumption. My local paper is for a small town, would not be considered national or even to have a big region like Chicago or other cities. And this small local paper has an all rights contract for writers – the infamous ‘work for hire’ type of contract. Other writer friends have mentioned other small town papers that do this as well. The reason I was given (not sure if this is the true reason or not) is this allows the wire services like AP, etc. to pick up these articles.

I realize this may not be true for all locations. In my case, my small town is home to the Mayo Clinic as well as an IBM campus. Any locally reported news could be of interest nationally. However, a writer who does receive a contract will receive it at the beginning and not the end of the assignment. You will find out when you pitch to your local newspaper (or small newspapers in other locations) what their policy is.

Linda offered some good advice, but small local papers are not as easy to use for resale as it would appear. At least, not in my area.

Thanks for the great resource!